5 ways to motivate yourself to exercise

In a recent article from the BBC, it was revealed that more than half the world’s population will be classed as obese or overweight by 2035 if action is not taken.

The research from the World Obesity Federation warns that more than four billion people will be affected, with rates rising fastest among children.

The report predicts the cost of obesity will amount to more than $4tn (£3.3tn) annually by 2035. With such a huge cost and impact globally, it is so important that we tackle obesity.

To keep healthy, the NHS recommends that we do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. However, it can be really hard to find motivation to exercise.

At Myles Wellbeing we recognise that people can struggle to feel motivated to exercise for a number of reasons. So, we’ve researched the best ways to motivate yourself, kick-starting your new, healthier lifestyle and routine.

1. Make it fun

If you’re getting bored of running around the same streets or doing the same exercise routine at the gym, try out a different exercise sport.

Boredom can often lead to a lack of motivation, however, if you find something that excites and stimulates you, you will be more likely to carry out the exercise.

Trying something different seems really obvious, but it can genuinely change your perspective of exercise if you can burn the same amount of calories by cycling to the shops or rowing for 1K on the river.

If you prefer exercising from home, check out new Youtube videos for different types of exercise classes such as yoga or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

If you’re having fun while exercising, you will stay motivated and keep it  up, so find what you enjoy and go from there.

2. Exercise together with friends and family

Exercising with other people is great, as you can all help each other power through, especially in the last sprint or 15 minutes of the match. Join a new class with a friend, or join a running club for example, either will ensure you are motivated to get your exercise done.

Even having friends on fitness watches, such as an Apple Watch, can be really motivating.  You get notifications when your friends have completed a workout which may just spur you on to have a brisk walk outside.

If you still like to exercise solo, using fitness watches or apps with friends is still a great way to motivate yourself. Whichever method you go for you will be motivated, so just gather friends and get moving!

3. Make it part of your daily routine

Friends or family can not only help find motivation and provide an extra boost for your mental health, but they can also make it a routine. For example, you can schedule to do a certain exercise at a certain time regularly with a mate.

By getting it in the diary, you are more likely to follow through with your exercise plans because even if you’re not feeling particularly motivated on that day, you won’t want to let your mate down.

If you exercise by yourself, making your exercise part of your own daily routine is also beneficial as it will give shape to your day. Whether you wake up earlier to get it out of the way, or plan to exercise after work, by writing it down or putting it in your diary, you will be more motivated to get the task done, even if for the satisfaction of crossing exercise off your to-do list.

4. Set goals

As noted, the NHS recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. To achieve these targets, set yourself goals.

If you’re getting back into exercise, start with simple goals and then begin to increase the amount of time you exercise or the intensity of it. Make your goals achievable as well as realistic, to keep you motivated to carry them out. For example, if you haven’t exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to complete 10,000 steps a day for a week. Once you build up your stamina, you can start to change your goals.

If you’re still struggling for motivation, you could also join a campaign which will constantly promote the importance of exercise, so that it is always at the forefront of your mind.

For example, Nuffield has launched a Find Time For Your Mind campaign, which aims to encourage people to do five extra minutes of exercise a day to boost mental and physical wellbeing.

5. Enjoy the post-exercise feeling

Exercise balances stress and improves mental health since it reduces cortisol levels (the body’s stress hormone) while sweating releases endorphins that help relax your mind. This is why we get such a high after completing exercise. When you’re next struggling to motivate yourself, think about how you will feel after exercising. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise.

As well as rewarding your body and mind, you can also reward yourself externally. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of running trainers or gym kit to enjoy while you exercise.