What’s your motivation?

Summer 2012 and the Olympic Games came to a rocking close last month, and the Paralympics still have a few more days to celebrate sport in all its forms. Olympic competitors had a chance to celebrate and enjoy the sounds of British pop music, Spice Girls and all. Competition drives some athletes to excel, but sends some kids running from the playing field. How do we balance healthy competition with health habits for life?

My morning commute also made me think on this subject, as a fellow cyclist blew past me up a hill. I had to push myself a little harder to catch up in time for the next cyclist controlled light – my motivation was to catch up or miss the light. But was my motivation all external or a little internal as well? Maybe both, but the studies show that motivation has to be internal and the activity enjoyable to keep us participating.

My thoughts are echoed by a great blog from Marc Faktor, one of the Healthy Families BC regular bloggers – Athlete or Not, Be inspired by the Olympic Games! And I think he had some great points about using the Olympics as a jumping off point to introduce ourselves and our kids to games we haven’t played recently. Get out the badminton rackets, kick around the soccer ball, set up a backyard long jump, there’s lots of fun to be had, and if kids have fun being physically active, the motivation becomes more internalized.

Another great tip was to involve friends to increase the fun in playing games, especially if you can involve friends with skills to share. I have had several large family get-togethers in the last month, but the most fun one involved street hockey in our back lane with a mix of ages and skill levels. It wasn’t just about food, but sharing in an activity, and I think often we forget how much fun that can be. Not to mention my sister-in-law has a great wrist shot!

Sports Day in Canada is also a great way to get involved with events happening throughout the end of September. Check out their events listings to see what’s happening in your area.

If you want to see Olympic athletes just having a little fun of their own, check out the Team Great Britain lip-dub to Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and let it inspire you to get moving!

Samantha Hartley-Folz
Manager, Policy and Programs
August 2012


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