So you want to exercise and look good, or just to get your BMI down to where it should be? You might be motivated the first week but then you’d rather sleep late or spend time with the family in front of the television. Whatever excuse you come up with, they will always be just that – an excuse to not exercise! So how do you stay motivated for the rest of the year? How do you keep that motivation going? I’d like to share one simple ‘trick’ – or one simple approach to exercise that might just keep you motivated. There is one little key factor for me to get myself to exercise regularly and I thought I would share it.
Why exercise at all?
Why would you even want to exercise – isn’t it just a nicer word for ‘torture’? You could see it that way, or you could see it the way that science does. You have to exercise, in some way or another. I’m not going to go into the biology/science of exercise here but you should be aware that if you don’t exercise, it can be (and is) very bad for your health. Your muscles and bones and heart even, all need some exercise – even your brain. Having said that, it doesn’t need to be a chore. I think that most people see it that way and that’s what I’d like to change a little. See it differently and you might be surprised at the results.
What exercise do I do?
When I was young, as in still in school between about 12 and 18 years old, I did almost every kind of sport there is. I played tennis, squash, cricket, soccer, rugby and even cycled, surfed and skateboarded. My body was like a well oiled machine! (LOL, no not really but I think you get the picture – I was “as fit as a fiddle”.) Nowadays, between work and home life, there is literally no time to go out and spend the day skateboarding or surfing – coming to think of it, my body probably wont handle the pounding from skateboarding anymore (that is one sport where I fell the hardest!).
So because the pace of live has become so hectic and I now have my own family, exercise has not been my main focus. Although, I thought that I would start something which the whole family could do. And because I enjoyed cycling so much as a teen, I decided to get us all a bicycle! I didn’t initially do this as part of an exercise plan, I did it purely for the fun and enjoyment of it.
As you will see, we don’t do road cycling. It’s full-on mountain biking – dirt, mud, dust, steep uphills and fast downhills! This might clearly not be your thing, but that’s not the point. I like the thrills of mountain biking and being a tech-junkie, I really enjoy the latest gadgets on the market for mountain biking. Apart from that, when we go riding, I enjoy the family outing aspect of it all – getting up early, preparing our goodies the night before, driving to the venue and the picnics we have afterwards on the grass!
Being somewhat of an extremist, I always find myself pushing the boundaries of my not-so-young-and-fit-anymore body! Although, this part of the adventure is what I enjoy and what really motivates me to get going and to exercise!
Now, I’m not saying that you should go and buy a bicycle, start mountain biking and fetch your first Downhill Championship medal! Although, there are some crazy goons out there that would probably mountain bike on Mars if they could. But if you want to start mountain biking professionally, more power to you! I am only telling you my story of mountain biking to try and motivate you to exercise, because this is what motivated me, big time! This has led me to a number of things that I’ve come to discover about what motivates people to exercise. Mounting biking motivated me to exercise because of a few things: family time, fun, gadgets, speed, adventure, thrills, adrenaline, cool bicycles, tricks, outdoors etc.
How to Stay Motivated to Exercise
When I go mountain biking, I don’t think ‘exercise’. I think of a fun day out with the family, or friends. I am not motivated to exercise, I am motivated to go and do what I enjoy! If you put me on an exercise bike in the gym, I’d totally lose all my motivation! But it’s the same thing right? Not to me, it doesn’t motivate me to exercise. I am simply motivated by the outdoor activity, the tech-gadgets, the family time and adventure of it all. Not to mention the fun aspect! I find the thrill of the downhill speed off-road an extreme adventure (not so much the uphill!). So to summarize it for you:
Find something you really enjoy doing
I also enjoy radio controlled models (cars and helicopters) but this doesn’t give me any exercise! So when I say find something you enjoy doing, I mean find something that involves physical activity – there is little point in standing still and not moving much! I also enjoy paint balling so this is something that you might want to do. Although, you would need to behave like a soldier on the field, running, rolling, ducking, sprinting, diving etc.! Think of something… I know you can – only you know what you enjoy!
Find something that you’re relatively good at
This might seem a bit odd but hear me out… If you went out for the first time on your new exercise venture and you came back with broken bones, would you be looking forward to the next ‘exercise session’? I’m not saying that you need to be a superstar or professional at this exercise, but just make sure that it won’t kill that motivation of yours. Personally, I know that my past mountain bike fails won’t stop me… I just don’t want you coming back here and venting your anger because I told you to go freestyle rock-climbing and you fell (or whatever). Finding something that you’re good at, will actually motivate you to want to go and ‘exercise’. Nobody enjoys doing something that they suck at!
Make time for your new activity
Let’s face it, time is not usually on our side. If we simply just sit back and say that we don’t have any time, we’ll never get anything done. You need to make time to enjoy your new activity (I call it this because it sounds better than exercise!). Make a plan to do this every week, or at least twice a month – whatever suits your schedule. Then, stick to it!
One thing that I would just like to point out again, is that as human beings with bodies, we need to exercise. Just like with eating properly, exercise should be part of a healthy lifestyle. So even if you find something that is not ideal, do it anyway – for yourself and your family. Don’t become a couch potato! You don’t even need to do something outdoors – you can even find motivation in having your own personal gym at home (weights, treadmills, exercise bikes etc.)
Tell me what you have started and how this has worked out for you! What is your exercise story?
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