Lifetime Fitness – Exercise Motivation

Lifetime fitness is attainable by anyone, even if you have never had any interest in sport. Anyone can learn to love exercise. The hard part is how to motivate yourself to start.

There appear to be two approaches to exercise motivation:

  1. The Traditional Work Hard At It Approach
  2. The Gradual Build Up Method

1. The Traditional Work Hard At It Approach

This involves lots of yelling and pain and being forced to do it. For the beginner many exercise classes must feel like this. You may have had this experience. For some this works. Do anything enough and it becomes second nature. But what of the rest?

Why do some children grow up loving exercise and others find it so hard? What happens to a very young child to make this difference? Children learn from experimentation and encouragement, driven by really wanting something. Children do the things they like and which reward them in some way

The question you have to ask yourself is “How can I introduce exercise into my life that is going to keep me interested and excited so that I feel rewarded by the experience?”.

This is the secret to exercise motivation.


2. The Gradual Build Up Method

You can motivate yourself to build lifetime fitness into your lifestyle, easily, simply and enjoyably and make it a permanent part of your life within a few weeks.

Lifetime Fitness Rule Number 1 – Make it simple.  Make it easy.  Make it fun.

Lifetime Fitness Rule Number 2 – Don’t attempt too much at once. Everything can be broken down into smaller, simpler steps.

The following account of a patient of mine, Wendy Adams, demonstrates the best approach to exercise if you are a newbie to the exercise world or retired a little too early.

If she can… you can…

I had one lady come to my clinic who desperately needed to lose weight (she was more than 5 stone overweight) and had never done any exercise in her life. She loved shopping, she loved dressing well and she had a terrific sense of  humour.

So I had her go out and buy some jogging gear, headband, the whole lot (easy for a shopaholic). Then I had her put it on every day (easy for someone who likes dressing up).

Day one, I had her walk around her apartment.

Day two, down to the ground floor and back up in the lift.

Each day after, she walked an extra 100m (yards) farther from her building.  This was easy for her, no pain, no risk to her health, no chance to be put off.

When she was walking over half an hour a day, I then had her jog back for the last 100m (yards), then the last 200m, increasing each day in steps of 100m.  Now she is a regular jogger and has lost all the excess weight.  As she put it ‘It’s not all over until the fat lady runs’.

Regular Habit

The other important detail was that she had to start at the same time each day and that she did it every day.  No days off.  This establishes the habit.

 Write a Contract

I had her write a contract, frame it, put it on her wall and swear that she would abide by it.  Making a obvious public statement in this way can be very powerful and compelling.

Piggy Backing

Combining first steps in exercise with some other regular activity such as walking (running) the dog, going to the store, or listening to a radio show on a walkman is very effective.  This piggy backing of one habit on another is a great way to develop any fitness program or training schedule.

It Should Never Hurt!

The idea of no pain no gain is terrific if you want to become an athlete, but not if you are setting out to begin a new fitness regime and develop better health.  Never.  If you are not in the zone for pushing yourself past your limits, then pain will just put an end to your fitness plans.Which leads us to:

Lifetime Fitness Rule Number 3 – No pain. No pain

Tabata Training

If you are looking to burn fat or are short of time and need a workout that isn’t going to last more than 15 minutes then you should definitely try Tabata training.