Feeling uninspired about working out lately or don’t know how to make exercise a part of your routine? This post is for you. I know how hard it can be to motivate yourself to exercise, especially if you don’t feel like it. Once you find something you love and make it a habit, it becomes enjoyable and something you look forward to doing!
You’ve probably heard the health benefits of regular physical activity — it can lower your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure, control your blood sugar, alleviate depression, and reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, arthritis, certain types of cancer (new research about reducing the risk of breast cancer) and type 2 diabetes. It can promote better sleep, improve your mood, give you energy, and have a positive effect on your sex life. For more benefits and details about how much to exercise, read more from the CDC.
Exercise is an essential part of self-care – whether it’s hiking, running, swimming, biking, dancing, or lifting weights (to name a few) – it’s good for you, it gives you time to yourself, and it’s a huge stress reliever! However, sometimes it can be hard to actually implement. I hope these tips help you prioritize working out, but ultimately it’s up to you to actually do it. I know that if you find something you love to do and make it part of your routine, you’ll give your body the self-love it needs to glow!
Do what you love. This may be the most important tip. If you don’t like it, you won’t do it. You want exercise to be a sustainable part of your life. Don’t like running? Don’t force yourself! Figure out what you love by trying different things. I heard a friend talk about her zumba classes a few years ago, so even though I wasn’t a fan of exercise classes at the time and I am not a dancer by any means, I figured I’d try it. I’m so glad I did! It’s one of my favorite ways to exercise and led me to other cardio classes that are now in my routine such as cardio hip-hop, toning classes, and plyojam (a dance-packed plyometric class). When you’re doing something you love, the time flies by and you enjoy doing it. Maybe you like to lift weights, kick-box, or hop on a bike – that’s great. Whatever works for you.
Switch it up. When you figure out what you love, keep mixing it up so you don’t get bored. Try different classes, change your running paths, or change the time of day you work out. It’s also good to get a mix of cardio and weight lifting.
The key is to experiment and figure out what you like so you’re more likely to stick with it
Set goals for yourself. Realistic goals. Check them off as you complete your goals and give yourself a reward (a hot bath, a manicure, a new pair of running shoes, or whatever sounds good to YOU).
Start small and work up. Instead of setting out to workout every day if you’ve never done that, set a goal to exercise 1-2 days per week and do it consistently. You’ll build self-confidene and learn what works and what doesn’t. Slowly increase the intensity or length of your work outs and you’ll hit your goals before you know it!
Schedule it in and prioritize it. I literally write my workouts in my calendar each week so nothing else gets scheduled during those times. Even if you only have time for a 20 minute walk at lunch, before work, or after you make dinner, just do it. Working out is not an all-or-nothing thing. Every minute you can move your body benefits your health.
Make exercise a part of your routine and sneak it in whenever you can
Push yourself… even if you don’t feel like it, push yourself to workout. As they say, ‘no one ever regrets a workout’. When I was feeling my worst many years ago, I would push myself to go outside and walk around the block (probably about a 1/4 of a mile). It wasn’t much, but I got some fresh air and got my lymphatic system moving. I worked my way up to longer distances as I felt better. Now when I don’t feel my best, I still try to go for walks, even short ones. Every little bit helps! That said, don’t force it if you really can’t work out. If you have injuries, try low impact (swimming, walking, yoga, cycling and others). If you feel really tired or experience joint pain or changes in your cycle, you might be pushing too hard.
Give yourself rest days. Don’t forget to give yourself days where you take it easy or just do very gentle exercise. Your body needs rest days to recover and repair. You’re not as likely to keep exercising if you’re working out like a maniac and making yourself crazy.
Workout with a friend, join a team, or get involved in a community. Exercising with a partner gives you that extra motivation to actually go through your workouts. Joining teams or communities helps you feel connected towards a common goal (finishing that bootcamp hour, for example) and you’re more likely to stick with it.
Make exercise the easy choice – prep your pre-workout snacks, set out your clothes, or pack a gym bag
Make playlists. This is a HUGE one for me. The right kind of music can literally pump me up, get me grooving, and push me to run/dance/bike/lift harder. Do you use Pandora? A few of my favorite Pandora stations for working out are: i-Workout, Today’s Hits, Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire, Janet Jackson, and Justin Timberlake. I also just found this list of “12 Secret Pandora Workout Stations” which looks perfect.
Get some new gear. Buying a new pair of sneakers, tennis racket, climbing gear, or even just cute workout clothes can give you extra motivation to get out there and use it!
Think about how you feel after a workout. I know that I feel great after exercising, so when I don’t feel like getting up and doing anything, I think about how good I feel when it’s done. I think about how much energy I get from working out, how it helps with detoxification, and how much better I’ll sleep.
Exercise everywhere and anywhere. You can literally exercise anywhere. Don’t belong to a gym? Workout at home, pop in a DVD, dance in your bathroom, jog the stairs at work, or do squats while you’re waiting for your water to boil. Get creative and remember that it all adds up!
A note for those with chronic health problems: If you have problems with fatigue, exercise can be hard. Listen to your body. If the mood strikes, take advantage of it and do as much as you can. Start small, discuss it with your doctor, and be gentle. Make sure to eat beforehand so you don’t feel lightheaded, go slow, and enjoy.
Check out my Exercise Pinterest Board for more inspiration, videos, playlists, and at-home workouts.
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