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How Can You Find the Motivation to Exercise?

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Did you know that exercise and mental wellness go hand in hand?

A UCLA study analyzed 1.2 million participants in a CDC survey on mental health. The study revealed that people, on average, struggle with poor mental health at least three to four days a month. However, study participants who exercise regularly found those days reduced by 40%.

In fact, only three 45-minute weekly exercise sessions were found to contribute to that decrease. Thus, increasing weekly exercise can improve mental health even more.

Improving mental health is one powerful way to find the motivation to exercise. Like the study participants, you’ll likely find a reduction in stress, anxiety, and worries, three major contributors that negatively impact mental well-being.

Discover more ways to motivate yourself to exercise (and stay motivated!)

Set Manageable Exercise Goals

Do you find yourself setting New Year’s fitness resolutions year after year only to abandon them by spring?

You’re definitely not alone.

Biting off more than you can chew is a challenge shared by so many people who want to turn over a new leaf. Not setting goals from the beginning is one reason why this happens.

Starting an exercise regimen or joining a gym is overwhelming when you’re brand new to it all. Returning after years of not going to the gym is also overwhelming. One of the best things you can do (from the start) is to be kind to yourself (not hard on yourself.)

First, start by setting manageable goals. A manageable goal is an objective you know you can achieve. This way, you won’t push yourself too hard and give up.

If you haven’t worked those muscles in a while, you’re going to naturally feel muscle soreness. This is normal, natural, and healthy! However, you don’t want to risk injury.

Start with a light exercise goal that won’t overstress your body. Once you meet that goal, you can increase the intensity little by little.

Log Your Manageable Goals

Another benefit of setting manageable goals is that they’re much easier to log and track. Plus, tracking your goals (and progress) is an excellent way to stay motivated.

First, start with a system that works for you. This is a fun task if you enjoy creating charts, to-do lists, and visuals. You can use programs like Excel and Google Sheets; there are also goal-tracking apps specific to fitness.

Suppose you want to start walking a set amount of miles (or half a mile) every day. This is a great example of a manageable goal. You could log your progress on a physical chart.

There are also apps that track your steps as you walk, visualizing your progress; this can help you feel more productive and motivated to walk more.

Some apps even reward you with digital badges and awards encouraging you to walk more.

If you’re interested in this route, consider investing in wearable technology that allows you to exercise with your phone strapped to your arm or waist. There are also smartphone watches like the Apple iWatch that offer the same capabilities and apps but without the hassle.

Once you complete a goal, set a new goal with a new degree of intensity. Be consistent as you increase your workout intensity. Avoid jumping to extremes as this may cause you to quit from burnout.

Burnout is one of the biggest hindrances to exercise motivation.

Here are some ways to combat it:

How to Avoid Exercise Burnout (and Stay Motivated)

Muscle soreness is to be expected from working out. You’ll definitely feel it if you’re new to exercising (or going to the gym) or return after a long break.

It’s also important to remember that the soreness is part of the natural muscle-building process. It’s a damage-and-repair cycle. The scientific term for this process is called hypertrophy.

Similar to tracking your progress, you should also develop a system for avoiding burnout.

Your burnout-avoidance system should work like a schedule.

For example, make sure to stretch before every workout, even if you’re power walking or jogging. Stretching before exercise will warm up your muscles, helping them avoid injury.

Stay Hydrated and Nourished

Remember to stay hydrated as well. You should begin each workout with a healthy glass of water. There are also electrolyte-infused waters and flavored drinks for extra hydration. However, try to avoid sugary drinks.

Eat a healthy breakfast before working out. Leave enough time between breakfast and exercise to avoid stomach aches. You’ll need enough time to digest your food; however, food is absolutely necessary for sustaining energy.

You’ll notice yourself growing more hungry as you exercise. This response is natural since you’re rapidly burning calories. Choose a good pause time for a snack.

Again, avoid snacks that are too sugary. Protein-packed granola bars are okay. You can also whip up your own homemade trail mix complete with your favorite nuts, dried fruit, pretzel sticks, and a handful of dark chocolate (or cacao nibs) for a little extra sweetness.

There are also protein-packed workout shakes. These shakes will fill you up quickly, providing the necessary energy to complete your workout without growing faint.

Take time to rest as needed when exercising. If you feel fatigued, take a break to drink some water or have a snack.

Remember to take time to rest after completing your workout. Use ice and hot therapy for any muscle soreness to avoid injuries.

Eat a healthy dinner in the evening, and get a good night’s sleep. This will help you wake up feeling refreshed and motivated to exercise in the morning.

Early morning and evening workouts are great if you work a 9-5 schedule. Even better, you may find yourself happier and more productive at work. As you start to enjoy exercise more, you’ll have something to really look forward to at the end of the day, which is a fantastic motivator.

Staying Motivated With the Buddy System

Do you feel more motivated to accomplish a goal when you have a friend accomplishing a similar goal by your side?

The exercise buddy system may be perfect for you.

Having a buddy in the same boat is an excellent way to stay on your toes.

It’s two-way motivation. They keep you motivated while you motivate them to achieve their own goals. Before you know it, you’ll both fall comfortably into a dedicated exercise schedule.

Suppose you want to start walking in your neighborhood every day. If you’re rusty, you can ask your friend to call or text you every morning for a brisk walk. Likewise, you can do the same for them.

Soon enough, you’ll be meeting at each other’s houses (or a designated street) for morning walks.

Is your fitness buddy a coworker? Even better!

You both can hit up the gym together or take off on a refreshing evening walk after work.

Establishing a fitness buddy system is another reason to join a gym. You’ll meet all types of people in the same boat as you. This gives you a chance to strike up friendships, establishing productive connections around shared goals.

You may want to join a fitness class if you’re new to going to the gym or just rusty. Joining a class is an excellent way to embrace a new routine and meet like-minded people who are embracing healthy lifestyles too.

Another way to find fitness buddies is social media, especially Facebook and Nextdoor. These apps have plenty of local groups and discussions. You’re bound to find a local fitness group eager to go on daily walks, trips to the gym, and other fitness-related excursions.

Joining a bicycle-riding club is another option. You’ve likely seen large groups of cyclists cycling about in your community. Many of them are getting back into the fitness game just like you.

You can always start a local fitness meetup yourself by making a post on Nextdoor or starting a Facebook group.

Find a Fitness Activity You Actually Enjoy

This next tip is a really important one.

While some muscle soreness and exhaustion are to be expected with any new fitness endeavor, it’s vital to choose a regime you actually enjoy.

Try all sorts of exercises first. You could try a new idea from week to week until you find your groove with more consistent activity.

For example, you could take the plunge into fitness with a light aerobics class. If you find you love aerobics, you could increase the intensity a bit or how many hours you invest. There are also several types of aerobics; some infuse different types of dance, kickboxing moves, and other unique additions.

Yoga is an excellent way to kickstart a healthier lifestyle or get back into the game. Even better, it’s a wonderful way to warm up since it’s all based on stretching. Again, start with a light beginner’s yoga program before advancing to intermediate yoga.

When you try lots of different exercises, you can formulate your own custom workout. For example, you could start with early-morning yoga, go to work, and end the day with a night at the gym. The following day, start with a morning walk, go to your job, and end the workday with a kickboxing workout.

Attend as many fitness classes as possible to learn exercise tips from the pros first. This tip is great for people who want to take hold of their own fitness program but need to learn the ropes first. You may surprise yourself and discover the motivation to become a fitness instructor yourself!

Pick the brains of your friends and fitness buddies about their favorite activities. Remember, some activities are more strenuous than others. You may want to avoid certain exercises (or sports) if you have a persistent injury or trouble with joint pain.

How to Get Motivated With Music

Do you have trouble focusing on activities?

This issue can hinder motivation. Luckily, there are several creative ways to improve focus.

First, start by exercising outside. Fresh air will help you breathe easier, cool off, and calm down. Scenic outdoor areas are inspiring places to work out too.

Plus, you also enjoy the ambiance of nature. Chirping birds, rustling trees, and babbling brooks all make for a wonderful all-natural exercise soundtrack.

You’ll also find similar motivation at the beach. Crashing waves, light ocean sounds, and seabird calls provide a pleasing ambiance for yoga, running, and other exercises.

You can even find nature-inspired ambiance soundtracks on YouTube.

Of course, you can always listen to your favorite tracks as you work out. Invest in a small MP3 player, waterproof headphones or earbuds, or wearable technology that doesn’t get in the way of your movement.

There are plenty of instrumentals and beats composed to inspire motivation. You can find these tracks for free on YouTube.

Be careful when listening to music while working out. You need to be aware of your surroundings, especially when exercising outdoors.

Finding the Motivation to Exercise With Creative Reminders

On some mornings, you simply wake up on the wrong side of the bed. On those days, it’s helpful to have a way to remind yourself to get going.

You already learned about the fitness buddy system, but there’ll be days when you’ll have to go it alone.

Are you someone who likes writing notes?

Bust out those post-it notes, leaving little reminders on mirrors, refrigerators, and doors.

Are you using a daily log method to track your progress?

Create a chart large enough so that it’s visible every morning. A chart that you simply can’t miss on your way out the door.

You set an alarm to wake up in the morning. Why not set an alarm reminding you to work out? You can also add messages to your alarm to motivate progress; even add a to-do list message to your reminder alarm.

See what your smartphone can do. AI alarm reminders use voice to alert which may be a better option for you.

Exercising is an excellent way to help process and manage emotions, from sadness to joy. If you’re the type who needs a positive mindset to work out, you could leave yourself daily affirmations around the house to inspire motivation.

You can find plenty of motivational decor, magnets, and apps to get you going in the morning.

Start Finding Motivation Today

This time around, you’re going to stick to your fitness resolution!

Start by setting manageable and measurable goals you can achieve. Track your progress, find a fitness buddy, avoid burnout, set daily reminders, listen to music, and try lots of different activities until you find a routine you enjoy.

Joining a family-friendly gym is an excellent way to discover the motivation to exercise more.

Learn more about our gym, sign up today, or talk to us to learn more about our services.

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