Motivation to Exercise

Motivation to Exercise Tips and Studies – Nancy

Exercise is good for you but how to find the motivation to exercise?

Exercise helps you live longer, defeat depression, eat healthier, and just generally feel better.  But it’s not easy to get going.  Everybody pretty much knows that, too.  Exercise takes motivation that is hard to maintain, and you have to keep exercising, not just do it every once in a while.

A recent article in Scientific American lists a few tips for improving your motivation to exercise and keeping up with an exercise program.  They suggest:

  • Make it social – exercising together with a friend or group makes it easier to continue if you encourage each other.
  • Choose a good starting date – such as your birthday or the first day of spring. These launch dates will help you get going and keep going.
  • Set tough goals – but let yourself off the hook if you don’t always meet them. Leave a bit of “wiggle room” in your tough goal.
  • Make yourself keep going for at least a month – studies show that 28 days is a minimum for establishing a new habit, so mark that date on the calendar and keep going!

The University of Pennsylvania has launched a series of studies into behavioral motivation for exercise and fitness in the hopes of developing an evidence-based approach to more effectively help people get in the exercise habit.  Teaming up with 24 Hour Fitness, and using their new 24Go custom coaching app, the scientists are looking at how people can be encouraged to stick with their exercise program for a month – the minimum time that studies show is necessary to create and engrain a new habit.

Anyone can sign up on the Step Up site, a not-for-profit program that helps people develop and learn their own custom exercise routine.  Using the downloadable app, users get personalized recommendations for exercise depending on their circumstances, whether on a business trip, staying home with sick kids, or whatever else life throws at you.

Once registered on Step Up, your input is used to develop models of behavioral motivation that can be studied to improve knowledge about how people exercise.  At present, they are studying fifty-seven different variants of data produced in the laboratory to test how they work in real life, helping people establish the exercise habit.

What works for you?  Share your tips in the comments below!