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Women's health

Tips For Staying Motivated to Exercise

by | Sep 5, 2022 | Lifestyle

Struggling to stay motivated with your exercise routine?

Exercise is a task that should take up a regular slot in everyone’s schedule. Yet, it’s one of the first tasks to drop off the never-ending to-do list when life is busy making other plans.

Whether hitting the gym for a daily workout is replaced with work commitments, entertaining the kids, or watching one more episode of whatever Netflix program you’re bingeing; at the end of the day your ability to exercise comes down to what drives you to stay motivated.

How motivated are you to commit to an exercise program or fitness routine?

Everyone has their own fitness journey and set of fitness goals. Some women sport the workout gear and partake in physical activity to lose weight. Other women attend fitness classes as a form of sports medicine to gain more energy for everyday life.

There’s no wrong or right answer when finding what works to stay motivated with a fitness program, but arming yourself with tips for staying motivated to exercise may help!

Motivation

But first, why is regular exercise important for women?

Regular physical activity helps women to stay physically and mentally healthy by:

  • reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease

  • helping to manage health conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease

  • maintaining or improving blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels

  • reducing the risk of some cancers

  • preventing unhealthy weight gain and helping with losing weight

  • maintaining strong muscles and bones

  • creating opportunities for socialisation and meeting new people

How much physical activity is required for women to maintain good health?

For women aged 18 to 64, weekly exercise is recommended in the forms of:

  • 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity, such as a brisk walk, swimming, yoga, or golf

  • 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity, such as jogging, spin class, aerobics, soccer, or netball

  • or, a combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity to the equivalent timeframe

Plus, additional strength training for at least 2 days each week. This can include lifting weights, barbell training, or movements like squats, lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups.

Passive recovery

Set specific and realistic goals

Results from a review of studies on the effects of goal setting on performance show that in 90% of the studies, specific and challenging goals led to better performance when compared to easy goals, “do your best” goals, or no goals.

While it’s important to set realistic goals, it’s equally important to set specific goals to maintain motivation and stick to your plans of achieving them. Whether it’s your dream to run a marathon, gain more energy, or work on strengthening your muscles, make your goals specific and realistic to your lifestyle.

The thing with goals is that they’re a long term commitment, and there are no shortcuts. To maintain motivation to exercise: write your fitness-oriented goals on a page and stick them on your fridge or bathroom mirror. By seeing your goals daily, you’ll be more focussed on working towards the daily steps you can take to achieve them.

Passive recovery

Work out your outcome and process

There’s no value in establishing great fitness goals for them to aimlessly float in thin air without a course of action. To stay motivated with your fitness routine, you’re going to need a solid plan of how you’re going to make it happen.

If the outcome is the ideal result, the process is the method to get you there. Whether that’s to hit the gym four times each week, or reaching your daily 10,000 step count goal.

For example:

If the outcome of your health goal is to lose weight, your process may be to sign up to a local gym and attend three workouts per week over the course of 12-months.

Identify your blockers

Your blockers are the things standing in your way, preventing you from taking the daily small steps towards achieving your goal. To stay motivated to exercise, it’s wise to have a clear idea of your blockers.

Ask yourself:

  • What limitations make it difficult for you to stay motivated to exercise?

  • What behaviours might make it difficult for you to workout?

  • Who might make it difficult for you to continue exercising regularly?

  • What mindset may affect your motivation to hit the gym or a training session?

When you’re aware of your personal blockers, you can remove their power and work to plan around them.

For example:

If you know your television is a big distraction preventing you from reaching the gym in the mornings, self-impose a ban on watching TV until after midday.

Take advantage of technology

These days, the power of technology transpires meal delivery services and asking Google to play your favourite playlists. If watching TV on a stationary bike is the key to motivate you to stay active, roll with it. If social media platforms motivate you to get your body moving, roll with it.

Or, go all out and purchase a fitness tracker in the form of a smart watch to boost motivation via prompts, self-monitoring, and goal setting. Wearable activity trackers allow users to monitor activity levels and offer an alternative method of motivation to stay physically active.

In fact, research suggests fitness trackers are likely to increase physical activity. So, if you want to stay motivated to exercise, get a smartwatch on your wrist and watch your health improve.

Be open to a new type of fitness routine

Staying motivated to exercise can be as simple as changing up your fitness routine. When you switch things up, you’re keeping workouts fun and fresh, and that’s bound to make you feel good. When you feel good exercising, you’re more likely to stick with your routine week in, week out.

For example:

Working up a sweat at spin class four times a week? Why not throw in a yoga session or book that belly dancing class you’ve contemplated for years?

Find ways to stay accountable

When you take ownership of something – an item, an idea, or a goal – you are more committed to it. If staying active is a priority in your life, finding ways to stay accountable will help you to cement in healthy habits.

If you’re planning to exercise to lose weight or improve heart health, let your partner, friends, and family know about it. Your immediate circle can help to keep you on track and provide the extra push when you start to slip.

Alternatively, a good personal trainer can deliver a wealth of benefits in keeping you accountable to staying physically active. Ask around in your social circles or community groups for the best PT in your neighbourhood.

Take your fitness workouts outdoors

Research has shown that time spent outdoors in nature can lower your blood pressure and cortisol levels, while providing a sense of calm and focus. Additionally, the sunshine you receive when working out in a local park helps to improve Vitamin D and energy levels. The common link here, is that all these perks of exercising outdoors will make you feel good and more likely to workout more often.

Looking for inspiration to exercise outdoors? Start by walking your dog, switching your mode of transport to cycling, and seeking out nearby hiking trails to really get the heart rate thumping.

Join a local club or take group classes

Joining a local gym offers benefits beyond looking good in a swimsuit. Studies have shown that women who become members at a gym develop a strong sense of belonging to a community while enjoying the socialisation and comradery included as a bonus of working out in group classes.

When you surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are working towards a similar goal to exercise, chances are you’re going to want to be around them more often, even if your catch ups involve squats and burpees. Joining a gym truly is a win-win for your fitness motivation and your social life.

Reward yourself

Rewarding yourself as you reach important milestones in your fitness journey may be the extra push you need to stay motivated to work out. As you pass one milestone and progress towards the next, you’ll feel the excitement rise with the prospect of a new reward. This may cause you to hustle even harder to reap your reward sooner.

Rewards could involve a massage treatment, new workout clothes, a dinner date with your friend, or a weekend away with your partner. Be as generous as you like – you know what drives you to succeed, and you should maximise on that for your own healthy benefit.

For example:

After you’ve completed the recommended daily amount of exercise for one full month, splurge on some new workout clothes.

Find a workout buddy

Research suggests that people exercise for longer when they workout with family members and friends when compared to those who train alone. And, we’re not going to argue with science.

If you’re willing to push your friendships further, organise yourself and your friends to sign up to a fitness app that will see you all working out in a little friendly competition that is bound to spark up your motivation for more regular gym sessions.

Need we even state that friends who workout together, can drink more wine together? It’s basically a given.

Engage in positive self-talk

What the mind believes, the mind achieves. So, be your own cheer squad, and skip the doubtful, negative self-talk. Make a habit of giving yourself a pep talk before an exercise session, replacing “I can’t” with “I can”, and watch the benefits stream on in.

We’re here to help

For self-managed healthcare backed by an established team of medical experts, hub.health is here for all your birth control, sexual health, skin care, and everyday health needs. Take control of your health and start a consult today!

Sources

“Transtheoretical Model – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.” Sciencedirect.com, 2009, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/nursing-and-health-professions/transtheoretical-model.

Locke, E. A., Shaw, K. N., Saari, L. M., & Latham, G. P. (1981). Goal setting and task performance: 1969–1980. Psychological Bulletin, 90(1), 125–152. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.90.1.125

Currie, Janet L. “Women’s Expressed Motivational Factors for Participation in Aquarobics Classes.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 19,9 5274. 26 Apr. 2022, doi:10.3390/ijerph19095274

Romain, Ahmed Jerôme et al. “Matched or nonmatched interventions based on the transtheoretical model to promote physical activity. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Journal of sport and health science vol. 7,1 (2018): 50-57. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2016.10.007

Barte, Jeroen C M, and G C Wanda Wendel-Vos. “A Systematic Review of Financial Incentives for Physical Activity: The Effects on Physical Activity and Related Outcomes.” Behavioral medicine (Washington, D.C.) vol. 43,2 (2017): 79-90. doi:10.1080/08964289.2015.1074880

Dunton GF, Berrigan D, Ballard-Barbash R, Graubard BI, Atienza AA. Environmental influences on exercise intensity and duration in a U.S. time use study. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2009 Sep;41(9):1698-1705. DOI: 10.1249/mss.0b013e3181a06c9b. PMID: 19657302.

Brickwood, Katie-Jane et al. “Consumer-Based Wearable Activity Trackers Increase Physical Activity Participation: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” JMIR mHealth and uHealth vol. 7,4 e11819. 12 Apr. 2019, doi:10.2196/11819

Australian Government Department of Health. “Physical Activity and Exercise Guidelines for All Australians.” Australian Government Department of Health, 14 Jan. 2021, www.health.gov.au/health-topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/physical-activity-and-exercise-guidelines-for-all-australians/for-adults-18-to-64-years.

Written for Women’s Health Week, September 2022.

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