Motivation to exercise
9 ways you can spark your desire to get moving.
How can we find motivation to exercise? Most of us understand that exercise is a good idea, but that knowledge is only helpful when we take action and get ourselves moving. Motivation to exercise will vary for each person, but there are many common themes, such as enjoyment and accountability, that we can all identify with. Over the past 20 years I found motivation in many places, so I have shared some of my personal stories below.
Working out with friends
I notice a huge boost in my enthusiasm for a workout when I’m with friends. There are so many advantages to being with a group, like accountability, encouragement, and friendly competition. Recently I have been meeting with a group to workout on gymnastics equipment at the beach. A unique part of our workout is that we do the exercises one at a time, so each person has an audience when it’s their turn. The 2 videos below show how encouragement from friends can make a big difference when you are trying to give your best effort.
Where do you find your motivation to exercise?
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Exercising for enjoyment
Doing what I enjoy also gives me a great deal of motivation to exercise. Swing dancing, an upbeat form of partner dancing, is a lot of fun for me, It’s a nice feeling to be step with the music, and then occasionally surprise my partner with a cool move. When life has been intense, I find hiking to be a great getaway, as I appreciate natural beauty and a chance to reflect. I also love the feeling of being able to run for miles, keeping up a good pace without having to stop. I get a sense of freedom from it, and it makes me feel fit.
Developing and perfecting sports skills, like making jump shots in a basketball game or trying to hold a handstand with good body alignment are high on my list as well. Sports that require jumping and quickness, like ultimate frisbee and basketball, have always been fun because that’s something I’m naturally good at.
Start moving just so you can feel better
Some days I feel sluggish after a number of hours writing, driving or doing paperwork. It feels so good to stretch my muscles and get my circulation going once I finish working, even if that means just a brisk walk or vigorously cleaning house / taking care of chores.
Watching others for inspiration
I remember being inspired to be a better basketball player watching my favorite sports team, the Detroit Pistons, improve year by year before they won their first championship. In my competitive running years I enjoyed reading about the elite runners of the time. I learned about how hard they trained and was amazed by the new world records they set in marathons and track events. Recently, I’ve had a friend inspire me by doing a handstand in gymnastics rings, which is something I’d love to be able to do myself! Seeing others excel is a great motivation to exercise.
Working to achieve a goal
Growing up, I had always enjoyed playing basketball, and though I hadn’t played on a team since 6th grade, I decided I wanted to play on the JV basketball team. I spent the summer before my sophomore year in high school doing weight training, calisthenics, sprints, and drills with a good friend. We also competed against older, stronger friends. By the fall, we were strong, fit, and prepared for basketball season. We both made the team.
I also enjoy the process of becoming more fit. I worked a long time building my strength last year so that I could do a muscle up on gymnastics rings. (shown in the video above) That first moment, when I'm able to do something that I couldn't do before, is a great feeling. It makes me appreciate the work I did to get there even more, and it makes me want to keep working to achieve more.
Being part of a group or team
In my high school and college years, I discovered I had a talent for running long distance. My journey with running led me to compete in 5 mile races on my college cross country team. Training and racing with the guys helped push me to achieve my best efforts. Some of my favorite races were where we ran side by side in a pack, depending on each other to help maintain the grueling pace. It was during one of those races that I achieved my personal best time.
Remembering your long term health
I have a unique perspective as a physical therapist having worked with hundreds of clients, perhaps thousands, in my 15 year career. I’ve seen first hand, over and over, what happens to the body when you don’t take good care of it. Pain, disability and chronic disease can take root in a person’s life very easily if they don’t remain physically active. Remembering the stories of many of my former clients gives me motivation to exercise as well.
Being an example for others
Just like anyone else, I have a number of friends, family members, and clients (of course) who aren’t as active as they need to be. The better shape I’m in, the more my friends and family ask me about my workouts, and the more likely they are to get moving themselves. No one likes feeling stiff, overweight, weak, and out of shape. Sometimes all that's needed is a little inspiration from a friend to give us the motivation to exercise. For example, many of my friends ask about my workouts when I post videos showing my progress with the beach workout routine.
Improving your first impressions
No sense in overlooking this key motivation to exercise. I like to fit nicely in my clothes and look good for dates just as much as anyone else. Looking more fit helps not only for dating, but for any kind of first impression, like a job interview or an important business meeting.
I hope you enjoyed this article. It would be great to get your opinion on such an important topic. You can leave a facebook comment below or even contribute your own article (Scroll up to the center of the page).
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