For the first time in a very long time, I am finding it hard to motivate myself to keep exercising. The fact that exercise has been proven to slow the progression of Parkinson’s is usually a pretty big motivator in itself and exercise is a great coping strategy. Obviously social distancing regulations have played a significant part but I’ve been reflecting on what other factors might be involved.
Without fail, twice a week for the past four years, I have trained with my personal trainer at the gym. When my training session is in my diary, I never think ‘Will I or won’t I?’ or ‘Maybe later’. Without question, I get up and just do it!
No routine = No Reason
Just Do It!
I can’t take credit for the phrase ‘Just Do It’ but the sentiment works for me. If I get up and go to the gym first thing, I never fail to exercise. If I take the ‘I’ll do it later’ approach, ‘later’ sometimes simply does not happen.
Leave it Until Later = Leave it until Tomorrow!
I have a commitment to train with a friend once a week and we share a personal trainer for this session. If I didn’t turn up, I would be letting my friend and my trainer down, so yet again, I never question it, I ‘just do it’.
No Commitment = No Commitment
Friends & FUN
I enjoy exercising with others. Most of my cycling is with friends. The occasional solo cycle is great but for a long, hard, training cycle, the company of friends makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable no matter how hard it might be physically. I go further and faster, have more fun and enjoy it so much more when training with friends.
No Friends = No Fun!
The Great Outdoors
Cycling outdoors is my exercise of choice. With our outdoor time restricted, I’m trying to find an ‘at home’ exercise that will give me the same buzz as cycling outdoors does. But there isn’t one! I simply cannot find anything to like about our indoor turbo trainer! No wind in my hair, no company, no fresh air, no sights, sounds or the sunshine that comes with the changing seasons. I really must try harder!
No outdoors = No Motivation!
Each year, I set myself a physical challenge to ensure that I exercise harder and more regularly than I might otherwise do. Whilst our Raid Alpine challenge hasn’t been cancelled, as with everything else, it is under a cloud of doubt and so I’m finding it harder to maintain my commitment to such intense training, with the concern that it might have to be postponed.
No Goal = No Training!
The Feel Good Factor
I feel better after exercise, physically and psychologically. My Parkinson’s symptoms are less noticeable after an exercise session and I know I am doing something that gives me the best chance of an active future. Starting the day with exercise makes me feel positive and energised for the rest of the day. I am the fittest I have ever been and that feels great.
As with most of the rest of the world, almost overnight my routine has been interrupted, my freedom to exercise with others has ceased and my ability to go outdoors limited. At the same time, my kids, home from university are desperate to walk the dog, so I haven’t got the same demands from her! My exercise goal – The Raid Alpine sits under a cloud of uncertainty and my ‘just do it’ mentality has been rocked.
It’s been useful to reflect on what helps and what hinders my motivation to exercise. When the time comes to return to some normality, I will ensure I reinstate all the elements that make my exercise regime work for me. I look forward to that day and in the meantime, like everyone else, I have to make the most of the situation we all find ourselves in and do what I can to keep my self as fit as possible because one day our lives will return to a more normal state.