Sometimes, when the couch is calling and your favorite TV show is on, the last thing you want to do is get up and get some exercise. I get it. Especially after a long work day, or an emotionally draining situation, there are plenty of days that beg for R&R in the bath and not speed-walks in the park.
It’s okay to take a day or two off every once in awhile, but spending too much time on the couch is bad for your body and your mind. Exercise is incredibly good for the human body and releases “happy hormones” that make us more emotionally balanced and even decrease our stress levels. When you are reluctant to get moving because you’ve had a stressful day, you are pushing away something that will likely help you relax and put things into perspective.
Bringing yourself to terms with having to exercise on a regular basis comes down to motivating yourself. Here are some helpful tips to keep up your motivation (and, as a result, your health).
Make a Pact with a Friend
There is no doubt that having a support network is an important part of being successful in almost anything. There are many studies that show the benefits of having the support of a friend or family member when it comes to weight loss.
Even if you don’t want to lose weight, though, having somebody to exercise with is very motivating.
When you aren’t feeling up to it, you’ll be more likely to follow through if you are accountable to somebody.
Track Your Progress
Try to improve on something fitness-related, and track your progress. There is nothing more motivating than success. Once you see yourself improve after a certain amount of time, you’ll want to continue to improve.
If you are a runner, make a goal to run a certain distance in a shorter period of time. If you lift weights, increase the weight slightly until you reach a goal. Tracking progress is very motivating.
Join a Team
There’s something about being on a team that makes exercising much more enjoyable. I’ve heard many runners say that they hated running before they joined a running group. Even if you join a beer league soccer team, at least you are getting out and moving every once in awhile, and you will be less likely to skip it because you won’t want to let your teammates down.
If there isn’t already an established team or group for your favorite activity, round up a group of people that also want to stay active and join forces.
Find Some Inspiration
I was recently discussing staying motivated to stay active with a friend, and she told me that when she’s struggling with the thought of getting up and going to the gym, or feels sluggish or tired and begins to make excuses, she logs on to Pinterest and looks up some inspirational quotes and photographs that help her get into gear.
I find that having a conversation about fitness with my active friends and family members inspires me to get off the couch.
Find what inspires you to get moving and make a habit out of it.
Take Baby Steps
If you aren’t motivated to work out, convince yourself to just go for a walk around your neighborhood. Once you’ve walked for five minutes, you may find that you want to keep going and stretch it out to a ten minute walk.
Just getting your blood pumping can give you an adrenaline rush and help your body release endorphins to your brain. This will, more likely than not, increase your desire and motivation to keep going.
Always try to remember that exercising will almost always be a positive influence in your life.
How do you get motivated to stay active?
I think ‘baby steps’ is a big one and one that people forget about. You don’t need to run a fricken marathon in a month! You don’t need to exercise every day for 60 minutes and only eat granola starting today. Because you’ll fail. It’s too much! How about just start with exercising one day a week for 20 minutes? That’s doable. Then work up from there. But man, people really like to make these crazy statements and then a week later they’re back on the couch because it failed! Crazy. Small steps dudes, small steps! Or ‘baby steps’ like the psychiatrist says in “what about bob?” 🙂
It’s difficult to keep taking those baby steps. I’m quite good at starting, but it’s difficult to be motivated for long especially when the couch seems a much better place the more you feel the pain that comes with exercises. 🙁
My wife and I usually go walking after dinner every night for 30 minutes. In addition, I ride a bike 2-7 times a week. I think it helps to develop a routine and someone to do it with.
We usually go take a 1-2 hour walk with the little guy if the weather permits. He likes the outdoor a lot better and is so much easier to handle when he’s outside. It’s not serious exercise though.
You’re absolutely right that small steps take us to great places. The hardest part is often just starting. Great points on positive influence.
Oh the couch was looking pretty good last night but I managed to get to workout. I think you make a good point about finding inspiration or even having a friend with you. It does make it more enjoyable, or tolerable. I usually just replay all of our dvd’s over and over again on the TV. My wife loves when I can recite all the movies back to her, just kidding. But the key is to start slow. It helps to avoid injusry as your body is getting used to what you are doing to it.
I am having problems with this. By the time I get home, I want to sit on the couch and relax. I was going to get started this week with a new workout plan, but then got hit with a pretty nasty illness and I am still dealing with it today. I need some motivation!
All great points, on thing I would like to mention is that you don’t want to over do things the first day. I did this once thinking I could run a mile with no problems and was able to complete the mile but the next day was tough because all of my muscles tighten up as a result of not being use to that kind of workout. Instead take your time and ease into your workout program.
It isn’t the distance but it’s the time. Take a hour walk a day to get your body going. Not dawdle, mind you!
Avoid refined sugars. Sugar provides instant energy so that fat eaten at the same time is just ‘stored’ instead of being metabolised.
Chocolate, particularly milk chocolate, is the worst offender here being a great mixture of fat and sugar.
It would nice to work out if you have partner but sometimes. But even though your partner skipped a day because he’s sick, you should still push yourself to go. yes, take it one step at a time until you’ve reached your goal.
I’m not very motivated to set aside time to work out, so instead I ride my bike to work 3 or 4 days a week. That way I’m using transportation as my “workout.” So far, so good.
Whatever you do don’t go all out from day 1 you will do yourself no favours and kill your body and motivation start small and increase each session!