Bikram fitness mental health

On exercise and motivation

Thursday, 1 May 2014
bikram1

Bikram yoga – bloody fantastic on cold & rainy days

I have  job where we don’t have UK public holidays but European ones, so today I have a day off work.   It’s May Day and it should be all about flowers and spring and new beginnings but it’s been bucketing since before I woke up.

At the start of the week I had planned to do my last run before Milton Keynes marathon today but yesterday I had a sports massage and my therapist said ideally I should have not done ANY running in the 4 weeks between my marathons. Yikes. Some people run marathons all the time though and I’m thinking this info might not be a 100% correct.

Still, I decided not to run today and I’m glad I made that decision because of the above mentioned bucketing.

Instead I went to Bikram.  I haven’t been for about 4 weeks and I kept umming and ahhing this morning whether I should/could/would/wanted to go (because of the above mentioned bucketing situation that just made me want to go back to bed after a wet school run*).

So many people ask me about how I motivate myself to exercise and the thing is that usually I don’t have to. Usually I just schedule it in and since I roughly do the same things on certain days all the time, I don’t think about my “feelings” beforehand. If it’s in the calendar, I just do it.

Today, however, nothing was in my calendar as such and it was raining and I had to actually give myself a little pep talk. And of course I’m glad I did because no one EVER regrets the choice to exercise.

Now I still feel a bit sleepy (go away rain!) but the Bikram was good for my muscles and for my mind (I’m counting it as meditation as well since I don’t actually have patience for regular meditation, I tried :|).

So if you’re struggling with motivating yourself to exercise, my first tip would be to establish a schedule that you stick to every week. Make sure though that the schedule is doable for you – if you like to (and can) exercise in the mornings, don’t try to make yourself exercise in the evenings, and vice versa. Flip open your Filofax and write down the days and times that are the most suitable for you and your life, and pretty soon you won’t have to give yourself a lengthy pep talk before every gym session. You’ll be in the routine and you’ll ‘just do it!’

Also, if you’re like me and you need exercise to keep your mental health in check, do schedule your other commitments around your exercise and not vice versa. Yesterday for example I went to a coffee morning with the moms of my youngest son’s classmates after the school drop-off – I went in my running gear although the venue was quite posh and I had slight fear that they wouldn’t let me in. Thankfully they did and I had a good hour chatting to people before I continued on my regular Wednesday morning run.

My last tip would be to never analyse your pre-exercise feelings, only analyse your post-exercise feelings as those are always more amazing.

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*”School run” is UK speak for taking your kids to school or picking them up from school. It does not actually involve running. Unless you’re late.

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  • Laura Thursday, 1 May 2014 at 13:24

    I’m the same with scheduling my workouts – I go because it’s in my calendar (and with the way BGWLC works, I’m scheduled into those sessions!). I only ever miss workouts because I’m deliberately resting (pre- or post-comp) or if I can an unavoidable clash (e.g. tickets to an event or a work meeting). I love routine.

    • MrsB Thursday, 1 May 2014 at 19:14

      I have a feeling a lot of people wake up in the morning and think “I’ll exercise today if I have time / once I’ve done a, b and c / etc.” It would never work for me.