As a pilates instructor I hear a lot of different motivators from people for why they want to exercise. They are often along the lines of wanting a flatter tummy, wanting their body back after babies, having nicer arms, bigger butt and the list goes on.
In other words, a lot of physical “I wants” which is ok, these are often the outward results of exercise. And I’m sure we all have these thoughts regularly, especially with so much social media out there promoting it but I believe merely having surface reasons is not enough to maintain this important daily routine.
Having these superficial goals also means we tend to push it further down the list of things to be done – why shouldn’t we, if it has no real or deep purpose?!
I want to encourage you to give your reasons for exercising a deeper purpose.
There are 2 definitions used for the word - Purpose;
1) the reason for which something is done or created.
2) a person's sense of resolve or determination.
When something has purpose it produces a sense of determination and often a high level of motivation.
Each of us have a different story and a unique situation, so your reasons could be very different.
But I thought I would share a couple of my reasons for exercise. With hope that they help you reflect on a deeper purpose for why you exercise.
1) Keep physical pain under control
I have TMJ in my jaw which as a child produced chronic pain in my jaw and back. I would miss several weeks of school due to a locked jaw or back spasms.
Starting Pilates at the age of 12 kept this pain controlled and meant that I could function in daily life as a kid/teenager and then as an adult working at a desk for long periods of time.
I haven’t stopped pilates since. Having a baby has caused me to treasure exercise even more.
2) Pregnancy & recovery
Pregnancy is a whole new level of crazy for the body with so many hormones going through it.
For each of us the body responds and handles this period in many different ways. I was too sick to exercise for the first 3 months but after this period was over I craved movement for its mental benefits as much as the physical ones.
After having our little girl, exercise was a way to heal & strengthen my body but also give myself emotional TLC.
3) My bucket filler
No matter what your life looks like whether you have a demanding job, endless mummy &/or wifey duties, stressful circumstances or you’re in a season with all of the above. Your emotional bucket most likely gets very empty, very quickly.
My suggestion, give exercise the deeper purpose of being your bucket filler. Use it as a chance to breathe, rebuild your energy levels, and to replenish.
I find if I don’t have the chance to move in a day or know that it is coming at the end, my brain is in overdrive, my body is stiff and I am less patient. In other words ... I am very grumpy!
When I have exercised I feel refreshed and there fore I have the renewed energy to be refreshing for my family.
I find my most consistent clients are the ones who have come with a deep purpose, a strong determination to change more then just their outward appearance.
My advice, don’t put that stressful pressure on yourself of meeting a “socially acceptable” physical standard.
Instead focus on;
1) developing a strength which helps you keep up with daily demands of life.
2) building an awareness of how your body responds physically and emotionally to different seasons in your life.
3) being inspired to find a deeper purpose for you own wellness and also those most precious to you.
Here are some questions that will help you reflect on what your deeper purpose might be for exercise.