4 Steps to Get Motivated to Exercise
Last updated: March 2022
You’ve got to MOVE it move it! There’s no one size fits all for exercise. Our modern diet leans toward high-fat, high-calorie foods, while our lifestyle is becoming more and more sedentary. Most of the time, you can’t out-exercise bad food choices or excess calories you consume. You may think that it is possible to balance calories in with the energy out, but with more and more high calorie foods becoming easily available all around us, in reality this is very difficult to do.
Just the way your weight is affected by age, gender, activity levels, ratio of muscle-to-fat-mass, genetics, environment, and a myriad of other factors, your exercise needs are unique, too! It is important to choose a type of exercise that works for your particular lifestyle, preferences, and state of your body. Let’s go through these steps in order to find an activity that is achievable and effective for YOU!
Step 1: There are many benefits of exercising! Choose one that means the most to you.
- Improved mobility
- Lower risk of depression and anxiety
- Better blood cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure
- Reduced stress
- Higher sex drive
- Healthier muscles, joints, and bones
- Improved sleep
- Longer lifespan and improved quality of life
- Increased energy
Step 2: Discover movements you love!
- Yoga (use YouTube videos, get a DVD at the library, take free classes offered at the park/beach, or join a studio)
- Dance (take lessons or put on a song you love and wiggle away!)
- Shoot some hoops at a local park
- Play Frisbee with a friend or family member
- Join an adult sports league
- Train to go on a hike by walking in the neighborhood - try to incorporate some hills!
- Indoor rock climbing
- Paddle boarding
Get creative and find something that you enjoy!
Step 3: Set a specific goal.
What is a goal that is achievable for you? Try to set specific goals every couple of weeks as your endurance level increases. Some examples are:
- Start walking: I will walk for 10 minutes after breakfast 5 days a week.
- Go to classes: I will set a reminder on my phone to go to yoga classes twice a week after work.
- Weekends: I will invite friends to join me on a 45-minute walk or hike on Sundays.
Perhaps your ultimate goal can be to reach the exercise recommendations set by the American Heart Association (AHA) below:
- Moderate-intensity* aerobic exercise at least 150 minutes per week (or 30 minutes per day, 5 days/week) for overall heart health.1
- 75 minutes per week of higher intensity vigorous exercise** (or 25 minutes per day, 3 days/week) combined with strength training exercise (such as weight lifting) twice a week.
*moderate-intensity is when you can still talk during the activity, but wouldn’t be able to sing.
**High intensity, vigorous exercise is when you cannot say more than few words without taking a break to take some breaths due to the intensity of the work out
Step 4: Take baby steps, don’t jump off a cliff.
If you currently don’t exercise at all, start small. Maybe your ultimate goal is to exercise 5 days/week for 30 minutes, but set a more immediate and achievable goal, such as walking 10 minutes after dinner everyday. Once you’ve gotten used to 10 minutes, increase it to 15 minutes, then 20 minutes, eventually reaching 30 minutes! Remember, 30 minutes of walking does not have to happen all at once. You could break it up into three 10 minute sessions – for example, walk for 10 minutes after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Remember, walking after meals can help bring down your blood sugar levels too!
How often do you find yourself craving sweet snacks?