How do I Find the Motivation to Exercise?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Many people know that exercise is highly beneficial, but they have a tough time finding the motivation to exercise, even with this knowledge. There are a number of ways to build up the motivation to exercise and to establish an exercise plan which will be realistic and effective. Because everybody is slightly different, people may need to mix and match to find the motivations which work best for them; some people, for example, might find the establishment of a rewards plan highly effective, while others might find punishments more motivating.

Exercise pants.
Exercise pants.

One of the best ways to develop the motivation to exercise is to get an exercise buddy. Exercising with a friend makes people more likely to exercise because they feel a commitment to follow through. People can also issue office challenges or get coworkers involved in an exercise plan. Some people also find that signing up for a sports team or an athletic event like a triathlon creates a motivation to exercise because they want to perform well, and once they get into the groove of regular exercise, they can keep it up.

People should exercise in a way they enjoy.
People should exercise in a way they enjoy.

Making exercise easy is also important. Personal trainers often recommend exercising first thing in the morning so that people cannot develop excuses to avoid exercise, and morning exercise can vary from doing a quick yoga routine in the morning to riding a bike to work. People should find something they enjoy doing which is also easy to do, whether it is swimming in a community pool or doing an exercise tape with a friend, so that they will feel the motivation to exercise. Having a backup exercise plan in the event of poor weather, a friend's cancellation, or another problem is also a good idea. It's also better to exercise briefly every day, rather than to have long exercise sessions a few days a week, and the daily exercise can be a motivator to keep going.

Having exercise buddies is a good way to stay motivated during workouts.
Having exercise buddies is a good way to stay motivated during workouts.

Setting clear goals and keeping an exercise log can also be an excellent motivation to exercise. Goals can vary from reducing blood pressure to wanting to feel stronger, but they should be clearly defined so that people can assess whether or not they are meeting their goals. Some people also find that it helps to make themselves accountable by publishing goals on their personal websites or blogs and creating an exercise tracker so that people who visit their websites can see if they are keeping up with their exercise plans.

People who enjoy the outdoors can be motivated to go for a bike ride.
People who enjoy the outdoors can be motivated to go for a bike ride.

People struggling to find the motivation to exercise often find that once they start exercising, they start having more energy and they experience a genuine interest in exercising. Taking a day off from a regular exercise regimen can leave someone feeling tired and sluggish, and sometimes remembering the feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment experienced after exercise is a powerful motivation. Other people reward themselves after exercise with some sort of treat, such as sticking a few dollars into an envelope reserved for entertainment; exercisers could save the money to take a vacation, treat themselves to a spa day with their accrued funds, or just spend a night at the movies with friends now and then with money saved in the entertainment fund.

Finding a partner to exercise with can help someone to stay motivated.
Finding a partner to exercise with can help someone to stay motivated.
An aerobics class is a good idea for people who need motivation to keep exercising.
An aerobics class is a good idea for people who need motivation to keep exercising.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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