Sometimes it isn’t easy to convince yourself to exercise. Grueling hours and hectic days can leave you feeling so exhausted that working out is the last thing you want to do. Sound familiar? Please know you’re not alone. According to the CDC, less than half of American adults are getting enough exercise. If you don’t feel like exercising, these seven things might motivate you to get off the couch.
Exercise isn’t reserved for athletes and bodybuilders.
There is no rule that you must be ripped to enter a gym. Exercise is for people of all shapes, sizes, and athletic abilities. Your starting point is irrelevant. The important thing is where you’re going.
Here’s a personal fact that might make you feel better. I couldn’t even do one push-up the first time I walked into a gym (now I can do over twenty in a row!). It took a lot of practice to get to that point, but I’m glad I did it. You’ll feel the same way when you become stronger than you ever thought possible.
Exercise shouldn’t exhaust you (it should recharge you).
Stop looking at exercise like it’s a stressful thing that’s going to make you feel tired. Exercise should be viewed as an invigorating activity that will make you feel energized. That sounds a lot better, right?
Science validates this perspective. Exercise can reduce fatigue and increase energy levels, according to a study by the University of Georgia. Start with something simple like a morning walk. You could even buy a jump rope, begin with a set of 50 hops, and give yourself the goal of doing 10 more per day.
Exercise doesn’t have to be inconvenient and time-consuming.
An hour of exercise might be ideal in theory, but it could also be incompatible with your lifestyle. If that’s the case, don’t worry. Remember this mantra: do the best you can with what you have.
The good thing about starting with a small dose of exercise is that you can gradually increase the intensity as time goes on (hint: this is exactly how you get fit according to the principle of progressive overload).
You could begin by performing a 10 minute workout at the top of every morning. After you successfully follow that routine for a month, add 10 more minutes. Repeat this process consistently and you will certainly see results.
Exercise isn’t just for your body (it improves your mental health, too).
It’s unfortunate that most fitness marketing focuses on vain goals like sculpting a six-pack. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look attractive, but that’s only half of the story.
Exercise treats depression just as well as antidepressants, according to a study by the Archives of Internal Medicine. This could be due to the fact that exercise releases endorphins, which improve your mood and reduce your perception of pain.
Exercise also gives you a sense of control. Most people have felt powerless at one time or another. That could be due to a divorce, job loss, death in the family, or whatever the case may be. Staying committed to an exercise plan during a hardship can give you the confidence you need to improve other aspects of your life.
Exercise can be used as a healthy emotional outlet or positive coping mechanism.
Recovering addicts know how important it is to have a hobby, interest, or passion of some kind. Poor habits thrive when a person doesn’t have a healthy outlet to use when they are upset or stressed out.
It’s really hard to quit any habit, because doing so can open up a nasty void. If a smoker always lights up at a certain time, they will need to find another way to occupy themselves. Otherwise, they might get so stressed out that they cave to temptation.
Thus, it might be smart to walk outside and do a few stretches every time that urge occurs. Quitting gets a lot easier when you start to associate healthy habits with the triggers that used to provoke poor habits. In short, exercise is a great addition to the recovery process.
Exercise comes in so many forms that one of them will definitely grab your interest.
Are you convinced that you hate exercise and that’s just how it is? If that’s the case, expand your definition of “exercise” to include any activity that raises your heart-rate.
Think outside of the box. Dancing, gardening, hula-hooping, house cleaning, and even window shopping could be considered “exercise” as long as you perform these activities with enough vigor.
It might be helpful to think about the games and activities that you enjoyed as a child. Look through some old photo-albums to jog your memory. Ask yourself, “How could I recreate this activity in some way as an adult?” Be creative.
Exercise might not provide instant gratification, but that doesn’t make you happy anyway.
Let go of your need for instant gratification. It is deceptive for any diet book author or personal trainer to promise they can deliver “fast” or “easy” weight-loss.
Your rate of weight-loss is influenced by so many variables that it’s impossible to estimate how many pounds you would lose per month on any given program. Those variables include your age, weight, gender, metabolism, activity level, eating decisions, medical conditions, and quality of sleep.
The point? Don’t jump to conclusions. If you don’t get results after a month of a training plan, don’t automatically blame the program. Your problem could just as easily be caused by a poor diet or lack of sleep. See yourself as a detective searching for clues that will help you solve a puzzle. As long as you can be patient, you’ll eventually crack the case. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Have you noticed any benefits of exercise that I didn’t include here?
If so, please tell us in the comments. You might give someone the inspiration they need to get moving. If you found this article helpful, please pass it along in a thoughtful email or Facebook share.
About the Author
Daniel Wallen is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of the Wallen Way. He is a personal trainer, Lifehack contributor, and author of, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Getting Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous“