The Importance of Feeling Good
"We would never say that you should not push yourself -- that's how you can get stronger, leaner and toner," personal trainer George Deoudes says. "We think you should try to run longer, lift more weight and perfect your yoga form, but this advice comes with one important caveat: Make sure you're feeling good when you're doing it."
We see it time and again: people working out so hard that their muscles constantly ache. You can often tell that they are not enjoying themselves, they may even be unaware that they are putting themselves at risk of injury. They pound the pavement as they run for miles and miles, they strain their bodies to lift more weight than the day before or they push themselves into a deeper backbend than the person next to them in yoga class.
We would like to pose a question to these kinds of exercise fanatics: Are you feeling good?
We recently came across a report revealing that most of the people who participated in a fitness study are willing to exercise more often and for longer durations if they feel good while they are exercising.
These scientists recruited volunteers who exercised for 20 minutes at levels they reported as unpleasant. In one session, the subjects had a five-minute cooling down period afterward, which immediately changed their moods because it felt pleasant. In the other session, the subjects stopped exercising, without a cool-down. A week later, the researchers asked their subjects which of the two workouts they would repeat, and by a ratio of two to one, participants said they would repeat the one with the pleasant ending.
The study found the obvious: People like to do things that make them feel better, and they avoid things that make them feel worse, especially when it comes to exercise.
The key takeaway from this study for all of us: When exercise makes us feel good -- and that means avoiding injuries and boredom -- we will be more motivated to exercise again tomorrow.
i.d. professionals: when change is necessary
We've all been there at some point: We hit the proverbial wall with exercise routines that no longer feel good -- or produce results. To help you find ways to bring joy back into your workouts, we called upon our panel of fitness experts -- the "i.d. professionals." Here, our panelists describe the steps they took when they had to change up their workouts when their one-time favorite modes of exercise suddenly fell flat.
"Take a break and try something new! When my favorite workout just isn't cutting it, I take it as a sign to modify my routine. I usually do this by heading to one of my fellow instructor's classes or setting a different goal for myself. It's a great way to spark new motivation."
"As a runner, I deal with monotony a lot! Rule of thumb, easier said than done, listen to your body. It builds awareness, and in turn will make anyone a better athlete who can stay active healthier, longer.
"When things are not feeling good, assess what is not working. In the case of boredom or a lack of motivation, changing the time of day you work out can help. For instance, if you always go to a 6:15 pm Spinning class, maybe try a 6:15 am Spinning class and use the extra time in the evening to do something relaxing and fun. Often, something like getting new music ideas can help ramp up energy. For me, a new playlist or no music at all can help refresh my running routine."