Being physically active helps us stay healthy, leaner, and helps our mental state.
Being physically active helps us stay healthy, leaner, and helps our mental state. We are familiar with the common reasons we don’t do it (too busy, too tired, too boring, etc.). Although this is what we tell ourselves, the real reasons are often more complicated than that. If you have no motivation whatsoever, start with little steps: take your dog for a walk, take your kids to the park or play with them outside. Get out in the garden or sign up for a recreational team sport or walking/hiking group. Take the stairs more, park further away from the store or from your workplace. Those are just a few ways of adding in more daily activity. Once you start moving you feel better and adding more substantial workouts feels like more of an option.
If you are struggling to find the motivation to workout you may have some deeper barriers. See if any of these resonate with you.
Structured exercise is something you have never had to do, so it’s easier to plunk it at the end of the list. Maybe it seems like just one more thing to add to your “to do list”. That’s a mindset that can be switched.
The world today doesn’t require much movement, so maybe being sedentary has simply become part of your lifestyle. If this describes you, try little hacks to increase your daily activity throughout the day. Get up and stretch, go get a glass of water down the hall, walk over to chat instead of calling or texting.
Maybe you consider exercise a LUXURY and not a NECESSITY. What is good health, quality of life, weight management and mental health really worth to you? Sit down and really think about that. Think about it before it’s no longer an option.
Maybe you think it’s easier to take a pill, a gadget or plastic/laser surgery…but those things don’t get you the health benefits of exercise. We are human, we all want the EASY way, but those are aesthetic short cuts, they will help you feel better temporarily about what you look like. That can be important too, but there are very few actual health and wellness benefits. How do you want to age?
Maybe you view exercise as something HARD or difficult. If you have seen people struggling to make it through their workouts and you don’t think you can do it yourself. Get some guidance so you can start at the level you are at. It will improve. If you have never worked out, there are certified personal trainers that would love to help design a program for you. Start there.
Maybe you think exercise is BORING, negative, pointless, repetitious, etc. that’s not likely to inspire anyone. Find what works for you. There are so many options, try them all until you find what you like.
There is no immediate negative consequence for not exercising. The benefits happen over time. For a lot of things in life there is an immediate consequence if we don’t do what we are supposed to do. For example, if we don’t turn at the bend we will end up in the ditch, so we turn. With exercise if you don’t do it, usually nothing happens right away. Know the long term consequences of not exercising (weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, cancer, muscle loss, osteoporosis…). Don’t wait for those things to happen, start now, and know you are working towards long term health and wellness, we absolutely have the power to age better.
Exercise is all about moving the BODY, but the first step is to move your MIND. Getting past your mental roadblocks can open the door for new attitudes and renewed motivation to workout. Acknowledge where you are at now as well as your responsibility to keep things in BALANCE. This brings you once step closer to changing how you live.
Exercise is a MUST. If you want to get healthy, exercise is non-negotiable, make it mandatory, not a choice you can skip. It doesn’t have to be in the gym, it can be outside, at home, wherever works for you. It doesn’t have to be all at once either, several mini-sessions add up, and are just as beneficial.
Think about what exercise and health mean to you. We often have long term goals like losing weight, getting more toned, preventing disease, but most people need something now, something more immediate. Maybe that is stress reduction, maybe it is to increase your energy, or maybe exercise is the only time you get to yourself each day. Find your own value and meaning and you will have a lot more motivation to stick with it.
Do what feels BEST. When it comes to exercise it’s important to find your own path. You have the freedom to exercise outside, in a big gym, in a small studio, at home, virtually…and all exercise is good exercise. Try thinking outside of the box, try boxing, hiking, mountain biking, dancing, spin class, circuit class…and find what works for you.
You don’t have to turn your life upside down, start with little steps at home to live a healthier life. Take more short walks throughout the day. Maybe you track your steps on your phone or on your watch, make it a game with co-workers or your spouse or your kids. Add some laps the next time you shop at the mall. Once you are ready, add more focused exercise sessions in that increase your heart rate, add strength and stability and start building some muscle.
It isn’t always easy to get and stay motivated to exercise, but once we figure out what is stopping us and how to overcome it, it becomes easier to make working out a HABIT. Pick the right activity and you may even look forward to it!