One of the most important things you can do right now

Beyond hand washing and limiting community events, the most powerful thing you can do right now is keep yourself well, physically and mentally. Stress reduces your body’s defenses. Because the stress response prepares your body for movement, the antidote to stress is movement, but only if that movement is not stress-producing.

The need for movement that is calming is especially important for people with medical issues that make typical types of exercise difficult or impossible. 

That is why during this pandemic I am offering a 30% reduced rate on the Exercising WELL membership.  

With this easy-to-use online program, you can exercise at home, in a way that helps you feel better, reduces stress, and returns your body to a state where your immune system can help protect you from illness.

Go to ExercisingWELL.com and use the coupon code STAYWELL.   Feel free to share this with someone you know who could use the protective power of exercise right now.  

Whether you are a member or not, please keep in mind, I am just an email away to support you and answer questions about how to use movement to stay well.  

Keep Moving and Stay Well,

Janet

The three types of exercise; simplified and motivating

This week’s exercise smart tip gives you a way to rethink doing cardio, lifting weights and stretching so exercise is something your brain is more motivated to do and keep doing.

 

Do you know someone who could use tips for making exercise more motivating?  Share it with them now and let’s spread the word about how to move smart feel better and stay motivated.  

What exercises are right for you?

With all the exercises out there, how do you choose? What will give you the results you really want? Learn the science-based way to choose, based on the way your body was designed. The bonus is, your motivation is more likely to last too! Find out how in this Exercising WELL tip of the week.

Check out the FREE Resources page on ExercisingWELL.com to start clarifying your core Why and Real Life Results so choosing what to do is more time efficient and naturally motivating.

Self-care series: Exercising for mental well-being

Self-care series: As we enter the season of giving and a time of year when many people struggle not only with getting enough exercise, but also with keeping up with self-care, let’s take a deeper dive into how to make exercise a form of self-care.  To do that, we need to look at self-care from all aspects of your ‘self’—mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual and how to design exercise as a way to recharge your whole person, so you can be well now.  

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In the most recent article of this series, we made the connection between exercise and self-care for spiritual well-being. When your reasons for exercise are brought to their most elemental level of what is important to you (your Why), exercise is more energizing and motivation is more natural. Exercising for self-care starts with your Why as a guide to choose what to do for exercise so it supports your mental well-being. 

Your brain is hardwired to keep you well and it is constantly learning about what restores well-being for you. Each time you do something, your brain decides if it is worth doing again because it made you feel better, or if it is better to avoid because it made you feel worse.  

If you are going to choose exercise as a form of self-care, you need to choose exercise  in a way that restores your mental well-being. Rick Hanson, PhD gives a simplified way of understanding what your brain is looking for to keep you well. Your mind continuously seeks ways for you to be safe, contented, and connected. Use this checklist to apply that wisdom to exercise, to determine if what you are doing, or are planning on doing, for exercise will lead to whole-person well-being.   

Safe

Physically: what I do for exercise reduces my chances of injury and illness, and makes me feel more confident I can protect myself and others in an emergency.

Spiritually: what I do for exercise makes me feel free to be myself. 

Content

Physically: what I do for exercise leaves me feeling better and more comfortable in my body now.

Spiritually: what I do for exercise allows me to do the things that make my life meaningful and to enjoy my passions. 

Connected

Physically: what I do for exercise allows me to connect with people I care about.  

Spiritually: what I do for exercise keeps me connected or grounded in my sense of who I am and what is most important to me in life. 

If there is something you are doing, or think you should be doing, for exercise that takes you away from this, it is lowering the health benefits of exercise because it is taking you away from self-care and your brain is more likely to make excuses like ‘you don’t have time’ or ‘you can’t do that exercise right now’. When what you do for exercise satisfies each one of these criteria, every time you exercise, your brain senses you are well. This puts your body in healing and repair mode and your brain wants you to keep doing it again and again.  

If you go down this checklist and say ‘sure, exercise would do all of that for me, but why am I still not motivated to do it?’, it means your brain isn’t making the connection between what you are doing and feeling feeling safe, contented, and connected. That’s why an essential part to making this work is staying aware of what you are getting from exercise. Rick Hanson calls it “taking in the good”. Your brain is hardwired to notice what is missing and skip over what is going well. This tendency toward the negative is there to keep us safe, so it takes a bit of extra effort to help your brain see when exercise is putting you in a state of whole-person well-being. 

What to do for exercise so it leads to mental well-being varies from person to person and situation to situation. Because life is full of changes, you need a way to stay up-to-date about how to exercise in the way that leads to mental well-being. How you feel and what you sense in your body is what we call feelings or emotions. They are your built-in feedback loop to the brain about your state of mental well-being. The next part of this series on exercise as self-care will explore how to use this by exercising for emotional well-being. 

Bottom line: Exercise becomes self-care when we let our Why guide what we do to be well now. Understanding mental well-being allows us to make this connection between our Why (spiritual well-being) and what we choose what to do for exercise. When it satisfies your brain’s need to keep you safe, contented, and connected, exercise becomes a form of whole-person self-care.  

Bonus! Click here for a Recharge Pause™ called Moving Gratitude. It takes Rick Hanson’s practice of ‘taking in the good’ and brings it from your mind into your body.   Experience how exercise (AKA Movement for self-care), in under two minutes, can restore your sense of being safe, contented and connected in your mind and your body. Enjoy!

Be Well Now,

Janet

Exercising WELL gives you a whole toolbox of user-friendly ways to exercise to restore well-being in your own personalized way.  Start by clarifying your Why for exercise in a FREE coaching call with me. No strings. No commitment. Just a conversation that lets you unleash your natural motivation to be well now.  Click here to schedule your call. 

Self-care series: Your natural energy source

Self-care series: As we enter the season of giving and a time of year when many people struggle not only with getting enough exercise, but also with keeping up with self-care, let’s take a deeper dive into how to make exercise a form of self-care.  To do that, we need to look at self-care from all aspects of your ‘self’—mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual and how to design exercise as a way to recharge your whole person, so you can be well now.  

 

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Tina was ready to give up on any efforts to lose weight. She had been doing everything she should, but her weight didn’t budge. When she came to me, I asked her why she wanted to lose weight and she told me she was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and it scared her. She wanted to lose weight to be healthy and well, but she was ready to throw in the towel. She desperately needed energy and motivation to exercise.  

What ultimately motivates us to do something or avoid it comes from the interplay of the four parts of our internal ‘self’. How something makes you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally are all clues about what is important to you. When you are highly motivated, all these parts of you are energized. When you are not motivated, all these parts of you feel a bit sluggish. What creates that energy?  

At the heart of your motives, or the energy that moves you to take action, is your spiritual self. Whether you have a spiritual practice or not, you have a spirit that informs you about what is most important, at your core (literally and figuratively). The simplified word for this is your Why.  Simon Sinek highlights how important it is for people and companies to know their Why.  Let’s consider what happens when we apply it to exercise for health and well-being.  

When the energy from your Why is missing, exercise feels like a should’: weighted, sluggish, with that ‘drag your feet and roll your eyes’ kind of motivation. When exercise is clearly  connected to what is most important to you—your Why—you feel energized, it’s exciting, with that ‘yes! I really want that!’ kind of motivation. For exercise to be a form of self-care, it needs to tap into this part of you that is your natural energy source. 

When Tina and I chatted more about what it meant to be healthy and well, her whole appearance changed. She described how she used to love to sing and act in local theatre productions, but she got away from that when her career took off. As important as it was to avoid diabetes, exercising solely for that reason felt like a should, and it was adding to her stress. When we redefined being healthy and well as having the ability to do the things she loved again, like acting, everything shifted. Her spirits lifted, her mood lightened and her energy soared. Suddenly, exercising for her Why gave her energy to take care of her whole person.  

Bottom line: ‘Should’ leads to stress, Why leads to well. When any part of exercise feels like a ‘should’, it’s a huge warning sign that it is disconnected from your spiritual well-being and thus will not feel like self-care. When you know how exercising is connected to your Why, even the thought of exercise gives you that tingle of excitement and energy and you are on your way to using exercise as a source of self-care. 

Be WELL,

Janet

PS: the WELL part of Exercising WELL is an acronym for a four step method we use to take your Why and put it into action.  Stay tuned! Enrollment will be opening at the end of December so you can start your year off by tapping into the energy of your Why by Exercising WELL.