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20 March 2012

10 exercise motivators

This article lists ten tips on how to keep your momentum when you've been exercising for three to four weeks. Here's how to keep going without a struggle.

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If you've been exercising for over a month, you're probably feeling pretty impressed with yourself – and so you should! On the other hand, perhaps you are feeling a little less motivated than you’d like to and are struggling to get going?

Either way, to keep up or re-establish your motivation levels, here are 10 great tips that work:

1. Keep your log record:
Research and anecdotal evidence, indicate how important it is to keep a log record. It helps you to focus on your goals and to move forward. People tend to stick with projects for longer when they can actually see what they are accomplishing.

This is all part and parcel of your training programme – so don’t let it slip! Don’t forget to do the monthly measurements as well. It is extremely motivating to see your health parameters improving and your body becoming firmer as you become fitter.

2. Involve a friend:
If motivation levels are dwindling – why not invite a friend to train with you? You can catch up on all “the news” and will be amazed at how quickly the time passes.

3. Get the support of your partner/spouse/family and friends:
One of the most commonly documented reasons for people dropping out of exercise programmes, is that they didn’t have enough support from people close to them. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

A motivating call or e-mail from “one of your support team” might provide just the spark you need to train on a particularly lousy day.

4. Know your mission:
Keep focused on why you are actually doing this and how great you will feel when you have realised your goal. In fact, you’ll have immediate rewards and feel much better after a good training session! Write down how you feel and read this when feeling demotivated.

5. Set a different goal:
Aside from wanting to shape up, how about setting other goals such as climbing Lion’s Head or taking part in the Big Walk (Capetonians) or similar challenges in other parts of the country? Goal-setting improves your focus and will probably improve your commitment too – besides which these events are fun.

6. Be prepared for set-backs:
They will happen – you may get sick or have hectic deadlines at work that infringe on your exercising time. Don’t let that ruin everything. Find solutions and see these as challenges that you can overcome rather than insurmountable problems that are out to destroy you.

7. Activate each day:
Don’t only think of exercise as your “formal sessions” – do something active every day, i.e. climb the stairs at work, do some gardening during the weekend – you’ll feel so much better at the end of the day and probably have more restful sleep too.

8. Reward yourself for each successful week of training:
You know what you enjoy – so indulge yourself when you succeed.

9. Believe in your ability to succeed:
Even if you have been a confirmed couch potato for years or you’ve always dropped out of exercise programmes in the past, believe that change is possible. You can do it and you will do it! Yes, it may be very difficult some days, but just move forward towards the new, positive, fitter you!

10. Read:
This website provides you with loads of well-researched reliable health information, so to keep motivated, be as informed as possible. Read all you can about the benefits of exercise in general.

Written by Kathleen McQuaide, sports scientist from the Sports Science Institute (SSISA)

- (Health24, updated March 2012)

(Photo of man doing push ups from Shutterstock)

Read more:

Easy ways to beat gym boredom
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