Why you should keep training even when you’re goal-less

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Over here in Holland, we’ve just gone into our most strict lockdown yet. One of my long-time athletes in Canada is facing a 50% chance that all his in-season races will be cancelled. Many of the dancers I work with around the world are unable to perform at the moment. And many of my rehab clients and personal training clients are facing disruptions to their routines with gyms opening, closing, re-opening, re-closing… and so on. 

Most of my favourite goals centre around walking, running, or climbing up high things.

I know it’s a tough time, especially if you’ve got specific goals you’re trying to reach. A Nordic skiier I work with was aiming for a 160km race this Winter that looks almost sure to be cancelled. A triathlete I work with has had all his races cancelled.

What I’ve been thinking about in relation to all this is how we can stay motivated to keep training even if 

  • There’s no race coming up
  • You’re not getting back on a stage for a while
  • Your gym schedule is out of whack
  • You can’t train with friends in person right now.

I think something that can help us is reexamining why exercise is valuable in and of itself.

Yes… Even when there’s a pandemic!

I firmly believe that showing up to train on your worst days means you’ll always be there on the best days.

I want to remind you of some of the endless benefits of exercise training, even when it feels rough. I think even when we’re not training for anything in particular, these should be pretty strong reasons for us to keep filling out our training logs.

Regular Exercise has been proven to:

  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce feelings of anxiety
  • Improve sexual function (this got everyone so excited about that vegan documentary on Netflix last year, so maybe it’s the key to getting excited about exercise!)
  • Reduce the risk of Type II diabetes
  • Improve learning
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Reduce blood sugar levels and help insulin work better
  • Reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome
  • Increase bone density (super important for post-menopausal women who are at greater risk of osteoporosis)
  • Reduce your risk of depression and anxiety
  • Reduce the risk of at least 8 different kinds of cancers (bladder, breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, kidney, lung, and stomach cancer)
  • Reduce the risk of falls and lower the risk of hip fractures in the elderly
  • Help reduce pain and improve function in arthritis and other rheumatic conditions
  • Reduce your risk of death from any cause (people who are physically active for about 150 minutes a week have a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who are physically inactive. Benefits start to be seen to reducing this risk of death with any amount of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week. So if you’re nowhere near 150 minutes right now, don’t panic. Some exercise is always better than none).

So even if you’re feeling a little aimless right now… Keep going.

And if you want to know how to tweak or redirect your goals so you feel less aimless? Keep an eye on my blog for what I’m sharing next week.

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