We often think of health in a purely physical context. In fact the state of our health can be measured in our bodies, our minds, our relationships, our environments and our habits. Physical fitness is deeply interconnected with mental health and even engaging in a moderate amount of physical activity can lead to improved emotional states, quality of life, and positive habit formation (AASP, n.d.). Research has shown that physical exercise can produce positive psychological effects including reducing anxiety, increasing our ability to cope, helping to recover from emotional exhaustion, and decreasing irritability (Amatriain-Fernandez et al., 2020). The Association for Applied Sports Psychology (AASP) lists common psychological benefits gained through exercise such as improved self-esteem, reduced stress and increased ability to cope with stress, increased satisfaction with oneself, and increased feelings of energy as well as development of healthy habits. Exercise can become our daily prescription for well-being and continued longevity.
Adopting physical exercise as a lifestyle often takes more than setting short-term goals and focusing on external motivation such as losing weight. Individuals who learn to focus on the here and now and develop a mindset of making exercise meaningful create what Kimiecik (2000) coined as “intrinsic exercisers”. His core philosophy consisted of exercising for its own sake because if we don’t see value in our workouts then ultimately, we won’t continue to do them (Kimiecik, 2000). This is where physical exercise and mental health meet – the point at which we develop our internal drive and grow our mindset in such a way that exercise is second nature, just like eating healthy, getting enough high-quality sleep, and staying hydrated.
Physical fitness is deeply interconnected with mental health and even engaging in a moderate amount of physical activity can lead to improved emotional states, quality of life, and positive habit formation
In order to achieve this positive mindset we must work to find positive meaning in what we do. If we can discover why exercise is personally meaningful to us then we are more likely to do it consistently under any condition (Kimiecik, 2000). Investing in online personal training is a great way to ensure we stick to our goals as well as have an online personal trainer who guides and motivates us to do so. Goal setting can become a part of this process as we use this mental skills training technique to challenge ourselves and get further out of our comfort zones. Setting SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound help to keep us motivated and flex our intrinsic exercise mental muscles. This is where Trainiac online personal trainers can help increase personal mastery! Our trainers co-collaborate with clients to customize SMART goals, create daily routines, and aid in increasing consistency in order to help grow and develop internal motivation for all clients. Finding meaning and increasing mastery are two elements that help us feel more connected to our workouts and as this connection grows over time, we find more enjoyment, challenge, and strength – both physically and mentally.
Inner synergy, what Kimiecik (2000) referred to as the integration of our physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs, helps link us to ourselves and each other. Inner synergy has the power to connect exercise to all other aspects of our lives and this powerful connection can lead us to more positive states of mind (Kimiecik, 2000). Having clear goals for each workout can increase motivation and promote this positive mindset. Utilizing tools like Trainiac, that provide a framework and accountability for our goals, keeps us connected to what we are doing and why we are doing it. Trainiac personal trainers also provide the balance we need to stay motivated and avoid boredom – which in turn increases our own intrinsic motivation to continue exercising on a regular basis. Looking inward, choosing a fully connected and positive focus, deciding to take action, and pursue the best version of ourselves – everyday – is a choice and our choices continually shape both the quality and consistency of our lives and how much joy we experience. Each day provides an opportunity to increase joyfulness and our health is a direct reflection of that joy. In choosing to consistently exercise and find personal meaning in that pursuit, we are choosing the best version of ourselves and sharing that with our community and the world around us!
Author: Melissa Aycock, MS, Trainiac Trainer
Amatriain-Fernandez, S., Gronwold, T., Murillo-Rodriguez, E. S., Machado, S., & Budde, H.
(2020). Benefits of physical activity and physical exercise in the time of pandemic.
American Psychological Association, 12(S1), S264-S266.
Association for Applied Sports Psychology. (n.d.). Psychological benefits of exercise.
Kimiecik, J. (2000). Learn to love exercise. Psychology Today.