For many, exercising is something that comes naturally, as a way to burn off stress, to release energy and sometimes to help get a better nights sleep. However, that's not the case for everyone.
How to motivate yourself to exercise is case dependent. Some thrive on music, others on exercise related motivation quotes on their screensaver, some may even get excited by the piercing sound of a 7am alarm, closely followed cold shower (ouch). We’re going to cover some popular bases so you can see what exercise motivation techniques might work for you. No need to limit yourself to one.
Ultimately exercise motivation comes down to one thing-your health. Exercising will, without any scientific doubt, improve your physical and mental well-being, and through you may create a better standard of living for yourself. Physically, exercise causes weight loss, maintains and builds muscle mass, increases bone density and even positively impacts your gut bacteria; to name just a few benefits.
Ok, let’s get down to brass tacks. Before we delve into the ins and outs of exercise motivation, we must address the elephant in the room. Sylvester Stallone’s career defining boxing trilogy is without a doubt the biggest tool in the shed when it comes to exercise motivation. Watch it, then add the soundtrack to your Spotify playlist, and stick on your running shoes. Gonna fly now.
Leading aptly on from the ultimate form of cardio-crunching gusto, is music. Even Gloria Gaynor stole the bridge from Rocky’s famous theme tune in her seminal I Will Survive. If you haven't heard it,give it a listen. But we digress. Music is a powerful motivator both during your workout and as a pre-exercise energy booster. Set your morning alarm tone to a goosebump raising film soundtrack or to your favourite artist, and see if you don’t start hitting those hill sprints at 7am before work.
While the lonely morning hill sprints provide serious cardiovascular benefits, exercise can also be a pastime for the social butterfly. Training with friends gives you responsibility to keep health and fitness commitments past your own personal benefits. Letting yourself down is one thing, but you’re going to take much more care not to leave your gym buddy hanging. Exercising alongside others gives you moments shared, and whether that’s moments to laugh about over dinner, or getting the best out of your competitive side, driving you to hit an extra few hundred metres rowing machine next time your training solo.
While hitting the road or weights room with a friend can bring you companionship in your workouts, there’s nothing quite like scoring a goal for the team. Group sports can change your perspective on motivation, as it will also bring a feeling of responsibility towards others and create a sense of community and competition. When you are scheduled in to attend a sports training session, or even a circuit class in the local gym, you’ll mingle as a newcomer and make social bonds as a regular. When exercising becomes an opportunity to spend time with friends, mentors and like-minded people, it’s no longer a chore.
Alarms and music are already technology driven, motivational staples. But through more recent technology, it’s possible to take the benefits of training with friends, or the community of a sports club into the digital. Heart rate monitors like Fitbit allow you to share your journey or compete with friends through smartphone synced applications, by checking in on each other’s exercise progress and calorie intake. This can give you some well needed motivational boost outside of your exercise routines, and keep your fridge stocked with healthy items.
Exercise is important, but more so is mental well-being, physical health and social connections, prioritise these alongside one another and you’ll experience serious positive change. If the Rocky soundtrack doesn’t work for you, you can always scour YouTube for GMTV repeats and bring Mr. Motivator into your life, if he doesn’t get you in the mood to move, nothing will.