Workout Woes - Finding Motivation to Exercise during a pandemic
11th March 2021
We’re all in agreement - the past year has been stressful. Having to adjust to virtual working conditions, looking for a new job or even taking on an extra job with homeschooling. And with this and everything else on top, I know it can feel hard to find the time or energy to workout/do some exercise. Here are a few of my tips on helping you feel motivated to move, and things I’ve used with many of my Personal Training clients who have come to me with similar problems over the past year.
My first recommendation is to start small. It could be 10 minutes set aside each day to go for a walk, a short online workout video or a jog around the block. The aim is simply to get your body moving and your heart pumping a little faster than usual - countless studies have shown that just 30 minutes of exercise per day can have a significant impact on your risk of diseases, increased life expectancy and overall body health. So worry less about what others may be posting, and focus on something that feels achievable for you. Try to build on these habits for a week or so and then slowly increase it by an extra 5 minutes each week depending on your schedule.
The second recommendation is to mentally prepare and find ways to look forward to doing some exercise. There are a few ways you could do this, such as buying yourself a new pair of gym leggings or trainers and getting your clothes ready in the morning so it’s the first thing you see. Other options could be to schedule a catch-up phone call with a friend or family member at a certain time and telling them you’ll be going on a walk. The other part of this is to vary your workouts or exercise plans so that you are more excited to do them. It could be using a different video each day, focusing on a different part of your body (e.g. full body one day, core the next) or even switching up the walking route to explore a new part of town. These are important ways to talk yourself into wanting to exercise and finding small cues that make you mentally and physically ready to do something different.
The third and final recommendation is to write down your plans, as this will keep you accountable. I think it’s probably human nature to feel good about completing things and I’m sure we all get that small sense of happiness when something is ticked from the to-do list. The same can be done with your exercise - if you’re someone who makes to-do lists generally, add your short workout or walk to the list so that it reminds you throughout the day and motivates you to tick it off. You could also set a daily phone reminder that stays there until you tick it off, and get a double hit of happiness from completing some exercise and ticking off a task.
I know it may sound easy but it really does work. I provide each of my clients with a full toolkit to keep accountable, including weekly planner sheets to write down their goals, activity & foods for the week along with a whiteboard to keep their to-do lists without wasting too much paper. Following these simple steps and starting small, mentally preparing yourself & writing down your plans to stay accountable will help you to find the motivation to move as well as building longer-term, sustainable habits. And I promise, your body and mind will thank you for it.
I hope this gives some of you a starting point, whether it’s a complete beginner to fitness or just needing a newfound source of motivation after a tough few months. Feel free to message me or contact me if you’d like more help, advice or tips on where to start with your own fitness journey - always here to chat on Instagram @nikeetaptfitness.
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