The Science Behind Finding the Motivation to Excercise
You’re probably familiar with all the amazing benefits of regular, consistent exercise. It lowers blood pressure, reduces your risk of disease, improves mental health and helps you live a longer, happier life. Why, then, is it so hard to actually get up and get moving?
More than 80 percent of Americans don’t exercise as much as they should, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Among those ages 65 to 74, two-thirds are not physically active. So the next time you’re tempted to make excuses and skip your workout, try one of these science-based strategies to get moving.
Stop making exercise about how you look
“Instead of, ‘I want to lose 10 pounds,’ a better goal is, ‘I’m going to exercise on Mondays and Thursdays at 11 a.m.,’ ” Markman says.
Find something you enjoy
Exercise doesn’t have to mean sweating in the gym or endless treadmill time. How about hiking a local greenway, taking a dance class or volunteering to walk dogs at the local animal shelter?
Become an early bird
Scientists have determined that we have a finite amount of daily willpower that is drained by decisions and activities throughout the day. To counter that, plan to work out in the morning, before your willpower is depleted and before life can get in the way.
Have a plan B
Expect setbacks, but instead of letting them get you down, Markman recommends making a contingency plan.
One study found that the shorter the distance to the gym, the more likely members were to go.
Make it social
If you’ve heard it before, that’s because research shows it works: You’re more likely to exercise consistently if you work out with other people.