Moving Motivation

Some people have made movement and exercise a part of their normal every day activities. Other people struggle to keep motivated. We all know that exercise and activity is good for us. What we may not know – is what to do when our motivation fails us.

Why We Stop Moving
There are many reasons why people stop exercising. Here are the most common reasons:

Short on time. Work or life or family commitments get in the way or disrupt a routine. When this happens, you can do one of four things:
  • Break your activity into smaller pieces so you can sandwich it between other activities
  • Schedule, it as though it was an appointment – and then keep that appointment
  • Get up earlier so you can either get your work day started earlier – or get your activity in before you start work.
  • Eliminate something non-essential (like television)
Short on money. Being active doesn’t need to cost anything. You can walk, run or bike anywhere or anytime. You can use your body for resistance training. You can work out at home to a DVD or streaming video.
Stuck indoors. When the weather isn’t cooperating – it’s easy to move the activity indoors. Walk at the local mall. Jog on a treadmill or at a local indoor track. Lift free weights. Do sit-ups, pullups, burpees and planks.

Self-conscious. Some people don’t work out because they’re not already in shape. Being “too unfit to be seen” is far more common than you might think. Try this:
  • Avoid crowds and work out at the gym’s off-hours
  • Work out at home
  • Splurge on a personal trainer (for at least one session) to give you exercises best suited to your goals and fitness level
  • Take a beginner class in yoga, dance, or other activity
Bored. This can happen so switch it up if this applies to you. If you’re working out indoors – take it outside (or vice versa). If you work out alone – join a group. If you always run, try swimming or Zumba. You may find the new activity becomes part of your new routine.

Motivate Yourself to Move

You could be a person who simply does not move at all. You’re a couch potato who no longer wants to live like that. Or you had a medical episode and had to quit activity for months, and now can’t get back on track. There are many reasons why someone doesn’t work out or isn’t active. Here are a few tips to motivate yourself to get in the groove.
  • Set goals. Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.
  • Have fun. Try making your activity as fun as possible. If you’re not enjoying your current workout, try something new. Join a team or take a dance class.
  • Make it daily. Even if you can’t work out, don’t skip activity for a single day. Take the stairs. Park two blocks away and walk to work or to the store. Walk up and down sidelines while watching your kids at the game. Pedal a stationary bike or do strength training exercises at night while you watch TV.
  • Reward yourself. Whether it is a virtual pat on the back, a bubble bath or down time with a good book, find a way to reward yourself for each day you move forward toward your goal.
  • Move in a group. Can you walk with a friend? Play a sport with your co-workers? Involve the kids in activity?
  • Write it down. Whatever your goals are, commit to them on paper. Give yourself a smiley sticker (or a splurge) when you reach a goal.
  • Forgive yourself. There will be days when you can’t do anything at all for a variety of reasons. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.
Remember, physical activity is for life. If you want to live to a happy and healthy ripe old age, you’ll need to find ways to motivate yourself to keep moving. Good luck!


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