As yellow school buses roll down our neighborhood streets and crisp puffs of fall air announce that school is back in session, elementary school kids gleefully abandon their parents for days of learning, recess, lunch lines, and more learning. Lessons can be learned from kids bearing backpacks like Nepalese sherpas.
Building a regular exercise habit is great. Mindless diligence to it however, could benefit from a bit of added intellectual engagement time and again. Precocious curiosity drives the elementary school student to the classroom. Exercise curiosity can fuel added energy, commitment, and enjoyment in the gym. Good feelings are powerful motivators and so is learning.
Striving to learn something new can engage the reluctant exerciser. Looking to learning will improve the quality and maximize the benefits to the consistent fitness buff. Being purposefully curious about technique, training, and tactics will help the athlete at the top of the game to be patient while awaiting the slender performance gains that only come with time. Learning is about motivation and maximum performance.
A curious approach to fitness could be as grand as trying out a whole new sporting activity or as simple as appreciating the nuances of daily exercise behaviors. For example the yogaphyte may consciously choose to spend the upcoming weeks holding a particular pose with added precision. The tennis player, inspired by the US Open, may choose to play around with adding a bit more spin on groundstrokes. Or the cyclist will choose to attack sections of a well known route with a bit more aggression. Such things will lead to seeing athletics with a fresh perspective and lead to additional enjoyment. Just like a child races wide eyed onto the school bus, choose to skip curiously towards exercise.
Your homework: Pick one thing about your exercise that you will choose to know a bit better and to do a bit better in one month’s time. When the leaves have begun to turn and the next long weekend, Columbus Day, rolls around, what is a tad bit different about your time at play?
Dr. Adam Naylor leads Telos Sport Psychology Consulting and is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Boston University’s School of Education. He has a decade and a half of experiences working with professional through amateur athletes – of note: US Open competitors, NCAA champions, Olympians, Stanley Cup winners, and UFC martial artists. Beyond sports, over the past five years he has served as a corporate performance and wellness consultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ahnaylor.