Never Stop Playing: How to Stay Motivated to Move
Find Your Passion
When speaking of how to adopt healthy, active lifestyles, I always say, “If you don’t enjoy something, you’re not going to do it very long.” If you hate going to the gym and slaving away on the treadmill, choose something else.
Stop Slaving Away
Physical activity is meant to be playful and exciting. When we remove the playfulness and excitement from physical activity, it’s not too enticing. After all, the opposite of playful is serious and the opposite of exciting is boring. It’s not hard to imagine why some people have a hard time sticking to a regimen that can be characterized as seriously boring.
The Endless Hamster Wheel
Exercise for so many has been reduced and sterilized into this joyless endeavor. Even the word exercise sounds cold and clinical. Just look around any of your local gyms or fitness centers. There aren’t that many people that look like they are having a genuinely good time. In fact, I’d wager that a significant number of gym-goers drag themselves out of bed in the morning and likely see exercise in the same way they see recycling – it is annoying as hell, but it seems like the right thing to do.
Getting Back to Basics
Have you ever watched the way children ‘exercise’? There is an innate joy and freedom that accompanies their movement. There is no regimen, sets and repetitions, or calorie counters. A certain restriction of movement takes place as we get older and are appropriately socialized. We are told in school to sit still and stop being so rambunctious. This type of playful and creative movement seems to slowly fade in adolescence. What a shame. We are meant to move! Perhaps it’s no coincidence that you don’t see an awful lot of depressed, stressed, or anxious 6-year-olds.
Flipping the Switch on Fitness
Of course, with adulthood comes certain responsibilities and expectations that can make life a little more complicated and serious, but perhaps that’s even more reason to carve out time to play.
So, if you find yourself having a tough time getting motivated to maintain your ‘exercise’ routine, maybe it’s time to get back to the basics and find something active to do that brings a smile to your face. Get outside, discover, explore, play, and you’ll find a renewed vitality and child-like enthusiasm that make your fitness goals feel less like work and more like play.