Making the right decision is the basis for a first small step toward regular exercise or sport activity. First, it is necessary to realise that motives for exercising or engaging in a sport vary. That‘s why we should custom tailor modest personal goals, which we then can achieve. Example. I want to get fit. A small target in this case may be to achieve climbing to the third floor, albeit slowly, but without loosing breath. We don’t need to chase some predefined time result per kilometer. That would cause us yet another pressure – a stressful situation of which we already have enough in our lives. In the beginning,
until we are trained, it is good to follow our feelings and these should certainly be pleasant.
The mental state in which one performs a certain activity most effectively is the state of “flow” also known as being “in the zone”. This state was first described by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
It is a state of concentration of attention toward an activity in which one does not perceive time, does not judge oneself. We are just totally absorbed by what we do. How do we achieve this?
1. Our basic needs should be fulfilled. For example, we should not be hungry or thirsty, we should have plenty of fresh air and we should have enough sleep. Then one should have one’s own reason why one wants to train. A given is that one is healthy and is not in pain. When we have a toothache, we will certainly not experience flow. It is essential from a training point of view to set a specific task which we are able to handle, but which is also a little more demanding, so it becomes a challenge. When I know that I can do ten squats easily, I will try to do twelve, or five squats on a balance board. That is the basis of motivation.
2. The conditions in which we find ourselves are also of key importance. That’s why you should choose a place to train in which you feel comfortable. If I do not like a lot of people around, I choose a fitness centre, which is smaller, or a time, which is less busy. If you like music, prepare it in advance in a way that it will pleasantly accompany you and motivate you. Clothing need not copy the latest trend. It should be functional to suck up the sweat well and in the case of outdoors to prevent the body from becoming chilled, for example from the wind. It is important for the clothes to feel comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
3. Social support is important for continued motivation. It can be your friend or partner. It’s someone who either trains with us or supports and stimulates us continuously, even if we do not feel up to it. Just a call with a gentle nudge “I hope you are already putting your shoes on! ” feels good. If we don’t happen to have someone like that already, don’t be embarrassed to ask someone from your surrounding.
The more we experience the state of flow in the training, the more we are motivated and the desired effect will arrive sooner. Finally, remember that even if you did not find the time to go to the gym today, do just a few exercises at home or at work. „To stay connected is easier than to start from scratch“.
This article is prepared for you by:
Expert in Sport and Exercise Psychology