Exercising less than usual and struggling to find the motivation to get going? It’s time to talk “MOVE-tivation”!
Move-tivation is more than just motivation – it’s sticking to an exercise routine, overcoming that voice that says “I’ll do it tomorrow… or the day after.”
Psychologists have been studying how to ‘crack the code’ of maintaining a regular exercise routine – and we’ve broken the science down for you in these 5 steps.
We know we should exercise. But do we really understand why? As one of the most effective methods to promote healthy ageing, physical activity really takes the cake when it comes to maintaining good health. Exercise requires so many systems in your body to come together – and has positive effects which reach to almost every organ in your body.
- Improving functional fitness – muscle strength, balance, flexibility
- Reducing risk of chronic disease – such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer
- Improving overall health – increase bone mineral density, improve glycemic control and insulin sensitivity, and decrease blood pressure at rest,
- Improving mental health – boosting self-esteem, reducing anxiety and depression, and promoting better concentration, memory and overall cognitive functioning
Think about what you would like to see yourself doing in 1 month, 3 month, 6 months time. Is it walking for 30 minutes a day? Is it having the energy to play with the grandkids? Is it learning yoga? Visualise it in your mind, and take small steps to achieving it.
For example, if you would like to walk for 30 minutes, start with just walking for 5 minutes and keep increasing over time.
Give yourself rewards along the way (beyond the feel-good rewards exercising will bring). After exercising, follow up with an activity that you love – such as reading, or talking to family. Knowing this reward comes after will help you stick to your routine.
Ask a trusted friend or loved one to start an exercise routine too – even if you are both exercising in different households, suburbs, or states. You can even call each other to check in, or chat while you are going for a walk. There’s a scientific term for this – “helping relationships” – and there is no shame at all in asking a friend for help. You’d be helping them too!
Part of motivating ourselves to exercise is believing that we can – believing in ourselves, and knowing we can get up, jump onto an online exercise, and exercise away. But the state of the world at the moment – particularly in COVID stay-at-home restrictions – can make us feel hopeless, despairing.
We can boost our confidence through positive self-talk. Try repeating “I can and I will go for a walk/do an online class/insert your exercise here today.” You can even write it on a sticky note and leave it on your bathroom mirror.
Sometimes, we just forget to exercise. It happens! So, our advice is to leave little reminders for yourself throughout the house:
- Leave your walking shoes by the front door
- Put your exercise band and water bottle on the kitchen bench
- Print out your online exercise class schedule and leave it on your fridge, mirror, kitchen table
- Hang your exercise shirt on your door handle rather than putting it away
- Leave small weights near the couch
With equipment and reminders so accessible – you may even find yourself adding in some stretches or exercises while watching TV or waiting for the microwave to ding.
You do not have to leave these reminders out forever – just until your routine becomes a habit.