By: Devin Riggs, Regular Contributor
I can’t count the number of times I’ve started a workout routine with good intentions only to find myself losing motivation and interest days or, at most, weeks later. Sometimes it’s simply because I get lazy. I make excuses for why I don’t really need to exercise, or I convince myself there are more important things to do with my day. With my limited finances, I’ve never been able to afford a gym membership or take classes regularly. I’ve tried running, yoga DVDs, and in-home weight lifting as well. I want to stay fit but nothing hooks me, and it’s frustrating.
So many of my friends have found success in their workout regimens. Why can’t I?
When I was growing up, playing soccer was my main form of exercise, and I’ve always loved spending my weekends outside kicking the ball around with my friends. Last week, after over a year off, I started playing again. With two games under my belt, already I’ve realized the most important aspects of exercising and staying healthy.
1. You need a support system.
I definitely believe that it’s more effective if you exercise with someone else. It’s easier to stay motivated. You can challenge each other to expand your comfort zone. Someone is with you in the work out keeping you focused. My friends have found a community in which they can celebrate successes and continue to improve their workouts. I have found that very support in the many soccer teams I’ve played for over the years. We are a team with common goals, and each one of my teammates inspires me to work harder and play better.
Even if you exercise on your own, it’s important that you surround yourself with people who support your goals and can help you when you hit a rut or are struggling to break through to the next level or even maintain a steady pace.
2. Find something you love to do.
Most of my struggle has been rooted in forcing myself into activities that don’t suit my interests. Running and lifting weights is great for some people, but for me, I need a different kind of challenge. Soccer is more than just running. It has concepts and strategies that distract me from the fact that I’m exercising. I also really enjoy dancing, which gets my body moving and grooving at least once a week, but it doesn’t feel like a chore.
Whether it’s hiking, pilates, lifting weights, tennis, football, rock climbing, or dance…find an activity that excites you and challenges you. It may take a while to find an activity that gets your blood pumping, but there’s one out there. Introduce yourself to new experiences or, like me, revisit old interests.
3. Healthy exercise is different for everyone.
What works for me, might not work you. Some people love to start each morning with a long run, others want the support of a personal trainer, and still others prefer individual or team sports to keep them active. We are all different. We all have different needs. We are all motivated differently. I still have to constantly remember not to compare my journey to someone else’s.
No matter what works for you, create and maintain a strong support system to keep you on track. Remember that not everyone gets the same joy or success out of the same activities and routines. The most important thing is just to stay active. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and do what you love.
Let's chat! How do you motivate yourself to exercise? What's your favorite workout? Tell us about it here!
Devin has a degree in education with a focus in English. She is working to publish her first collection of poetry while also learning the art of patience. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.
image via hudsonvalleysportsreport.com