9 Secrets of Exercise Motivation
I am on a mission this spring to get everyone increasing their fitness levels and being more physical activity. With the warmer weather and brighter evenings on the way, now is the perfect time to choose a new form of exercise and really commit to it, getting fitter for summer. Last week I urged you all to take the fitness test which gives you a baseline guide to your current fitness levels. Don’t worry if you came out quite low – it just means you have a fantastic opportunity to make great progress over the coming months! I also asked you to think about how you could incorporate more exercise into your daily life. Hopefully you have started to identify changes you could make or new activities you could take up to become more active.This week I wanted to look at how we turn those good intentions into actions that carry on over the months. How do we stay motivated once we have made the decision to become fitter? Sweating it out on the treadmill or lifting weights in a gym is fine for the first few days of an exercise programme, but after that who can stay motivated with the same old boring routine? Not to mention, on the days that it’s rainy and grey outdoors, or when you’re just knackered, your fitness routine is the first thing to get chucked off your ‘to do’ list. What’s the trick to staying keen on exercise? What are the secrets of exercise motivation? Why not try these simple tips:
- Choose a workout you enjoy. Sweating it out in the gym is torture if you’d rather be working out outdoors or taking a one of my Zumba classes. Hopefully you find our classes enjoyable and if you would like to fit in another one then talk to me about some of the discounts I offer.
- Set realistic goals. Having clear objectives and a challenging, yet achievable goal—such as losing half a stone before holiday—will motivate you to get to the gym or take that afternoon walk on days when you just want to toss out your trainers. One way to encourage yourself to keep a fitness commitment is to sign a contract with yourself stating your goals.
- Reward yourself. There’s no better way to sustain your motivation to get fit than immediate gratification. So, when you reach the halfway point of your goal, treat yourself to something like a haircut, manicure or that new handbag you’ve had your eye on. Share your accomplishment with family and friends, as others’ acknowledgement of success will inspire you to further press on towards your goal.
- Be consistent about when you exercise. Choose to work out at the time of day when you tend to feel most energetic. If you’re a ‘morning person’, exercise when you wake up. If you’re on a consistent workout schedule, your body’s hormones adjust so that you train most efficiently—and with the least fatigue—at that particular time of day.
- Fit in fitness whenever possible. Did you know that six 5-minute spurts of exercise can be just as beneficial as one 30-minute workout? That means it’s fine if you can’t do your workout all in one go—just break up exercise throughout the day. Try getting off the bus one stop early, walk to the office or supermarket, take the stairs instead of the lift or stroll through the park at lunchtime.
- Take it one day at a time. The more gradually you take on an exercise plan, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. Your body will adjust better if you start slowly, and you’ll get stronger without injuring yourself. Avoid making too many lifestyle changes at once.
- Find an exercise partner or support group. Make two appointments per week to meet up with someone and exercise. If you have a friend relying on you to go to the gym or take a morning walk with her, you’ll be less likely to cancel. Write down your exercise class in your diary and commit to it as if they are business meetings.
- Vary your fitness activity. Cross-training is the key to a balanced fit body. If you don’t change up your workouts, your body only trains one set of muscles and you stop seeing results. This is the reason we vary the exercise sessions in our classes and why we offer a wide range of different types of classes. Try one of our classes that you haven’t tried before too get the best over-all body workout.
- Skip a day. Exercise obsession is as bad as none at all because it’s physically and mentally counterproductive. Allowing your muscles to rest and rejuvenate is a crucial part of being healthy and achieving maximum results. And giving yourself a mental break prevents burn-out and makes you more likely to stick to a long-term exercise plan. Listen to your body and if you’re having an off-day, take it easy and rest.
It’s the start of national walking month next week, so I will be taking a look at what you could be doing to increase the amount you walk and what’s out there to help.