By Assia Mortensen
Exercising occasionally is easy, but sticking to a workout routine can be a challenge. As Gandhi aptly stated, “strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
At some point, all of us hit “the wall,” and then struggle to find the willpower to get over it. And yes, we know why we should be exercising: It lowers blood pressure, fights “bad” cholesterol, strengthens bones, lessens the risk of cancer, helps battle anxiety and depression and improves your sex life. (But that donut looks great and the couch is awfully comfortable too.)
Finding the ongoing motivation to exercise can be challenging, but worthwhile. There are certain strategies that can make you more inclined to work out and have a better time doing it. Employing a combination of these strategies works best:
Find Out What You Like to Do
Many people say they “hate” to exercise, but it’s usually a certain type of exercise that presents a problem. Are you competitive, enjoy sports, like to garden, enjoy the outdoors, want to dance…?
Tailor your fitness regime around activities you already enjoy. If you truly don’t enjoy any type of physical activity, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park far away from your destination so you will get a short walk. In other words, find ways to “hide” your exercise routine within activities you already do.
Think Like an Athlete
Do you consider yourself as a “couch potato” or an active person? Do your best to redefine how you think about exercise as well as yourself, recommends Virginia Anderson of WebMD. Plus, staying fit can motivate others to do the same.
Set Realistic Goals
Is it realistic for you to workout daily, or is two or three times per week enough? Set fitness goals in terms of building muscle, improving health and slimming down, but make them realistic and concrete. Ideally, the list will be incremental, with a reward at each milestone. Remember to chart your progress.
Make it Convenient and Fun
Remove obstacles that may get in the way of exercise. If you’re pressed for time, change up your routine and exercise at home. You will be much more likely to exercise if you are having fun. Play your favorite music, dress in bright colors and try to make the most of your free time. Join a gym, a walking group or workout with a friend if that helps you to stay motivated.
Forget the Past
Turn over a new leaf starting today. You may not be in the same shape as you were in high school, but you can still improve your health.
Discover Healthy Rewards
Buy yourself flowers, go to a movie, stroll in the park, watch a baseball game: Rewards will reinforce the mind-body connection, helping motivate you to continue on your path to better health.
Click here to see iHerb’s selection of sports, fitness and athletic supplements! New to iHerb? Use Coupon Code WOW123 to get $10 off any first time order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off for orders less than $40.
Kelly Fitzpatrick; 23 Ways to Push through a Tough Workout; Accessed Aug. 22, 2012
Virginia Anderson; Exercise Motivation: How to Get It, How to Keep It; Web MD; Accessed Aug. 22, 2012
Mayo Clinic Staff: Fitness Programs: 7 Ways to Stay Motivated; Mayo Clinic; Accessed Aug. 22, 2012