‘Slob on the sofa’ You say? Here’s your five-step plan for tuning in to what your body is really trying to tell you.
1. Shush your lazy voice
Don’t give your excuses airtime: have your yoga mat rolled out on your bedroom floor so you can workout first thing, or pack your kit in your bag so you’re ready to go at lunchtime. Treat the ‘noooo’ voice in your head as you would an errant toddler. Politely but firmly get started. You know best.
2. Spot your tipping point
Your body might creak as you warm up, but every stretch releases tension and every movement makes oxygen flow a little faster. The more aware you are of the moment your mood tips from miserable to happy, the more intense it feels.
3. Make a power playlist
Gloria Estefan knew her stuff: the rhythm is gonna get you. Listening to music helps you run farther, cycle longer and swim faster – often without you noticing the extra effort. Songs with 120-140 beats per minute make you perform best. You can download software that organises your whole iTunes library by its bpm, but ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson (139bpm) will get you started.
4. Exercise mindfully
‘Switching on’ muscles with your mind can make them tone up 35% faster. Mindful exercise is a moment-by-moment awareness of what your body’s doing. Observe how your abs engage when you lift a weight. Feel every muscle in your feet push up from the ground as you run. Pay attention to the fact you’re getting healthier and stronger with every movement – it’s a double positive reinforcement. The more mindfully you work out, the more you get hooked on the sensation of exercise, not just the results.
5. Bottle your post-workout glow
As you shower, take a moment to absorb how much happier, calmer and better you feel about yourself now. The feelgood flush you get after exercise is what will keep you coming back for more.
Article extracted from The Feelgood Plan (Ebury Press, £14.99), Photography by Philip North-Coombes, out now.