March Exercise of the Month: Let Motivation Put A Spring In Your Step
Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP
I hope you’re enjoying that sweet springtime feeling! Life is in bloom all around us – trees and flowers are coming back along with that greenish-yellow pollen hue we all love. As nature recaptures its beauty and life, our fitness goals can began to die off. Most gyms start to decrease in activity as motivation for New Year’s resolutions diminishes.
Motivation is not a simple subject. Some people dedicate their whole lives to studying motivation! I want to give you a sneak peek into the world of sports psychology and why you should think deeper about motivation.
Patrick Cohn defines motivation as, “the mental process that initiates, sustains or guides an athlete’s behavior (training, approach to competition, managing adversity, performance).” There are two types of motivation to be aware of, intrinsic and extrinsic. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), intrinsic motivation refers to performing an activity for the pleasure and satisfaction derived from participation. Think of intrinsic motivation as an internal motivation. An example would be exercising because you love the way it makes you feel physically or mentally. The definition of extrinsic performance motivation refers to behavior that is regulated through expected outcomes not inherent in the activity itself. An example of extrinsic motivation is exercising for a more attractive figure.
Why does understanding motivation matter? By knowing what extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are, you can better set goals and achieve them. You need to develop specific goals that target intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. An example would be setting a goal to lose five pounds in two months. You have an extrinsic motivator of losing weight. Your intrinsic motivator for losing weight would be to feel better, be healthier, or have more energy. Be specific with your goals, but also think about how they will internally and externally impact you. By intentionally appealing to these forms of motivation, you set yourself up for better achievement, consistency, and less burnout.
Sometimes motivation can decrease due to boredom. You have been doing the same workouts daily and feel it’s getting a bit redundant. Great news! There’s an easy fix for that! The first thing you could do is try something you have never done before. Forget about fear, just embrace the newness! You could also pick something that you are absolutely terrible at. Spice things up by improving a skill.
If you want some inspiration for an exercise routine to pair with your motivation, read below.
Complete a ten-minute warm up.
Then, do three rounds of the following:
45-second bear planks with quad tap
20 alternating single leg box step ups
45-second inch worm
10-15 reverse lunges
45-second bear crawl
10-15 plank knee to elbow
8-10 spider pushups
After three rounds, finish with a cardio activity of your choice (examples: burpees, box jumps, jump rope, sprints).
Cool down for ten minutes and stretch.
Kayla Thompson is a diabetes care navigator at the HopeHealth Medical Plaza in Florence and a certified exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She has a Master of Science in clinical exercise science.