Hundreds of thousands of years ago, in order to survive, our ancestors had to be active constantly. They had to spend their days running, lifting heavy objects, carrying things, and walking long distances. Our bodies have evolved to be constantly active. When you exercising, you are using your body for what it was made for – and will feel more confidant, capable, relaxed and energetic.
Exercising is a process that you never finish. Even if you're working towards a weight-loss goal, or a distance running goal, or a weight-lifting goal, once you reach that goal you will need to continue your exercise routine or risk backtracking and losing everything you worked so hard for.
If you think of your nutrition plan and exercise plan as something that you're only doing in order to achieve a certain goal, you will find yourself falling off the wagon quickly, most likely long before you reach that goal. To have a body that you'll love, you have to shift your paradigm.
When you learn to love exercise and healthy eating for the activity itself, not for what it achieves, the weight will melt off and you will gain muscle tone while also having fun. If you're only working for a goal, you risk self-sabotage if you don't achieve that goal as quickly as you think you should. When you exercise for the sake of exercising, then as long as you're working hard, you're succeeding.
According to Psychology Today, intrinsic motivation is the best way to maintain an exercise regimen. Intrinsic motivation is achieved when you learn to exercise for its own sake, because you enjoy the way you feel during and after exercise. One of the best ways to achieve this is by reaching a point of “flow.” Flow, according to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is the mental state of a person who is fully immersed in an activity, with energized focus and enjoyment of the activity. When you reach the point of “flow,” time seems to melt away. It is a joyful emotion. When you find joy within exercise, you will never want to cut it out of your life.
Other good ways to find joy within exercise are by finding other ways to make it fun. Perhaps you can hike a beautiful mountain instead of using the same treadmill in the gym, or race your friends on your next run.
As we all know, it's easy to find excuses when it comes to exercise. Life gets busy, we feel under the weather, or we are away from our gym. Those excuses may be true, but if they stop you from exercising they'll stop you from reaching your goal. If exercise is something you love, you'll stop looking for excuse and start looking for ways to sneak more of it into your life.
Reaching the point of flow means that exercise will stop being another item on your to-do list and become something that brings joy and calmness to your life. When you begin to exercise simply because you love it, you will find that getting in shape just follows naturally.