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Staying motivated. To exercise. In winter.

This was the view through my glasses the other night.

I was doing my after dinner walk. In the rain. By myself. The only other people out were people walking their dogs... I got some strange looks.

Before you go and congratulate me for my commitment or resent me for it, let me tell you something, I am a fair weather walker. I prefer walking, or any form of exercise, on warm sunny days. This time of year, outdoor exercise is cold, wet, miserable and gives me a headache.

So why am I doing it?

Because I know that this year due to Covid and quarantine it is even more important to keep fit. Exercise not only keeps your heart, joints and psychology healthy, it also boosts your immune system and helps reduce the effects of stress. And trust me, we all have a LOT of stress.

My family members and I committed to being more active, OUTDOORS, despite the weather. I am trying to set a good example. Sometimes it sucks being a doctor...

What is my motivation?

I am motivated by age.

Some of you know I have a 3 year old daughter, Arria. She has been a light for us. When surrounded by 16 year old and 14 year old teenage angst, toddlers are like a magic happiness machine.

And for me, a reason to be in the best health possible. My goal is to be around to run, jump, ski, surf and swim with her until she is too embarrassed to do it with her dad.

Can anything help with my motivation?

The SCIENCE (skip if you don't geek out on stuff like this)

A 2019 study in the journal JCI, showed that when mice had stimulation of a receptor in their brain, called the EndoCannabinnoid System (ECS), they were more motivated to run; there are two receptors, CB1 and CB2. It seems the CB1 receptor was the one that supported greater motivation to exercise. Yes!

  • Hemp oil has been shown to stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS. link

  • Echinacea also has been shown to stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptor, although CB2 to a greater extent which is associated with immune function and mood. link

The good news is there may be a simple supplement that can support you in improving your motivation. The bad news? You still have to do it. haha!

( I will provide a link for you to purchase either supplement at the end of the post).

The COACH approach

It's simple. Find YOUR why?

I told you mine. What is yours?

What we have found in clinical practice is that internal motivation is a much more powerful motivator than rewards or accolades or even $$ cash money.

Tip: place a reminder on your phone so it is the first thing you see every day. Mine is set at 7am daily with no end date. Iphone users can just say, "Hey Siri, remind me every day at 7am ...."

What does mine say?

"It's not about YOU." I see it every day and it reminds me what it's really all about.

How is it going?

So far, so good.

I walk every day, mostly, and average about 1.5-2.5 miles.

It's nice when my 14 year old daughter walks with me because we have a nice chat. And once I get her out, she actually enjoys it. So why do I have to "pull teeth" to get her to go? I wish I knew. If someone out there has some insight on the inner workings of a teenage daughter, please tell me because I feel like it will forever be one of life's great mysteries. Ugh.

What's next?

ut quondam vos adepto is sursum eum

Translation: "Once you get it up, keep it up"

Some of you know I have trained some form of martial art since I was 14, most recently aikido. I try to use the martial arts model in everything I do:

  • Invest in a foundation.

  • Gradually build over a long period of time.

  • The learning and growth never ends.

So, I hope you will all invest in some waterproof gear and brave the weather with me. Then we can all share horror stories of what we experienced and joke about all the strange looks we get from people who probably think anyone out in this weather, without a dog, is a lunatic.



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