Since setting up my online Weekly Workouts one of the most discussed issues is that people really want to do more exercise and a lot of them want to do it at home, but how do we motivate ourselves to actually do it? People say to me all the time, “I want to do your sessions; I feel great after I’ve done it but find it hard to motivate myself to get going.”
I totally understand this. There are so many other pulls on our time, so how do you justify spending 30/40 minutes doing a Strengthen & Stretch Workout when there is so much other ‘stuff’ to do! My answer is always, what is more important finding the time to look after your body and doing something fabulous for it, or, getting on with chores? I always find without fail, that after doing some sort of exercise I charge through those chores much more efficiently than I would have without it!
It is very important to ask yourself, why you are exercising or wanting to fit it into your day. Most of us do it because we feel the benefits and these are disseminated into our minds on a daily basis via various media outlets. We feel a bit guilty if we don’t do it; but also that it’s ok for fit people to tell us we should do more but they are already fit and don’t have to go through the pain barrier of getting started. Other people often say to me, “It’s ok for you, you like exercising.” I know this is true, but the reality at 7am when I’ve remembered it’s a run day or a workout day is very much different. I do not wake up and shout “Yippeee! It’s a run day!” But, once I get going and am out there or back eating breakfast, I feel really really good, and it is that feeling that makes me want to do it again.
In my opinion the most important factor is to do something you enjoy (or grow to enjoy). Your body is designed to be active; we were made to be hunter gatherers not couch potatoes and the more we move our body in a variety of ways the better. It is made up of moving parts that need to be kept moving or they will cease up; and need to be strengthened or they will inevitably weaken!
What is your goal/need? What will be your motivation to get going and continue with it? Exercise, like quitting smoking or biting your nails, needs to become a habit. The motivation gets you going and the habit keeps you going. Exercise for me is a habit and I feel better in so many ways for doing it.
When I brain stormed what motivators there are for exercise I came up with lots:
Want to feel fitter; excellent way to de-stress; health reasons; want to look more toned; be more flexible; weight loss; feel good factor; it is actually fun; hobby; family want you to; eat more cake and drink more wine; feel better after; you love doing it and the added health bonuses are great; you know you should; a good class or instructor; social media;
Lots of people want to exercise more and I see it as my job to help them adapt to and adopt a more active lifestyle and to stick with it.
You must however, set yourself realistic goals! As in all things if you set yourself an admirable yet totally undoable goal (and it may not be undoable physically but you just wont fit it into your day) there is more chance you will give up.
So, choose a physical activity, class or exercise programme that fits in with your life, set yourself some realistic goals and targets. Find something that motivates you enough to make yourself do it – begin to feel the benefits and then turn that motivation into a habit that becomes part of your day/week. Less than 50 per cent of new exercisers maintain their program in the first 6 months. Don’t let yourself be on the negative side of that statistic! Tackle the reasons why you might not be doing it; then set yourself a goal, create a habit and stick to it.