I’m sure that, by now, we all know what my brain is like.
It either wants me to do all of the exercise things or none of the exercise things. It either thinks that I can’t possibly do enough or that there’s really no point in doing just a little.
Even though I know better, my brain gives me pushback on these things every damn time.
Recently, I’ve had some successes.
Last week, I wrote about how I managed to reframe my muscle soreness into a positive sign.
This week, I wanted to tell you about how I have coaxed my brain into believing that mobility exercises “count.”
Obviously, intellectually, I know that mobility exercises count. Everything counts when it comes to movement (and to building new habits!)
But I’ve always had a lot of trouble making myself do them because there’s no immediate payoff – they don’t FEEL like they count. They’re annoying and they are boring and it takes a lot of work to make myself stop what I am doing and start those exercises.
Now, despite all that, I’ve actually done pretty well for the last couple of months with doing one hip mobility drill before bed. And most days in March I’ve managed to do one shoulder mobility drill in the morning. A good start but it has often taken way more energy than I’d like to make myself do the drills.
And while my hips and shoulders have shown a little improvement, I knew that I needed to do more if I wanted a bigger improvement.
So I needed to figure out how to make it easy to get started, how to do enough to give me more results without wearing myself out. And I needed to find a way to make sure that I could tel that my exercises counted.
So, I have been doing the good habit-building technique of adding them to something I’m already doing. i.e. I’m doing my mobility exercises before or after my Fitness + exercise sessions each day.
So that’s one part of the trick – I am already in exercise mode so it feels pretty easy to add in my hip circles or foot stretches or whatever.
The second part involves making sure those exercises feel like they count…or at least, making sure they are counted.
I hate counting reps (it makes everything feel like it takes waaaaaay longer) so I usually set a timer for anything I need to do over and over. Using a timer didn’t help me convince my brain that the exercises counted though, because I was still only seeing a few minutes here and there.
But tracking with the fitness app on my watch has let me overcome that issue. Now I choose a video of the kind of exercises I want to do, I tell my watch that I’m doing a workout in the ‘other’ category, and it starts recording my minutes.
This makes all the difference in the world for my brain because the video length lets me know that I won’t actually be stuck doing these exercises forever (even if it feels that way) and using my watch to track it as an ‘other’ workout means that I can see how the short sessions are adding up to something bigger.
At the end of the day or the end of the week, I can see how much time I spent doing ‘other’ workouts and it feels tangible and useful instead of piecemeal and pointless.
By using my watch and a video, I can spend less time thinking about when and how to do these exercises and more time actually doing them. This process is way less frustrating because even though I have described this as tricking myself, I am actually working WITH my brain instead against it and that means I require far less energy to get each exercise session started.
Do you have any tricks you use to get your exercise sessions started?
Do you also have trouble making yourself do mobility or rehab exercises?
Do you have a favourite YouTube channel or Instagram account for these kinds of exercises?