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Train Your Brain To Exercise

What you think sets you up for how you do a whole lot of things in your life including exercise. We almost always have a mental chatter going on nonstop inside our heads – what we say to ourselves in this time is of great consequence to how we lead our lives. Regular exercise can turbo charge brainpower and improve mood, memory, and focus, while fighting depression and age-related cognitive decline. Studies show that your mental outlook can affect how you react to pain during a workout, which can influence whether you dig in or throw in the towel. By understanding how the brain responds to each phase of your workout, you can make the most of the mind-body connection.

Adults who exercise display sharper memory skills, higher concentration levels, more fluid thinking and reasoning, and greater problem-solving than those who stay sedentary.

‘I can’t do it, exercise is not for me, I can never have enough time’… are the regular negative self talk that limits starting on a regular exercise routine. If you can just work on changing or checking your thought processes you will make huge shifts in getting things done in every aspect of your life, not just choosing a healthy lifestyle.

With positive reinforcement you are much more likely to start and stay committed to an exercise program. We all know exercise is healthy, it’s good for us, but that has really not been enough to get us to work out, has it? Will possible self talk help? Not in its entirety but it can certainly help. Know that even the biggest fitness enthusiasts have days that they struggle with exercise.

Some things that can help you train your brain to exercise include:

  • Reading magazines and websites dedicated to health and fitness.
  • Sign up for an organised exercise class, or take up a sport that has always interested you.
  • Buy new fitness gear and shoes.
  • Create an exercise log or graph.
  • Take a photo each day to remember your journey and how far you have come.
  • Set goals.
  • Motivational quotes.
  • Fitness app.
  • Buddy up with an exercise partner.
  • Plan fitness holidays – yoga retreats, hiking, mountain biking, swimming and kayaking, hill runs, etc
  • Create a diet and nutrition plan that you enjoy. Take charge of cooking for yourself!
  • However busy, commit to 15 minutes at least of dedicated exercise.
  • Feel good about what you are doing.
  • Counter any procrastination by just going ahead and doing it.
  • Go vegetarian at least 2-3 days a week.
  • Take breaks and reward yourself occasionally.
  • Meditate

Physical activity keeps your brain healthy, improves memory and prevents brain shrinkage as you age. Adults who exercise display sharper memory skills, higher concentration levels, more fluid thinking and reasoning, and greater problem-solving than those who stay sedentary.

Sandesh Palungwa Limbu, Certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and specialises in mixed martial arts.

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