A study from Iowa State University found that those with negative school gym memories were less likely to exercise as adults, while those who looked back fondly on childhood gym class were more likely to stay fit years later.
While you can’t rewrite your history, you can reset your fitness attitude. Here are some tips:
• Change your definition of exercise
You might think exercise means being on the treadmill for a certain period, but those kinds of assumptions can be a barrier. Exercise is just moving your body. Consider the full spectrum of activities that can get you moving, whether it’s dancing to music in your living room or doing tai chi in the park.
• Revise your mental script
Research shows that a growth mind-set — which recognizes that improvement is possible, even when you’re struggling to learn something new — is more beneficial than a fixed mind-set, which focuses on whether you’re naturally "good" at something. Instead of focusing on the past, congratulate yourself for recommitting yourself to a healthier lifestyle and acknowledge your progress. Try to focus on how good your body feels instead of dwelling on negative thoughts.
• Focus on movement over exercise
The goal is movement and getting more active. It could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away at the grocery store or taking a 5-minute dance break. Moving really gets us out of our heads and into our body.
• Begin to change your memories of exercise
Remember how you felt after your last workout. Holding on to the sense of accomplishment and progress may be just the thing you need to overcome inertia.