Motivation to Exercise

Many people find it difficult to get started with exercise and even more challenging to continue a regular exercise program. If this sounds like you, you are not alone!  Research has shown that of those who start an exercise program, only about one-third continue it beyond three months.  To increase your chances of success, it is important to think about the things that may help motivate you to start and continue exercising.

Following are 10 tips that may help:

  • Set yourself realistic short term and long term goals write them down and put them somewhere you will see them each day. Planning a reward for when you reach the goal can also help.
  • Understand the benefits that exercise will provide – write a list of all the benefits of regular exercise, including how you will feel if you are fitter and stronger. There are plenty of them to choose from!
  • Start slowly and gradually increase what you do as it gets easier. Don’t feel you need to start doing an hour of high intensity exercise each day when you haven’t been doing anything! The main aim to start with is to build a regular routine, even if it is only a short walk around the block. Once you have a routine you can build on the duration and intensity.
  • Include a variety of activities that you find enjoyable and fun – you are more likely to stick to an exercise program that includes things you enjoy – there are plenty of options including bushwalking, a dance class, a hit of tennis with your partner or a walk to the park with the kids or grandkids
  • Choose times and locations for exercise that are convenient – if fitting it into your schedule or getting there is difficult this will provide an easy excuse when you are not feeling like exercising. Make it as easy as possible.
  • Make sure your exercise program is flexible and fits in with your lifestyle – as above, find ways to make it as easy as possible and build exercise into your life. This could mean parking your car further from the station or getting off the train and walking the rest of the way to work, going out for a walk at lunchtime, using an exercise DVD or treadmill at home when the kids are sleeping or planning active outings with the kids on the weekends.
  • Monitor and reward your progress – rewards are a great incentive to encourage you to put your exercise plan into action. Monitoring your food intake and exercise habits has also been shown to increase success when it comes to losing weight.
  • Exercise with others – make a commitment to them. You will be less likely to hit ‘snooze’ and stay in bed in the mornings if you know you have a walking partner standing at the corner of your street waiting!
  • Think of exercise as an investment of your time (and a good one at that!) rather than something that takes time. And consider that exercising for ½ hour each day only represents 2% of the total number of hours in your week.
  • Plan for exercise – make it a priority and put it in your diary – if you leave it to do once everything else is done, chances are you will never get there!
Image source:, photo by tiramisustudio

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