Katelyn Sander

Motivated by Mental Health

Living Well...together, while apart

The pandemic has changed the physical activity landscape in many ways. We’ve shifted the WHERE, WHEN, and HOW we exercise in spades. And we’ve also shifted the WHY.   

Motivation to exercise is a dynamic variable. It differs greatly between individuals. And it’s dynamic within each of us. With life events creating changes in the reasons why being active is important to us.

Turns out COVID – for many Canadians – has increased our awareness of the mental health benefits of physical activity. And those benefits in turn – decreased stress, anxiety, and depression – have become much more significant motivators. For some, these perks are now more important than any other benefit.

Adherence to physical activity has always been a challenge. Pre-COVID times, exercise dropout in Canadians remained a rampant problem. Comparing stats from 20 years ago to those from 2 years ago, we’re not making any progress on that front. We’re still dropping out far too soon and far too often.

But one thing we know about adherence to exercise is that what motivates you can have a huge impact on whether or not you stick with it. And motivations to exercise for reasons including better muscle tone, changes in body composition, and weight loss are associated with poor adherence when compared with motivation to exercise for mental health benefits.

Specifically, people who exercise because it makes them feel better, to reduce stress, increase feelings of happiness and fulfillment are far more likely to continue to exercise over the long term compared to those who are motivated by more aesthetic goals.

So fabulous members: Please continue to embrace those mental health benefits. They are immediately tangible (you feel better both during and right afterwards!) which is part of what makes them so powerful. And we know there are long term benefits that soar well past the immediate boosts: Exercise creates changes in the brain facilitating natural, sustainable increases in serotonin and dopamine, and creating new brain cells facilitating better focus, concentration, and memory.

The challenge (It wouldn’t be any fun if there wasn’t a challenge too, right?!): Mental health has declined over the past year and a half. When we are feeling blue or overwhelmed it is far more difficult to motivate to exercise. And knowing it will help us overcome the very things that are holding us back is often not enough. So, here’s a few simple, powerful ideas:

  • Make it habitual. Find a window in your day that works on a regular basis. Schedule it in, and keep it a priority.
  • Embrace the short and sweet. Benefits – especially mental health ones! – can be realized within minutes of getting your heart rate and up and moving. You only have 7 minutes? Great. Do it.
  • Avoid black and white thinking. Avoid any kind of why bother thinking. If you’re feeling sore and tired switch your workout to mobility or stretching. As with above, if you’re tight on time, remember everything counts! Your body cares more that you did something far more than it cares what you did or how long you moved. (This is part of making it habitual too!)

  • Get outside. Mental health benefits may be more powerful when you’re in the great outdoors.
  • Find a friend. People who commit to exercising with someone are far less likely to cancel!

My personal favourite? When I feel overwhelmed by the work load on my desk and long list of responsibilities that need to be my top priorities – I remember that a workout makes me more energized, focused, and productive. So rather than “too busy to workout” I realize I can’t afford not to!



Today’s Inspiration

"Many people skip the workout at the very time it has the greatest payoff. That prevents you from noticing just how much better you feel when you exercise.  Failing to exercise when you feel bad is like explicitly not taking an aspirin when your head hurts. That's the time you get the payoff." – Dr. Michael Otto, PhD

Today’s Live Workouts

Happy Monday! Ready to get moving to start your week off right? We’ve got TWO classes on the schedule for today!


Join Robert S today for a Total Body Conditioning workout! Challenge your cardio and strengthen your muscles from head to toe with this incredibly effective no-nonsense bodyweight training.

No equipment needed today.

Join Robert at 12:00pm (30 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 864 5295 2847
Password: 991724


Join Robert Y today for our new Yoga Fusion workout! A combination of hatha, ashtanga, and kudalini yoga techniques. This class will engage your muscles, open your joints, calm your mind, and lift your spirits. (All levels)

No equipment needed today.

Join Robert at 5:15pm (45 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 899 4248 0739
Password: 624126


Click here to view our weekly schedule.

If you have questions about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren.

Today’s Trainer Moves

Nothing quite like a hybrid workout outside to boost heart rate and mood!  You might recall this effective workout from a few months ago which challenges the muscles and cardiorespiratory system in less than 30 minutes:

For questions about today’s Trainer Moves, you can connect directly with Meg here.

Today’s Bite

Fresh Mango Salsa

This sweet, spicy, and colourful mango salsa is easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious. It pairs perfectly with salmon, fish tacos, chicken, and, of course, dipping with chips! Recipe from Cookie and Kate.

Download the full recipe here.

For more recipes like this, check out our Spice of Life Recipe Book.

  • 3 ripe mangos, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 large lime, juiced (about 1/4 cup lime juice)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt, to taste
  • Avocado, optional for creaminess
  • In a serving bowl, combine the prepared mango, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño. Drizzle with the juice of one lime.
  • Using a large spoon, stir the ingredients together. Season to taste with salt, and stir again. For best flavour, let the salsa rest for 10 minutes or longer.


Do you have a “Something of the Day” you’d like us to share?! Email Meg.

Previous Article Celebrating, Fresh Summer Produce
Next Article Why Growth Hormone Benefits YOU