Quantcast
Interstitial_nl_body_fitness

Fall in Love With Fitness

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Find out how you can get in “the zone” with sweat sessions you actually enjoy.

| April 11th, 2012
Shutterstock
Fall in Love With Fitness

Most people equate exercise with words like “chore,” “boring” and “necessary evil.” But sometimes—in yoga class, on a nature walk or during a dance lesson—it’s as if the stars align and those negative perceptions melt away. Rather than dreading working out, you begin to associate sweat with a sense of purpose, something that drives you towards your goals and makes you feel invincible.

“Athletes call this ‘getting in the zone,’ which is really just their version of psychological flow,” explains Harvard psychologist Jeffrey Brown, author of The Competitive Edge: How to Win Every Time You Compete.

Brown says that just about any kind of exercise can put you into a flow state as long as it meets three criteria: First, your fitness activity needs to have a clear objective. For example, you’re less likely to get in the zone by slogging on a treadmill to lose an unspecified number of pounds than you would following a running program designed to help you beat your personal best 5K time.

COLUMN: Find Flow In Other Areas Of Your Life

Second, the workout should get you to rise to a challenge without sending you over the edge. Focus and attention—the essential psychological ingredients of flow state—kick in during activities in which you strive towards an accomplishment you view as both worthwhile and achievable.

Finally, it’s important to stay in the moment. Tuning into what you’re doing enables you to tune out everything else. With cardio-type workouts, the rhythm of your breathing, the sound of your footfalls and other physical feedback can help you stay focused on the subtleties of your workout and achieve a state of flow.

Activities best suited to your personality are the likeliest to induce flow, notes Brown. Also, the fitter and more seasoned you become, the easier it is to switch into that blissful, effortless autopilot.

Check out these six activities, which help some of our readers find their flow. One of them may inspire you to find yours.

 

Smart is sexy - get our newsletter:

Comments on this Article (0) | Leave a Comment

Loading…
Let's hang out
Nl-signup-fitness
CONTACT US