The physical benefits of exercise are well reported and studied. We all know we *should* exercise for our health, and yet knowing this does not tend to motivate us to action in the long term. Other things all too easily take priority in our life and our own personal goals on health and fitness slip further down our to-do list.
An interesting study by Dr. Michelle Segar PhD found that patients who adopted an appropriate exercise regime as part of their treatment and recovery from breast cancer benefited from increased in health, better recovery and sense of positivity than those who did not exercise. Interestingly, at a follow up appointment 3 months after the study had finished, none of the ladies in the exercise group had continued with their exercise regime despite experiencing so many positive benefits.
This led Dr. Segar to research in to what motivates us to prioritise our own health and self-care. After all, if a life-changing event like facing cancer doesn’t prompt us to view our own wellbeing as a priority and take the necessary steps to look after ourselves better then what will?
It seems that exercising for the benefit of our physical health is not often enough to keep most of us motivated in the long term. However by regognising and honing in on how exercise makes you feel at the time and immediately afterwards you are much more likely to maintain your commitment to your exercise regime.
It’s the difference between telling yourself you have to exercise because it is good for you/helps manage your weight/ your G.P has told you to, and wanting to exercise because it makes you feel energised, it provides you with stress relief and time out from your busy life. It’s the difference between seeing exercise as a joy, or a chore.
Nordic Walking is one of the best forms of joyful exercise for your body and mind. The therapeutic benefits of being outside, enjoying green open spaces, the company (should you choose that) or indeed the solitude (if that is what you require) makes Nordic walking accessible, enjoyable and guaranteed to lift your spirits giving you that immediate feel good feedback that you don’t always get from sweating it out in the gym!
This feedback of wellbeing from activity is much more likely to see you come back again and again for more. Motivation becomes an internal desire rather than something you have to force upon yourself for health benefits, which may or may not be felt at some point in the future. The fact you feel great while Nordic Walking and afterwards creates a much more positive mindset and evidence shows you are more likely to keep coming back for more.
Prioritising activity in your life is not selfish… it’s self care. So grab your Nordic Walking poles and begin your upward spiral towards better health and vitality today. You’ll feel better for it…honest!