5 ways to stay motivated to exercise
You may have started this year out with the best intentions: go to the gym every morning, take yoga classes down the street or run every evening after work.
But as the bleak winter days pass, many people are finding their commitment to fitness dwindling and coming to a halt. Is this you?
It doesn’t have to be.
Brandon Nemeth, fitness specialist at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., shares five tips for motivating yourself to stick to exercising.
- Start in the present. Oftentimes, we focus on how we used to be and lose sight of what’s important to us in the present. Having six-pack abs or fitting in a size-three dress may not be as important as lowering blood pressure, preventing osteoarthritis, reducing medication or losing 10 pounds to aid in heart health. If we take a true inventory of where we are starting in the now, a more realistic approach can be taken, and we can develop a more specific goal instead of just “eat right and exercise.”
- Set a realistic goal. Simply saying you want to lose 50 pounds may not be a realistic goal, or it can seem to have no end in sight. Setting short-term goals can have a tremendous impact on adhering to a nutritional lifestyle and workout program. Plus, it helps with continued motivation. For example, start by taking a 20-minute walk and tracking your steps. After a week, you’ll want to achieve more steps each time and will feel a sense of accomplishment. Exercise and nutrition should be viewed as a progressive approach; the smallest changes can go a very long way in achieving your best health.
- Pay it forward. Whether you’ve been exercising for a long time or are just starting, encourage others. Motivation is all around us. By sharing your positive experiences with family, co-workers and friends, your own motivation can skyrocket. Remember – never attack someone or tell them what to do. Instead, invite them to grab a healthy meal or take the stairs together. As time passes, you’ll develop a support group simply by paying it forward.
- Remove “failure” from your vocabulary. None of us are perfect, no matter how good our intentions are. Failure should be viewed as an opportunity for self-growth. If you had one of those days where you went out, enjoyed pizza and four glasses of wine, so be it. It doesn’t mean you failed. Simply move on!
- Reward yourself. Don’t lose sight of the accomplishments you achieve. We all deserve to reward ourselves! Your reward doesn’t have to be a fatty meal or going out for drinks. Spend a day at the spa, get a massage, buy some new workout clothes – just do something to highlight your success!
About the Author
Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.