How can I get motivated to exercise?

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How can I get motivated to exercise?

What gets you motivated to exercise? We all need to do it- exercise and to be more physically active. So what is the need for more physical activity? If you are like most people, it's highly likely that you have a sedentary lifestyle and possibly some health conditions which may have developed as a result of our inactivity, COVID-19 weight or otherwise. 


Metabolic Syndrome

High blood pressure, diabetes, excess weight around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol rates, otherwise known as the Metabolic Syndrome, is estimated to affect more than one-third of the U.S. population. Guess what? All of these maladies are reversible. With lifestyle changes, most people can make improvements in any one or more of these areas that affect your health: physical activity, sleep, nutrition, stress, substance abuse and relationships. But sticking to it, sticking to a change in lifestyle like adding exercise or even being motivated to change other areas of your life, changes in your health can dramatically occur. But lifestyle changes may be easier said than done. 


Change is good, but how do you stick to it?

If you have any comorbidities, what can someone do to change them? What helps people stick to exercise, for example?   A 2016 article from Psychology Today discusses a study which asserts that competition with others and challenging yourself to compete with others can help you to stick and be motivated to exercise more than going it alone. 


A little friendly competition never hurts

So how do you stay motivated to exercise and stick to it?  I know if I worked out with a friend, I would try to do as much, if not more than, as what my friend was doing. I would work hard to keep up or out do them, just to see if I could. What’s more, with the challenge and desire to succeed or win, the resulting feeling from that completion is worth working for again and again. Winning breads winning, success breeds success. The goal is to keep the challenge or mini competition friendly, harmless and fun.


Challenge yourself with each exercise bout

Using the workout results from a previous bout can motivate one to challenge themselves to do even more than the last bout.  In addition, challenging others to work a bit harder or strive a bit more than before also gives you a push as well. Another suggestion, getting technology involved with all the many apps that are out there can help you stick to the new habit. You’ve got to admit, working out with others can most certainly incentivize your exercise sessions. Enlisting friends or accountability partners may conjure up a sense of competition and bring out your ability to do your best. That is a great way to ignite the spirit to workout. 


Make exercise a lifestyle habit

Once you make working out a lifestyle habit (engaging in activity for 3 -6 weeks and beyond), you’ll wonder how you ever lived without exercising.  Habits are the regular tendencies or routine actions which we adhere to and are hard to give up. Healthy habits take longer to form than not so healthy habits because we usually don’t necessarily like nor want to perform the healthy habits.  The immediate reward of a desired “thing” \ far outweighs the long term benefits of a less desirable “thing”, in most people.  But forming healthy habits is easily done when you enlist friends, social media, apps and support to help. Once our perspective shifts from the immediate results to  long-lasting benefits, the commitment to change can take root and a new healthy habit can grow. You will be surprised at how simple lifestyle change can be.  Simple, but not that easy. Just don’t give up on yourself and/or the process. If you fall off the wagon and stop practicing the new habit, you can always start again, doubling efforts by soliciting support to help. Let NYFITPROS partner with you to help you make exercise a healthy habit and be the support and facility that will help bring about that lifestyle change.

Penelope Benjamin, B.A. Exercise Science

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