Movement for the Mind (Part III)

Movement. Movement and mood. They go hand-in-hand. After a walk, or playing outside our lungs are full of fresh air and our blood is pumping freely to all extremities reminding us that we are alive. 

When the last thing you want to do is get out of bed altogether (not all together as in there was a group of people in the bed... If there was a group of people in the bed, good for you ... and for them. Ok, let's get back to the point) it can be less than motivating to hit the pavement, gym, or yoga studio - or whatever your choice of exercise might be. If you can visualize the the feeling you have after doing something athletic or somewhat active, you will be more likely to drag your but out of bed and just do it.

Visualization is a powerful tool. When I ski raced (for fun), visualization was key. I remember picturing what race day would be like from waking up, eating breakfast, driving to the race-hill, receiving my bib number, inspecting the race course with my team, standing at the top of the race anticipating my turn whilst visualizing the race-course time-and-time again. Visualization didn't necessarily make me faster, but it made me better. It made me better at managing expectations for the day and the race.

As the years have gone by, my visualization practice has been less focused,and I've been going with the flow rather than acting with mindful intention. Ok so what am I getting at with the visualization?

Here is my challenge to you:

  1. I challenge you to visualize tomorrow and the activity you will choose that involves moving your body. It can be walking your dog, walking your neighbour's dog, going for a hike, swimming, practicing yoga, dancing in your kitchen for ten minutes, or doing jumping jacks on commercial breaks (if you have a TV in your house, and if that TV plays commercials between programs). I don't care what form of exercise or movement it is, but whatever will get you active every single day for a minimum of five minutes is just grand.
  2. I challenge you to visualize the feeling you will have after being active. Picture the feeling and the smile that may light up your face after the accomplishment - as teeny as it may be, it's still an accomplishment. 

Why? Because:

  • by visualizing the activity ahead of time, it makes it attainable because you can see yourself doing it and you have set aside time to make it a part of your day, rather than a last minute anxiety-inducing stressor. Hint: set out your exercise clothes the night before. 
  • the feel good feelings associated as a reward for performing a task will make you more inclined to attempt and complete the task
  • and most importantly:

 

"exercise is as effective as certain medications for treating anxiety and depression." - John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain* 

 

Check out John. J. Ratey's book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain - an interesting read on the positive relationship between exercise and brain!

Be good to you.

W xo

*PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT advocating to cease any medication.