Guest Post: Motivation to Exercise – How to Find It

Motivation to Exercise – How to Find It

If you are anything like me, you know that you should exercise more. It’s not that you are completely out of shape, but you’d like to live a more active lifestyle. Maybe one day you get really motivated and you buy new running shoes, a gym membership, or a home exercise video; yet, as time progresses, you slowly lose interest. This happens to me all the time! We all know that we should workout and that we should be more active, but why do we lose that motivation over time?

Like everything in life, there isn’t just one answer to this question; things are completely dependent on your circumstances and your personal feelings about this topic. Since I can’t answer it for each of you, I’ll just give you a few reasons why I lose motivation and then we’ll talk about some ways to overcome these obstacles.

We are afraid of looking like morons.

I want to exercise and I feel so good when I do it, but sometimes I am get a little apprehension about how I really look, while I’m working out and how that image may not represent how I feel or think I look. You’ve seen that viral image making the rounds on Pinterest and Facebook, right? You know the one with the beautiful runner effortlessly jogging through the park in one frame, and then the chubby kid trying to go as fast as she can?  Yeah, that sums up my fear of looking like a moron.  It’s hard to find the motivation to exercise when you are so worried about the way you look while doing it!

How to overcome this?

I’ll tell you a secret: people are so concerned about their own body image that they don’t really watch you! When doing cardio exercises, for example, everyone gets sweaty. Everyone gets kinda gross. It’s just a fact of life! If you focus on the benefits, such as muscle strength, that you will gain from the exercise more than your body image when you do it, then you won’t run into this barrier as much.

Workout with a Friend

I’ve also found it helpful to work out with a friend because then you can both look like morons together. It’s a lot easier to feel stupid
when you have someone to feel stupid with you! In addition to sharing the moment, it can be helpful to have someone that you are accountable to. Having a friend that expects you to be there will help you keep your goals. It’s important to have a support system.

We simply don’t have the time to work out.

You are reading this post and thinking “Well- with work, school, soccer games, dance classes, and trying to get dinner on the table for my family, my schedule is pretty packed. It’s not that I’m not motivated, it’s just that I can’t fit it in.” FALSE. This is a motivation problem! You can make time for the things that are important to you. We live fast-paced lives and I’m not saying that it will be easy to fit in, but if this is really important to you then you will make the effort to fit it in your schedule.

How to overcome this?

Don’t think of exercising as “working out.” Exercise can be defined as anything that gets you moving. It doesn’t always have to be focused on building muscle strength or improving your body image. You have to work anyway, so instead of hiring a personal trainer on your lunch break, why not take a bike instead of driving? You want to catch up with old friends anyway, why not go for a walk instead of out to lunch? You want to spend time with your kids anyway, why not play with them at the park instead of at home? There are so many ways to keep your body active while still going about your daily activities.

It’s also important to set aside the time. Take a minute to look at your daily schedule. It’s pretty packed, right? Now look for time in which you aren’t doing anything important. Maybe you wake up at 8 am when you really could wake up at 7. Maybe you don’t really need to spend as much time watching TV in the evenings. Look for the places that you could cut sedentary activities out and put energetic activities in. There is always room to shuffle your schedule around for other things, why not for exercise as well?

Exercising feels like a chore.

I absolutely dread going to the gym for aerobic exercise. The idea of going to a place where a bunch of people get sweaty and smelly together while worrying about their body image does not appeal to me. I was trying to go to the gym regularly for a while, but every day was a struggle. I would fight with myself and try to find a good reason not to go from the minute I changed into workout clothes to the minute I entered the gym doors. I hated it!

How to overcome this?

Sometimes we get the idea that “fitness” needs to be hard for us. We think that it needs to be something that we don’t want to do, but we want the results so we do it anyway. This is not the case! You’ve heard the saying “if you find something that you love, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life?” This applies to exercise as well. You don’t have to go to the gym and lift weights to get the perfect form. Find the exercise that you love, and then you will look forward to doing it. For me, this was going for a run in the mountains. It’s perfect because I can be by myself, I can soak in the nature around me, and I don’t have too much structure. Find something that you already love to do and then find a way to incorporate exercise into that activity.

These are just a few of the setbacks I’ve encountered. Like previously stated, there are many other reasons that we lose our motivation. The best advice that I can give you is to just find what you love and the rest will follow including your body image. Exercising doesn’t have to be a huge lifestyle change. Make the little changes in the routines that you already have and it will be 10 times easier to facilitate the big ones. I’m going to finish with a cliché for you: Every journey of 1000 miles starts with one step. Find a way to take that one step and soon you won’t think about including exercise into your life. It will slowly become a part of you.

 

Penelope writes regularly for firstmedicalproducts.com which sells a variety of TENS units and ultrasound therapy machines for use in treating athletic injuries.