How to stay motivated for exercise

Starting a new exercise regime is the easy bit – it’s keeping it up that’s really hard! So how can you stay motivated for exercise after the first thrills of the novelty wear off, and you are left facing a mundane hard slog three or more times per week?

Well, that’s your first problem, right there. If it’s mundane, and you consider it a hard slog, it’s no wonder you don’t want to do it anymore!

That sounds like a chore – and exercise should be fun. It should make you feel good.

When you’re done, you should feel better than when you started, leaving you in no doubt that you will want to do it again tomorrow. So ring the changes, do things you enjoy instead of forcing yourself to join a Zumba class just because your friend goes, and focus on making exercise a pleasant part of your day, instead of something you’d rather avoid.

Book it into your diary as ‘me-time’ or whatever you feel you want to call it, but remember that it is to be enjoyed, not endured.

Ok, so exercise can be hard work. In fact, it needs to be hard work in order for you to gain the benefits. If it was as easy as trundling once round the nearest pond without breaking a sweat, we’d all be as fit as Jessica Enis!

Yes, to get the most from your exercise regime, you do need to put some effort in, and that can result in you getting hot and out of breath. But so what?

As long as you don’t overdo it and injure yourself, and you don’t suffer from asthma or other breathing problems, being hot and out of breath from exercise isn’t really a problem, is it?

In fact, it is hard physical evidence that what you’re doing is having the desired effects on your cardiopulmonary system (aka your heart and lungs). And when you’re finished, you can cool off with a nice cool shower and a well deserved drink.

What about after exercise? Do you pat yourself on the back for a job well done, or do you moan and groan all the way back to the sofa? Remember that how you feel after exercise will have an impact on how likely you are to want to do it again, so be careful not to overdo it and leave yourself vowing never to do that again.

Instead, aim to finish your workout feeling strong and healthy, and really congratulate yourself for doing something great for your body and soul. The folks in my favourite (American) home workout video all exchange high-fives after each session.

Granted, it’s not easy to do that by yourself at home, but you get the idea.  Enjoy and stay motivated for exercise!