I have been into sport for most of my life – swimming, rowing and more recently mountain biking. I have tended to always compete in my chosen sports which has been my motivation to get out and exercise/train. I have had many occasions though where I found it difficult to get back into it after a layoff or even when in more serious training there have also been days where I couldn’t be bothered to get out there and do it again! Whether you are just kicking off doing some exercise or you’re right into your sport you might find some motivators that I have used at different times over the years useful – they’re in no particular order.
- Set yourself some small and achievable goals to start with, adding to your efforts incrementally over time. If you set goals that are a bit too ambitious early on it could be a bit demoralising if you don’t reach those goals straightaway – you may be inclined to give up because you think its all too hard. Small wins early on will keep you encouraged to progress.
- Don’t worry about what you might look like – just start and the rest will take care of itself. Activity over time will soon make a difference to how you feel and look.
- Vary your exercise a bit so you don’t get sick of doing the same thing every time. If you’re a runner, one day you may go for a flat tempo run and next time you may choose to do some stairs or sprints. It never hurts to use different muscle groups – doing the same thing all the time will get the body too used to using the same muscles which may lead to weaknesses elsewhere.
- Remember how good it feels mentally and physically after doing some exercise – perhaps write down what it felt like and refer back to it when motivation levels are a bit low.
- Ideally choose an exercise or sport that you really enjoy so that it is more a hobby than something you have to do.
- Play a sport which becomes your exercise – join the the local swim or running group or join a touch football team. This also has the benefit of putting you in a team environment which helps you commit to exercise plus its a great way to meet new people.
- Track your successes – record your progress and how you are going against the goals you have set yourself. Its a great way to look back on how far you have come and increase your motivation to keep going.
- When you are out exercising imagine you are a professional athlete and you have the crowd cheering you on to the finish line. It’s amazing how the noise of the crowd can spur you on!
- Group exercise is often a good way to motivate you. Exercising with others helps push you along, encouraging each other to go that little bit harder than you might on your own. It’s also often a lot of fun.
- Give yourself a reward after achieving a goal – perhaps an extra day off. Try and keep it healthy!
Getting out and doing some exercise be it in the great outdoors (my preference) or in the gym there is no doubt you will feel healthier and more energised for it. Doing the right exercise for our body type and fitness levels is great to keep joints and muscles moving leading hopefully to less aches and pains. If you’re not sure how to start off an exercise program seek the guidance of an exercise professional. For the more serious athletes amongst you remember to keep some balance and rest when your body tells you it needs some time off – results will be better if you do.
Feeding the body a nutritious, well balanced diet is obviously very important to help fuel you towards your exercise or sporting goals.
I hope some of these tips will help you with your motivation when it sometimes gets a bit tough to start or keep exercising.
Founder, Pure Edge