• lynneeveratt

Adele has a workout plan for you!

“Let’s go to the question everybody wants to know…this whole weight thing,” said Oprah as she launched into a discussion of Adele’s dramatic weight loss. What followed was a discussion, not about a singer who woke up one morning and decided that she wanted to squeeze into the music industry’s skin-tight image of feminine beauty, but a woman who used physical fitness to become mentally stronger. This week’s 5-Minute Recharge is an exploration of Adele’s experience as an example of how physical training can transform your mental health in remarkable ways. So why did Adele lose weight if it wasn’t about fitting in? Adele's weight loss was never her goal. It was a by-product of her attempt to deal with “terrifying anxiety attacks” after the breakup of her marriage. She decided that the best approach for dealing with her anxiety would be to go to the gym and work with a trainer. How does going to the gym help with anxiety? For Adele, the gym filled a void at a time when her life lacked structure and purpose. “It became my time, me having a plan when I had no plans and no idea what the day would bring,” she told Oprah. Is that it? Working out gives your day structure? That’s part of it, but not the entire story. Adele goes on to say that working out gave her discipline. Finding an activity that you enjoy and that challenges you physically will generate results if you can stick with it. Discipline is relatively easy to maintain when you find the right physical activity and a compelling reason for moving your body, a reason such as easing post-divorce anxiety. When you discover the right formula, how does working out ease anxiety? When you exert yourself, you experience your heart racing and a loss of breath, the hallmarks of panic. To repeatedly feel these physical sensations without letting them mentally overwhelm you is a form of exposure therapy that makes it easier to handle these feelings when they sneak up on you outside the gym. Plus, when you work out, your body rewards you with a cascade of feel-good chemicals that ease anxiety (and depression and excess stress). Adele said, “I’m an athlete!” What’s with that? When Adele told Oprah that she's an athlete, she revealed the secret to her transformation. According to Atomic Habits author James Clear, the key to building lasting habits is creating a new identity. Adele created the identity of athlete and linked it to her past history as an athletic child. In this sense, she feels she is reconnecting with an essential part of who she believes she truly is. If you want to make physical fitness a lasting part of your life, you need to start thinking of yourself as an athlete and proving it to yourself every day with small wins. Adele can deadlift 170 pounds. That sounds like a big win to me. By the way, what is a deadlift? For some reason I'm picturing a muscular Bulgarian. Deadlifting 170 pounds is a big win! Recall that Adele said she began with 10 pounds. It took hundreds, perhaps even thousands of small wins for Adele to deadlift 170 pounds, and by the time she got there she was hooked: “My favorite place is to be lifting weights…I love it…love it!” - Adele A deadlift is when you lift a barbell off the floor and stand up so the barbell is level with your hips. A Bulgarian deadlift is a deadlift on one leg with the top of the foot of the other leg resting on a bench for balance. We don't know if Adele has tried a Bulgarian deadlift, but if she did, she'd definitely be rolling in the deep end of weightlifting. Is there anything else I should know about physical activity and mental fitness? Adele was already a superstar in her field, so she didn’t need to work out to convince herself that she is capable of accomplishing great things. For the rest of us, physical activity can be a catalyst for change in other areas of our lives. If you can make your body stronger in ways that you can measure and see, what other positive changes are you capable of? The world needs more of this kind of confidence. Adele's workout plan is to tell yourself that you’re an athlete, and then ask yourself, what kind of athlete do you want to be? I want to be an athletic pickleball player! Go for it! It doesn't matter what kind of athlete you are, as long as you enjoy it enough to keep moving. _____ Our Recharge Quote of the Week comes from Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins who loves to run and recently set a world record in the 100 meters. At age 105! “My message to others is to stay active if you want to be healthy and happy as you age.” - Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins _____

  • Find out about how physical activity is a little bit of Ritalin (for focus) a little bit of Prozac (an antidepressant) and a shot of Miracle-Gro (fertilizer for new brain cells) in Dr. John Ratey’s classic, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Here’s a nice YouTube summary of the book.

  • Explore the role identity plays in forming lasting habits in this article from James Clear.

  • Explore Bulgarian deadlifts and discover why The Economist has declared pickleball the fastest-growing sport in America.

  • Further to last week’s 5-Minute Recharge on the value of exploring the WHY of your emotions, Eric Barker's blog post “How to be Resilient: 4 Steps to Happiness when Life Gets Hard,” explains why you’re angry.

_____ Wishing you the best with this final tip from Adele: “I have insecurities of course, but I don’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.” Lynne

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