We tend to think about exercise as physical and mainly pertaining to our body. When taking yoga or other mind-body types of exercise there is a connection between the mind and the body, but there is a spirituality involved that sometimes doesn’t appeal to people.
I think we need to look for another mind-body connection. Exercise is clearly good for the mind; it’s proven to increase self-esteem, reduce stress, and lower anxiety. There is no doubt a connection between the body and the mind. You’re body’s chemistry effects your mind, but it works the other way too.
Not everyone likes to exercise and even if you do enjoy fitness sometimes you need to convince yourself to get up or head out after work and do it. That is a mind game, which can take willpower. Sometimes an exercise burns the muscle (not in a bad way, but in a way that is working); it is your mind that has to convince your body to keep going. When you give up, that comes from the mind.
Notice the difference between bad pain and good pain. When you feel good pain tell yourself you like it–trick your mind into starting to believe that sensation is a good thing. Smile for a challenging exercise. Tell yourself the burn is great because it proves you’re working, or because your muscle is saying thank you for focusing on it, or look at it as a sign of strength–not weakness, or actually consider how it is up to your mind to keep going. It’s not like blinking your eyes, if you’re mind doesn’t tell your body to lift that leg for one more hydrant, your body won’t do it all by itself. Exercise, specifically Pilates, puts you in control of your body. That is another positive aspect.
Every morning or night when you convince yourself to complete the workout you may not be in the mood for, realize that you are completely in control. With that control try to make the best choice for your mind and your body. If you push yourself to a class or the gym, not only will you have had an intense workout, but you’ll feel better about yourself for having gone. It’s really a win win. All we have to do is convince the mind.