After a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, running took an important place in Nathalie Bisson’s life. First of all to thumb his nose at the illness that threatened his mobility, and then to surpass himself. But she quickly got caught in “hyperperformance,” a period that took her straight into the wall. “When I stopped, it was because my body had shut down,” she relates.

She had to make a choice: stop or slow down. So she decided to listen to her body and get back to the basics of running, without a strict training plan or watch. “We spend our lives being identified by a number,” she says. But knowing that we can define ourselves without a time or a distance is a struggle in this society. » Nathalie, who founded the movement (and wrote the book) The Peace of Happiness, wants people to reconnect with their feelings and take full advantage of the time they have to move.

Measuring our physical activity is motivating. “Measurement allows us to know if we have progressed. It’s a form of reward and it’s rewarding,” explains sports psychologist Bruno Ouellette.

With a goal of completing a triathlon or half marathon, the data can be useful in training.

Nathalie Bisson, who ran the New York marathon in November, kept her approach to the challenge. This allowed her to adapt to her body, and also to her “crazy, mom and professional” life. However, she emphasizes that the training required should not be underestimated, even without a watch.

Renaud Gauthier – who has been running for almost 20 years – recognizes himself in Nathalie Bisson’s journey. “I bought a watch to improve myself and I fell for it. I had the big fault of comparing myself to others, he says. It could be a 10k workout, and I was like, “Ah, I wasn’t as fast as the day before yesterday.” I wasn’t handling it all well and… the injuries appeared. »

Another phenomenon that weighs is the sharing of one’s physical activity. Social networks and specialized applications like Strava allow everyone to share their morning swim or their weekend bike ride. You can find a community there, but “from the perspective that we compare ourselves a lot to others”, it “can be motivating, but also exhausting”, believes Bruno Ouellette. It can play on “our perceptions of ourselves and our performances”.

Chloé Rochette, founder of Happy Fitness, denounces the possible abuses of this type of publication. Even for some athletes, if the activity is not measured and published on a social network, “it doesn’t really count,” she says.

She believes the focus needs to be somewhere other than data. “Now, I try to be very aware of the impact that my sharing can have on people,” explains the woman who founded her company to bring a philosophy of play and pleasure to physical activity.

Nathalie Bisson has found the tone that fits her mission: she now writes on her Facebook page to share her joy after moving. “I rely on euphoria when I write posts, like saying that I came back so exhilarated from the race,” she emphasizes.

And she tries to choose the right words. After finishing last in a marathon, Nathalie wrote that she was proud to be the one who had run… the longest. The same goes for Renaud Gauthier, who indicates neither time nor distance, but rather publishes his thoughts or beautiful photos of the landscapes he encounters.

We must prioritize intrinsic motivations, recommends Chloé Rochette, rather than extrinsic ones. An example of intrinsic motivation? “Move to do yourself good, have a good time, go play outside, to be with your friends,” she lists. And extrinsic? “To put your photo on Instagram at all costs or do a workout to achieve your times. »

Renaud Gauthier found his motivation in maintaining his health “I don’t train anymore. I take time for myself, he adds. It’s to unwind from work or to start the day off right. »

Chloé Rochette fears these negative effects. The figures, “it can reduce the pleasure we get from physical activity, then it can traumatize people or create an aversion to movement”.

So she urges people to try moving without a watch or app, which may be “uncomfortable” at first, but beneficial in the long run. “We are so lucky as adults to have periods of movement. To let loose, to socialize, to think, to do yourself good,” summarizes Chloé Rochette. So, do we treat ourselves to a session of physical activity without calculating anything?