Gear Up for Exercise!

Sports Psychology simply put, means gearing our minds up for the task! To have a good workout, to stay motivated during our workouts and to achieve our goals, requires more than healthy eating and getting to the gym (at least some of the time it does since we're not striving for perfection!). When we apply our mind, we not only train our brain to concentrate, but we may get a lot more out of it physically too. 

We've all heard about the mind-body connection, so here are a few tips to gear up for a great exercise session that I'd like to suggest for those of us nonprofessional athletes:

Make a Plan: Making a plan or goal before we hit the gym will more likely help us to focus once we're there. This is similar to what psychologists call "priming". Of course, once we're feeling great during our exercise session, we can always do more than our set goal!

Focus: Focus is "directed attention" to a specific task. I love chatting with my friends at the gym, but I try to make it a quick hello until I'm done. Focus also means staying in the moment (leave work and all else behind). Focusing will likely help our workout and refresh us for the stresses we will head back to, when we're finished exercising.


Make it a Mind- Body Connection: When we focus on our exercise form, on our body/muscles, and watch ourselves in the mirror, we not only make an exercise more effective, but more interesting. Working a particular body part? Focus on that area of the body by squeezing, while relaxing other areas.

Practice Self -Talk: Become your own coach! Feel like quitting your exercise program sooner? Practice self -talk like an athlete. I usually tell myself "okay June, do just another 5 minutes and then quit if you like" or "do just one more exercise June, then quit". Many times, this helps me past my unmotivated phase. I also try then to shift my thoughts from the time left to the task at hand!

Imagine it and Make it Happen! Research has shown that imagery can be a powerful motivator. Research has also shown that when we believe we can accomplish something, we are more likely to accomplish it! Imagine getting ready to exercise, going through the routine, finishing, and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Imagine getting closer to your goals.

Athletes go through years practicing many of the above techniques and more. We may not be athletes, but we can practice some of these to motivate, enjoy and maximize our exercise programs. And of course this may help us to reach our goals too!

Here's to "Gearing up for Exercise!


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This article has informational purpose and  isn't a substitute for professional advice.

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