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How to motivate yourself to start exercising

Exercise and Eating Well

Starting is the hardest part because it’s when you’ll be most unfit.

It’s going to be hard work, and you’re going to want to crash out on the couch in the evening and not go for that run, but stick with it and you will reap the benefits.

Tips on getting started:

  • Start slow – if your fitness levels aren’t great, don’t sign up for next week’s marathon. Taking on too much too soon can be stressful and you can end up feeling more unfit than you really are. Start with a brisk walk or run or some simple stretches and gradually build up from there. When it gets easier, increase the time and intensity of what you’re doing.
  • Do something you enjoy – while it might seem like a good idea to join an aerobics class, if it’s not something you’ll enjoy, you’ll find it harder to stick with. Try and tie exercise in with your interests, like joining a salsa class if you’re into dancing.
  • Work it into a routine – some people just don’t like gyms, no matter how hard they try. Exercise classes leave them cold and tread mills give them nightmares. If you’re one of these people, you might be better off trying to exercise in a way that fits into your daily life. For example, cycle rather than take the bus, or start walking home from work. That way you’ll be getting a daily dose of exercise, without really having to change your routine.
  • Exercise with a friend – you might have more fun that way. You could try walking together, going for a run or for a swim. Having someone else around may help to motivate you. A healthy dose of competition can help you push yourself that bit further.
  • Make it fun – being active shouldn’t be a chore. Kick a football with friends, play tennis, go for a walk while listening to music or take the dog out. Playing a team sport is also a good way to meet new people. 

Check out our articles Why exercise? and How to make an exercise plan? for more.