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Motivational Talk for the Not-So-Motivated

Because we just can't let the cold weather win.

Photo Courtesy of Inc.

Human hibernation has commenced, that time when we would all much rather snuggle up in our cozy beds and watch our favorite sitcoms after our daily struggles to survive in the big world. The problem with this is that our lives eventually become devoid of exciting and worthwhile activities to keep us feeling accomplished and healthy. 

If you are reading this, then know that you’re doing yourself a favor by exploring solutions to loosen up your relationship with your bed. The following steps are intended to provide you with starting points to gradually develop positive habits, which can help improve your overall vitality in the long run.

1. Do what you enjoy the most.

None of the other points on this list will matter if you don’t follow this fundamental “feel-good” rule. How can you expect to set goals and find endearment in everyday life if you don’t have a means to an end? Spare us the “I don’t have any motives” excuse; humans are goal-oriented beings and will express themselves through countless interests. Recreational activities such as sports and the arts help to build essential cognitive, social, and physical skills. They are useful even in the context of academia or your crafts. Remember that you don’t have to stick to only one hobby; try taking up a few to avoid monotonous routine, but be wary of an overly tight schedule.

2. Be social.

If we’re talking strictly about workouts, then having a buddy who will accompany you on your fitness quest can help you put more effort into your exercises. A little healthy competition surely won’t hurt! It’s a good idea to find someone who has similar goals as you, or a fitness addict to advise you on the best plan for your long-term goals. Don’t force someone who is notorious for being lazy to tag along, or they will demotivate you quickly. If nothing else, perhaps consider adopting a pet dog! Dogs are typically known for their social and energetic nature and will demand brisk walks and playtime.

In terms of your social life, going out with friends and finding entertaining things to do together is an age-old necessity. After all, laughter in good company is the best medicine! Even if you’re all just sitting around and twiddling your thumbs, get your feet tapping and toes wiggling too. These may be simple movements, but they will definitely keep your circulation going whether you're out on the town or basement dwelling for the night.

3. Be a model. Your own role model.

Go shopping for clothes (especially workout gear) that will make you feel better about how you look and to define your target image. Take periodic selfies of your progress. It’s not narcissistic if you’re not gloating and placing yourself above others. It’s about boosting your self-confidence and telling yourself and everyone else that we’re all able to combat the seemingly impossible if we make that commitment.

4. Drop insomnia as a friend.

People think that sacrificing sleep is a good idea to increase productivity during the day. What they’re actually doing is overdriving the sleep-deprived mind to the point where a lack of concentration and effective brainstorming practices hinder performance. Strive for at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night unless an emergency situation pops up one night that legitimately prevents you from catching those zees. Waking up revitalized will help you be productive during the time you're supposed to be active.

5. Don’t force yourself to finish everything on your plate.

Active living requires a healthy diet. But don’t think that you need to scarf down the entire nutrition guide all in one sitting. Snacking on nutritious and low-calorie appetizers like fruits and vegetables throughout the day reduce hunger, increase energy, and help normalize your portions for when the main courses come. You’ll also feel less bloated, and you’re less likely feel the urge to lay down right after eating.

6. And now for actual exercises.

The key here is to be realistic about how you want to tackle fitness. It’s not just about pure athleticism, because you also want to apply your strengths to your ordinary tasks. Doing chores early in the day such as vacuuming, shoveling the snow, and winter gardening are great examples of getting things done while breaking a sweat. It is also a good idea to start off with lighter exercises. Go to the gym, even if you just want to stretch. If anything, it improves your flexibility for movement and range-of-motion.

While at the gym, think about taking lower-level or introductory classes, whether they are in dance, yoga, aerobics, or any other available activities. You want to have an idea of what you’re capable of and where to go with your fitness plan. If there are days where you really can’t bear to leave your bed, *try fast abdomen exercises and poses, or using a fitness ball (don’t worry, you can still be next to your beloved bed) while watching television. Some other “TV workouts” you can do are jumping jacks and stretches during commercial breaks.

*See suggested starter workouts below.

Poses

While lying on your back in bed (this is known as the “Shavasana” pose) shift your torso to the left, bend your knees and bring them up parallel to your abdomen. Twist your upper body and head towards the right as far as you can, and spread out your arms to form a T. Hold the pose for two minutes. Repeat the process on the opposite side by lifting your legs (still bent at the knees) and slowly bringing them over to the right. Position your upper half to the left. Do this two more times on each side. For an added challenge, extend your legs and slowly move them side-to-side, keeping your torso straight.

While in Shavasana, lift your legs and straighten them as much as you can. Remain in the pose for five minutes. If you want to take it further, prop yourself up on your elbows and use your hands to lift your torso so that you can bring your legs up higher. You can either balance on your own weight or do this pose against a wall for extra support.

Abs

  • Move out of Shavasana by lifting your legs and crossing them as you would when sitting normally. Do sit-ups for a minute.
  • Uncross your legs and kick them back and forth in circular motions as if you were riding a bicycle. Do this for two minutes.
  • Put your hands behind your head; extend your right leg out while bending your left knee inward toward your head. Bend your upper body to the right. Repeat this process on the other side and shift back and forth like this for a minute.

So there you have it! There's no reason why you can't get creative when it looks like the world (crazy weather changes and Netflix temptations) is working against us.

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