How to use movement to get motivated

EAlthough there is plenty of research to prove that physical activity is good for the body, the science isn’t always enough to convince us to get up and move. Some common mental blocks include self-doubt, comparison (the thief of joy when exercising), cognitive distortions—such as all-or-nothing thinking—that can be overwhelming, and only believing that you “feel like it” You can exercise.

Sound familiar? Well, sometimes the best way to get motivated to move is to, well, use the power of a little movement.

This is where Erica Hornthal, LCPC, BC-DMT, a board-certified dance/movement therapist and licensed clinical professional counselor, can help. She recently shared a handful of her moves that help her when she finds herself stuck in a fitness rut ​​on her Instagram account.

“These strategies come in handy when we feel emotionally and cognitively stuck, unmotivated or out of options — also when we’re in a state of hypo- or hyper-arousal and outside our ‘window of tolerance,'” she says. “These interventions work because of the mind-body connection.” Here, she shares how to use movement to get motivated when you want to work out but don’t feel like it.

1. Find a rhythm or beat and get to it

According to a recent meta-analysis of the benefits of dance, simply turning to music can potentially increase mindfulness, reduce stress on the body by calming your nervous system, and improve quality of life. So if you feel too overwhelmed to exercise, a dance break may be just what you need.

2. A part of your body sways, sways, or rocks

If you’re in your head and feeling emotionally overwhelmed, this is a good way to get into your body—by bringing your awareness into your physical form. It can be as small as tapping your toes. “Physical movement influences cognitive motivation,” says Hornthal. “There is no ‘right’ way to move. It’s about micro-movements because small movements lead to big changes.”

3. Change your posture

It’s understandable that you won’t feel ready or motivated to move if you’re rounded, hunched, or otherwise holding your body in a way that makes movement feel inaccessible. But according to Hornthal the opposite is equally true. “Body movement affects connections and activity in the brain, which can create opportunities for new ideas, new perspectives, focus, attention, and thinking,” she says, so roll those shoulders back, stack your spine, and see if it happens. Don’t do anything to your mood

4. Change the pivot or direction

“How we move affects how we think,” says Hornthal, “so when we want to change our thinking, it’s an easy way to create momentum that leads to motivation.” If you’re used to moving in one direction all the time, Consider trying activities that require you to move in different planes of motion. For example, instead of always moving forward, like when you walk, try an activity like tennis that forces you to lean to the side. Not only can it change your perspective. , but it can also help you avoid injury and increase longevity.

5. Bring attention to your breath

Hornthal says of your breath, “Allow it to guide your next move. It’s one of the simplest forms of meditation. Just drawing your awareness to your breathing and exhalation can stifle your motivation, while at the same time Calms the nervous system so you can bypass whatever motivational obstacles are in your way.

“Bodies at rest are at rest,” says Hornthal. “So the goal is to create momentum, which leads to motivation physiologically and psychologically. Movement in simple, small ways is the easiest way to create momentum.” Remember that next time you need a little extra oomph, and want to use movement to get motivated.

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