I raised the white flag.
I love summer. So does Ava. That’s one of the reasons we moved 500 miles farther south. We extended summer and shortened winter. And, then last August happened.
I experienced a relentless combination of heat and humidity that I wasn’t used too. I thought my “summer muscles” were pretty strong. I was wrong.
By mid-August, I found myself losing motivation and wishing cooler, less humid, air would soon arrive. I actually said to my wife, “I’m ready for summer to be over.”
I have a new appreciation why others slow down when the weather heats up. In other words, I now understand how summer can beat the snot out of your fitness motivation. Mine sure took a beating.
And, therein lies the challenge with relying on motivation for fitness. It’s so fickle. One day it feels indestructible and the next it’s gone. Gratefully, I kept moving last August even though I didn’t feel like it.
You can too.
First, let’s acknowledge that heat related illness is very real and potentially very dangerous. The recommendations by experts aren’t to be taken lightly.
- Avoid the hottest part of the day. Going for an early morning walk in the summer can sometimes even feel refreshing. Of course, if you’re not an early morning person this advice comes with an extra challenge.
- Wear loose and light fitting clothing. A shirt that wicks away sweat and shorts made with a lighter fabric is far more comfortable than a cotton t-shirt and heavier cargo shorts. I’m learning this one first hand.
- Stay hydrated. I’m also learning how to be more intentional and proactive about drinking water. It’s not easy, but I’m moving in the right direction from the days when I considered a can of soda proper summer hydration.
- Seek shade. I recently had a listener to the podcast tell me she is making a shade map of her neighborhood so she can keep walking outside. That just feels super smart. Where we live, the difference between full sun and shade is staggering.
- Take it easy. I think this was part of the problem last summer. I didn’t adjust my outdoor activity and paid the price. This year, I’m pacing myself a bit better.
I think there’s another factor that can steal your motivation as summer wears on. Let’s be honest, some us pursue fitness because it can help us look better. And, summer fashion usually puts a higher premium on that.
The challenge, of course, is that exercise rarely provides instant transformation. It takes way longer than we expect or hope for. And, it can start to feel like the “window of opportunity” is closing. In other words…by the time those extra pounds are gone we won’t even be wearing the bathing suit and shorts. So…why bother?
If you’re feeling little to no motivation for fitness now that summer is here, why not try a different approach. One that doesn’t require motivation.
Let’s assume we agree that the benefits of fitness are worth pursuing. It’s an investment in our physical and mental health. If you didn’t believe that you wouldn’t be reading this blog. I’m just not that entertaining on my own.
Instead of waiting for fickle motivation to compel you to go for a walk, let’s make a simple promise to do it anyway…regardless of how you feel.
I promise myself to go for a ten-minute walk every day.
As you keep this promise, your fitness capacity begins to grow and so will your desire to move even more. And, on those days it feels like a struggle, the promise won’t feel like a mountain you have to climb. It’s a ten-minute walk…not a one-hour run.
My podcast, Walking is Fitness, can be used as your companion. I’m there every day, walking for ten-minutes, and you’re invited to join me. To be clear…the podcast is recorded as I’m walking so we’re doing this together.
If you’ve lost your fitness motivation, this simple promise to walk every day for ten-minutes can help you restart. As you keep this promise your fitness momentum will gradually increase. And, once the cooler temperatures of autumn arrive, along with the gorgeous, scenery, you’ll have the fitness wind at your back.
And, that will feel really motivating.