By Catherine Wachira, PMHNP
Do you ever lack the motivation to exercise? You are not alone. Whether you prefer walking, jogging, or strength training, there are some days you just don’t feel like exercising. Studies have shown that motivation is one of the key factors that ensure individuals continue exercising. What can you do to stay motivated?
Social support from friends or family can impact our decision on whether to adhere to exercise (Schootemeijer et al., 2020). Having your family members join you during strolls or even cheer you on can be a motivating factor. Tag your friends or spouse along, and if you have children, incorporate them into your routine. Bike riding with children in safe areas is an excellent way to keep your family active. If you have some free time, you can even bike with your kids as they go to school in the morning. Is your child too young to walk? Consider using a stroller and taking walks while your child is in the stroller.
While exercising with your children can help motivate you to stay active, children also directly reap many benefits when they themselves keep their own bodies moving. Much like adults, children who exercise have better focus and concentration, improved mental clarity, and better quality of sleep. Establishing healthy habits while they are still young will make children more likely to continue exercising as adults and in turn become healthier adults (Eswara, 2020). Setting a good example for kids and knowing that you are instilling positive lifelong habits in them can be great motivation for you. It’s a win-win!
Need more motivation? Keep in mind the plethora of benefits that exercise provides. Exercise decreases stress and anxiety, thereby improving mood, sleep quality, and confidence. Maintaining an active lifestyle impacts your overall physical health by helping to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, control weight and blood pressure, and increase muscle tone (Eswara, 2020). Many health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease can be avoided if we can make a commitment to stay active.
If you’re the competitive type, become a member of an exercise group to encourage healthy competition. Most gyms such as Orange Theory Fitness and YMCA have group exercise classes that have instructors professionally trained to keep you motivated through a workout. Furthermore, share your fitness journey and progress with friends, especially if they have similar goals as you do. They can make great accountability partners.
Last but not least, choose a form of exercise that you enjoy. Finding exercise that you love will help you stick to and even look forward to it. Consistency is key! Try different activities such as walking, jogging, biking, dancing, golfing, tennis, or even swimming. Remember, exercising regularly will boost your mood and reduce your stress and anxiety levels. So let’s get moving!
Schootemeijer, S., van der Kolk, N. M., Ellis, T., Mirelman, A., Nieuwboer, A., Nieuwhof, F., Schwarzschild, M. A., de Vries, N. M., & Bloem, B. R. (2020). Barriers and Motivators to Engage in Exercise for Persons with Parkinson’s Disease. Journal of Parkinson’s disease, 10(4), 1293–1299
Eswara, N. (2020). Influence of aerobic exercises on cognitive abilities among children. International Journal of Health, Physical Educatio