Motivation. Defined by Webster as providing us with a reason to act in a certain way; inducement or incentive. What motivates us in life is a fascinating concept. Why do some feel so committed to action while others do not? Or further, why at one point in our lives, with the same life choices, are we motivated to act- and at other times not?
Applied to health and activity choices, the concept of motivation intrigues me. It is a challenge I deal with daily as a Physical Therapist, and have for the last 18 years that I have practiced. How do I motivate the unmotivated? How do I convince the couch potato to commit 5 minutes daily to do his exercise program? The gamer to put down the controller for 5 minutes to get up and move? Or on the other end of the spectrum, how do I convince the Type A+ personality to slow things down; that it’s not a good idea to run a marathon monthly?
What drives my patients to act or to not? This is a deep and complex psycho-social issue that I will defer mostly to my more psychologically focused colleagues. But I feel compelled to discuss it in my opening post about aging wisely from a Physical Therapist’s perspective. I promise to keep future posts focused on the physical realm, but I think the concept of what motivates us is paramount to any discussion about taking care of our physical health.
Usually my main challenge is to bring the super-motivated back to a sensible pace so they allow their bodies to heal. And on the other end of spectrum, trying to figure out how to motivate the unmotivated to move, so their bodies can be challenged physically and simulated to heal.
I encourage you to reflect on your motivation(s) in life. How do they affect your physical health choices?
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