How To Get Motivated To Exercise
Our society will always remember COVID-19 as one of the defining events of this generation. The pandemic disrupted every aspect of what we considered ordinary life. People lost their jobs. Children were sent home from daycare and school. Toilet paper became a scarce commodity. And even though exercise is important during the best of times, it was deemed essential during lockdown.
But now that restrictions are easing, and society is slowly moving back to “normal”, it’s easy to fall back into routine and lose the motivation to work out. Here's how to motivate yourself to exercise, and no it doesn't require a gym or heavy weights!
Why is exercise good for you?
Exercise has a profound impact on both our physical health and mental well-being. More than 25 studies have concluded that regular physical activity is associated with better mood and prevention of depression. One specific recent study of more than 10,000 individuals revealed that not only are people who are more physically active happier, but individuals are happier in the moments that they are being physically active.
However, although we are aware of the connections between physical activity and happiness, we are more inactive today than humans have probably ever been throughout history. This is so detrimental to our health that sitting has been dubbed ‘the new smoking.’ As a result, standing desks have become popular in workspaces, but this is no substitute for physical exercise such as a short walk, which forces you to move and increases your heart rate.
How many times a week should I exercise?
So, just how much exercise do people need to get to maintain their health and happiness?
Current physical activity guidelines advise that adults, both young and old, should be active for at least 30 minutes per day. This refers to moderate activity, where you may be breathing a little faster than normal but can still hold a conversation with someone.
No motivation to workout? Here’s how to start exercising!
According to lifestyle medicine expert Dr Darren Morton, when he gives presentations on becoming more physically active and explains to the audience that they should be active for at least 30 minutes per day, some people appear astonished at the thought. When he observes this reaction, he instantly tells them that they only need to exercise for five minutes and watches relief flood over their faces. He then concludes, “And if after the five minutes of exercise, you feel like it, go for another 25 minutes.”
Dr Morton’s ‘five-minute’ tip is a great strategy for increasing the amount of physical activity that you do. Chances are that once you start moving and feel the endorphin rush, you are more likely to continue with the workout.
Other strategies that sedentary people might employ include taking the stairs instead of the lift, parking further away from where they want to go, or simply getting up for a five-minute walk six times a day.
For more tips on how to increase both your health and wellbeing, check out Dr Morton’s book, Live More Happy: Scientifically Proven Ways to Lift Your Mood and Your Life.