Exercise. We all know we should do it, we all want to do it, but isn’t it just so hard to actually get out there and do it. Here are five tips to motivate yourself into action.
1. Exercise isn’t just about looking good on the outside. It has a positive effect on our mental well-being too and these results are more quickly felt than the external signs of weight loss or a more toned body. After exercise, paradoxically, I feel more energised and can think clearer. I get a feeling of satisfaction that I am looking after my body and improving my health and fitness.
2. Find something you enjoy doing. There are so many different forms of exercise to choose from, many of which don’t even feel like exercise. For example, I’ve spent an entire hour of pilates lying on the floor and yet afterwards I felt stronger and taller with improved posture. Zumba is so much fun, it feels like my guilty pleasure, rather than serious exercise! You could go walking, cycling, horse-riding, dancing, play rounders or football in the park with your children, dancing… Be creative about how you define exercise.
3. Set yourself a personal challenge to make it more interesting and inspiring. For example, I personally find swimming rather boring. I like the idea of it but I soon get bored swimming up and down, up and down. To combat this feeling, I decided to swim the Channel in my local pool. Now every length counts towards my target and it’s really satisfying to see how they’re totting up. I also reward myself with a jacuzzi and sauna. As a result, I’ve swum 80 lengths (80x25m) in the past week. I’m also doing the same thing on the treadmill, where I’m aiming to run a marathon, and the rowing machine, where I’m rowing across the Channel!
4. Set yourself realistic targets and build up slowly. When I joined the gym two and a half years ago, I could barely manage two minutes on the exercise bike at 50rpm and even that was a struggle. What really surprised me was how quickly you can increase your level of fitness and stamina.
5. But I don’t have the time! Well how about just 5 minutes a day at home doing sit-ups, or bicep curls, or lunges, or skipping. Anything is better than nothing.
I should now add a word of caution. Make sure you know what you’re doing, either by getting professional advice or reading up about technique, and always listen to what your body is telling you. After all, you want to improve your health and fitness, not create problems.
How do you motivate yourself to exercise?