Did you know that the majority of our population does not meet the recommended amount of physical activity? According to the Physical Activity Council (PAC), only 33% of Americans participate in the sufficient activities to sustain positive health. The PAC also states that 28% of Americans do not participate in any kind of sport at all. But why is this? Is it because people are too busy, too insecure, too out of shape? Or are they lacking one very important element to overcome such obstacles... people are lacking MOTIVATION.
Do it for your heart!
Do it for your brain!
Do it for your kids!
Do it for your health!
We all know why we need to exercise, but let's face it: IT'S TOO DAMN HARD! There is no bigger critic to ourselves then.. well ourselves, but don't worry, together we can convince your biggest critic.
1. Life is about the little things!
Don't make exercise just about getting exercise, have more fun. Who said you have to run on a treadmill to be healthy? Take the stairs, run at the park with the kids, play a game of pick-up basketball. The health benefits of exercise extend beyond the gym.
2. Pursue positively!
It is very important to look at the brighter side of life and to try to get out there. Many studies show significant relationships between personality outlook and motivation toward exercise participation. Chu-Hsin Huang from the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan concluded in one of his studies that "individual's with higher levels of emotional stability, extraversion, openness to experience, and conscientiousness" have much higher levels of physical and psychological motivation to exercise (2007).
3. Lighten up!
You wouldn't eat your dinner in one bite, so why would you expect your health to be any different? Start out by aiming for smaller short-term goal. For example: setting a goal to run for 30 minutes is more realistic, and more attainable, then trying to run for 5 miles right off the bat.
4. Blame it on your friend!
This is one time you can blame it on each other. Including a friend in your exercise goals has shown tremendous results in studies. Exercising with a friend can specifically improve performance on an aerobic task along multiple workout sessions (Irwin 2012). Working out with a partner allows for each person to hold the other responsible for his or her results, and be a cheerleader to keep both going.
5. Nothing is set in stone!
Your goals, your workout routine, and even your training times do NOT necessarily have to be concrete. You missed a workout because of your friend's graduation? You went out of town with the family and forgot to pack your running shoes? It was flu season and being down for a week still doesn't feel like enough? It is okay, don't beat yourself up about it. You can always start again tomorrow. Understanding the efforts put forth is worth their weight in gold.
6. Find your happy place!
It is important to create an environment that promotes motivation and positivity. In a study analyzing the effect of visual suggestion on exercise motivation researchers found that when viewing motivational posters (i.e. competitive bikers) while exercising, participants reported higher levels of relaxation compared to relaxing posters (i.e. tropical nature) and no posers at all (Plante 2013). Possibly place encouraging post-its around your home or office. Put up motivational posters and pictures in places you can see when working out, such as your home gym or on your phone background.
There are just a few ideas, but there are many more ways to keep that health train moving in the right direction! Get out there, and keep moving!