The pain of exercise…how do I get motivated?

When you’re juggling work from home (and potentially home schooling), it’s easy to neglect yourself. Normal activities go by the wayside, and healthy eating and exercise may not feel like a priority.

However, and I can tell you from experience, there’s never a better time to get moving than when you feel like you can’t. Among other cool facts, exercise is proven to stimulate the growth of brain cells, improve memory, and release “feel good” hormones – which are all very necessary during a lockdown!

For me, exercise has never been about changing the way I look…I do it to change the way I think, feel and lead others. As many of you know, I’ve also had my fair share of illness and injury, so I see exercise as a way to aid in my recovery.

During last year’s lockdown, my shoulder froze. And while it’s been a lengthy recovery, I was grateful that it led to meeting Ryan and Riley from Canberra City Health Network. They have supported my rehabilitation and general fitness and health. Attending small exercise groups twice a week is an ongoing commitment I’ve made, and I think it’s an excellent service – not just for leaders, but for anyone trying to recover from injury and return to work.

Especially during lockdowns, when everyone’s homes are set up in different ways, it’s more important than ever to exercise in a safe way. I also believe that for those of us with our own businesses, people like Ryan and Riley become part of your ongoing support team – and we all need all the support we can get at the moment.

For some insight on staying healthy with exercise during lockdown, I had a fun Zoom catch up with Ryan and Riley…

Why do lockdowns impact our desire to exercise?

Ryan: I think there is a lot of fear among people, and reduced mood to an extent. It has resulted in people reducing or not taking part in their usual activities.

Riley: I agree, there’s a lot of fear and angst. Where health and exercise used to be a priority, now it’s about not getting sick.

Why should people care about exercise right now?

Ryan: While it may be hard to get motivated, most people understand the benefit of exercise during times like these. Part of the lockdown protocol is that it allows for an hour of outdoor exercise, which shows that even at a government level they know exercise is key to good health.

Exercise comes in many shapes and forms, and what one person considers exercise may not be the same as another. In reality, it’s about being active and producing some metabolic benefit to the body, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what works for you.

Riley: Exercise is really important, so try to make it as enjoyable as you can given the circumstances. If you prefer group exercise, there are many online classes available from health and fitness providers. Committing to one of these may help you feel more motivated.

There are also some really good exercise apps which are free or low cost.

What are the benefits of working with an exercise physiologist?

Riley: We complete a 4-year undergraduate degree with clinical practice and evidence-based research on how to engage, motivate and coach our clients while helping them manage any physical conditions. We always start with a one-on-one consultation to design a safe exercise program that empowers them to meet their personal health goals, without aggravating any injuries. We also want people to feel safe and gain confidence in their abilities.

Ryan: We spend a lot of time learning about medical health conditions and injury so we can best support our clients. It’s about understanding a person’s goals while considering what they may be experiencing and using it to guide how we work together.

Many clients worry about their technique. So we often find they feel a lot of relief in taking things slower, working on their technique, and gaining confidence in exercising.

What is your message to people at home in Canberra?

Ryan: I want to help people overcome the personal barriers they feel are preventing them from reaching their goals – be it related to activity or exercise. We want clients to make positive health decisions and reach positive health outcomes, particularly in times of stress such as a lockdown.

Riley: Be the captain of your ship! You may not be confident, but we will try to equip you with the tools and skills so you can exercise without us. We want to make ourselves redundant, so you have what you need to move forward on your wellness journey.

My message to everyone in Canberra is to make your health a priority! You can connect with Ryan and Riley by visiting Canberra City Health Network.

(Note: If you have private insurance you may be able to claim it, or for a chronic illness see your GP for a care plan.)

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