5 Reasons Why You Can’t Get Motivated to Exercise & How to Overcome Them

Can’t get motivated to exercise? You’re not alone! As rewarding as it may be, many people struggle to start exercising on a regular basis. Changing your daily routine is challenging, and with so many seasoned gym-goers around, it can be intimidating too. The truth is, incorporating movement into your life is difficult. But with just a few small adjustments in mindset and routine, you can overcome these difficulties and enjoy a healthier and happier lifestyle. 

Why Is It So Hard to Motivate Myself to Exercise?

Everyone knows that exercise is great for your wellbeing. It releases endorphins that fill you with energy, vitality and a natural high that can help you get through the day. It can also help to clear your mind of stress and worry, and has been shown to make symptoms of depression more manageable. What’s more, you can even expect to sleep better when you exercise regularly. If you choose to work out with others, join a gym or participate in team sports, you will also improve your social life. While the benefits are numerous, motivation won’t always come naturally. There are many things that will get in the way of exercising. Thankfully, there are strategies you can use to overcome these hurdles.

1. You Don’t Know Where to Begin

If you’ve never had a structured exercise regime before, it can be very difficult to get started. You might be intimidated by gym experts who know exactly how to use all that sophisticated equipment. This is perfectly understandable, and a challenging feeling to overcome. One solution is to redefine how you understand exercise. Begin by going for long walks or bike rides. Go dancing or join a sports team. Start with forms of movement that are more familiar to you, and then build to more challenging stuff as you gain confidence. It can also be useful to visit your doctor first, and get evaluated on your strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. This evaluation will guide you as you create a safe and beneficial exercise regime.

2. It Doesn’t Fit Into Your Lifestyle 

In the modern age, many of us are comfortable with a lifestyle that doesn’t involve a lot of movement. We work at a computer, and go home to watch TV, play video games or scroll through social media. These activities aren’t necessarily bad, and can be important and fulfilling aspects of our lives. But they don’t make it easy to exercise. If this lifestyle describes your comfort zone, it might be time to implement more movement in your daily routine. Walk to a bus stop that’s further away, or take the stairs instead of an escalator. 

3. It Seems Difficult

An obvious reason to avoid exercise is because it seems hard. Not only does it look physically difficult, but many people think of it as boring, repetitive and pointless. If you continue to think of exercise in a negative way, you’ll never find the motivation required to get moving. Instead of using the word ‘exercise’, try thinking of it as ‘being active’ or ‘feeling healthy’. Rather than forcing yourself to complete a challenging, high-intensity workout on day one, give yourself the goal of moving in ways you enjoy. You should also keep in mind that you don’t have to love exercise. Putting pressure on yourself to enjoy workouts can lead to disappointment and declining motivation. Instead, try to think about exercise the same way you think about brushing your teeth — you don’t love it, but it’s necessary, so you do it anyway. If you begin with this frame of mind, you might even come to enjoy it in your own time.

4. It Feels Like a Luxury Rather Than a Necessity 

A lot of people think of exercise as a luxury — something they’d love to do once they have the time and money. The truth is, exercise is necessary for good health and quality of life. It should be something you prioritise, rather than fall into once it’s convenient. Remember that movement doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be walking, hiking, throwing a ball around the park or using free guided workouts on Youtube. There’s also no pressure to get all your exercise done in one big chunk. It could be 5 or 10 minutes here and there, adding up to 30 minutes total for the day. 

5. The Negative Consequences Aren’t Immediate 

The consequences of avoiding exercise are not immediate, and this makes motivation so much harder. Most of us know that refusing to move our bodies can eventually lead to atrophy, back pain, poorer mental health, and an increased risk of experiencing things like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. But it’s hard to care about something that may happen in the future. Don’t feel bad about this — it’s perfectly natural. The best way to solve this problem is to make exercise mean something now. Your workouts need to have value that is totally separate from your fitness goals. It might mean quality time with friends. It could be the only time in the day that you truly get to yourself. It might be what you do to destress or pick yourself up. Find an immediate purpose in exercise, and you’ll have a much easier time staying motivated. For a little extra motivation, you can also prepare small rewards for yourself, like a new playlist, a massage or an episode of your favourite show.

How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

If you lack motivation, you will know that there is no quick fix. It might take quite a few of the techniques listed to get you in the groove. The plus side is that by acknowledging that you’re having difficulties, you’re already well on your way to leading a healthier life. The fact that you’ve sought out information shows that you care about your wellbeing and are willing to put in the work. The next step — completing the first day of your new lifestyle — will possibly be the most challenging, but also the most rewarding. As long as you are patient and willing to offer yourself support, you are capable of changing your life for the better. So good luck, and have fun!

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