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  • Sheri Colberg, PhD

Stay Motivated to Be Active

Ever go to a fitness facility in January and then back in April? The difference in the number of people working out is tremendously fewer, even just a few months after most of them were all gung-ho about getting into shape in the new year. Why does this happen?

The most common reasons why people start and stop an exercise program are well documented: 1) a perceived lack of time, 2) exercise-related injuries, and 3) exercise is not fun (which often is due to starting at an exercise intensity that is too high for their fitness level). Lack of time (perceived or real) is likely the biggest stumbling block for people trying to adopt a new exercise regimen. You can overcome this barrier by deciding to stop thinking of exercise as a planned activity and instead try to move more throughout the day. You’ll be amazed at how much more active you will become and how little time you have to sacrifice to do it. Any movement you do increases the amount of energy that you expend in a day.

In fact, for most people, the majority of their calorie use during the day comes from unstructured activities rather than from a formal exercise plan. Just standing up for two hours a day more can expend upwards of 350 calories daily and may be the difference between remaining lean and gaining excess body weight.

To avoid becoming demotivated to exercise, try these strategies:

  • Fit exercise in whenever you can, even if it’s just for 10 minutes at a time

  • Schedule exercise time into your daily lives (and keep to that schedule)

  • Avoid getting injured by starting out at an appropriate exercise level (not too long or hard) and progressing slowly

  • Include stretching to help prevent injuries and balance exercises to prevent falls

  • Pick activities that you actually enjoy doing (like dancing) and do those to stay more engaged and motivated to be active

  • Keep your body in motion all day long in any way possible​

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