UHC Advice: Exercise Motivation: How to Get It, How to Keep It

Exercise Motivation Tip No. 1: Be Realistic

One of the biggest reasons for failure is that first-time exercisers often set unrealistic goals. .Don‘t start off trying to work out an hour every day. Instead, begin with 20-30 minutes of your chosen exercise two to three times a week.

Exercise Motivation Tip No. 2: Keep Track of Your Progress

Don’t forget to chart your progress, whether it’s with a high-tech online tracker or an old-fashioned fitness journal. Seeing incremental improvements, whether it’s in improved time, increased reps, or greater frequency of workouts, can boost your exercise motivation.

Exercise Motivation Tip No. 3: Don’t Expect Perfection

Another pitfall is all-or-nothing thinking, a perfectionist way of looking at life that leads to giving up when you miss a day or two or your workout doesn’t go well. If you accept going in that there will be some sidesteps on your fitness journey, you’ll be better mentally prepared to deal with setbacks.

Exercise Motivation Tip No. 4: Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

We’ve all seen them, those toned, fatless specimens who strut through the gym in their Barbie-sized shorts and sports bras. .Don’t compare yourself to them.  Forget about them. Forgive them. But do not let them deter you from your goal.

Exercise Motivation Tip No. 5: Get Athletic Support

This isn’t about garments but about spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, buddies — anyone who will encourage you. And if their encouragement goes beyond the “atta-boy” or “atta-girl” approach, gently remind them that you don’t need nagging.

Exercise Motivation Tip No. 6: Find the Fun in It

It’s essential to find an activity you like. With an explosion in the number and types of fitness classes at most gyms, it has become easier to find something to appeal to you, from aerobics to Zumba.

If you’re not the gym type, walk around your neighborhood or try activities around the house, such as walking up and down stairs or dancing with the stars in your living room. If you’re motivated by being social, join a team.

Exercise Motivation Tip No. 8: Make It Convenient

Do whatever you can to remove obstacles to exercise, and make it as convenient as possible.  So if you are time-pressed, for example, don’t spend time driving to a gym; try exercising at home to fitness DVDs instead. If you’re too tired to work out at the end of the day, set your alarm a little earlier and exercise in the morning.

Exercise Motivation Tip No. 9: Forget the Past

Don’t let previous bad experiences with exercise hinder you. So maybe you weren’t the most athletic kid in high school, and were the last chosen for class games. That was years ago. Your goal now is not to win a letter jacket or make the cheerleading squad — you want to exercise to stay healthy and enjoy your life.

Exercise Motivation Tip No. 10: Reward Yourself

Try rewarding yourself for making the effort to exercise — not with a piece of chocolate cake, but with something that you enjoy, like a movie or flowers.

Try to think of treats that will reinforce a mind-body connection so you can savor the rewards of your hard work. Plan a short trip, or just an hour in a botanical garden. Go to a ballgame. And remind yourself with each precious moment that you are enjoying this time because of all the great things you have been doing for yourself.

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