Updated: Dec 6, 2020
As someone who just commenced their fitness journey, it may seem infeasible to expect oneself to workout every day of the week for the rest of their life. Their hopes are set to an all time high with most expecting themselves to be capable of holding ten one minute planks, doing 500 sit-ups, jogging one mile, doing 20 pushups, and integrating in a bonus of 30 lunges in their first week of exercising. The truth is people are not machines and, most of the time, when someone thinks this way, they begin to lose motivation to exercise and ineluctably hit a plateau. They cannot imagine themselves dedicating so much time to just seeing themselves lose a couple of pounds or tone up a little more. But, what most people tend to forget is that there is no one way to exercise. The following are some tips for how one can stay encouraged to continue their fitness journey:
1. Start by setting goals
One should attempt to organize their day ahead of time and plan out their workouts. Sometimes, people need to dedicate some time out of their day to prepare their mindsets for physical activity. If they do not, they could run the risk of overworking themselves, and then later giving up on the idea of exercising as a whole. By creating goals, they are setting themselves up for success because not only are they prepping their mind beforehand to knock out a workout session, but they are also allowing themselves to set realistic goals. In reality, when one says that they will complete a two-hour cardio workout at 5:30 am, they are asking to be overcome by hopelessness. One cannot expect their body to expeditiously adapt from a decent length workout to an extreme level of cardio. Instead, one should pace themselves. People should start small with their goals and then gradually take their expectations to the next level as they progress.
2. Do not feel forced
Exercising is supposed to be an activity that one genuinely enjoys. People who start their fitness journey should look forward to becoming healthy, not dread it. If one forces themselves to exercise, yes, they may notice signs of improvement, but they lack true happiness in getting fit. They begin to perceive exercise as a means to reach results, but not as a hobby that they find pleasure in doing. People do themselves no good if they feel forced to exercise. Sooner or later, they are going to forget the reason why they started in the first place and commence to associate health and fitness with negative thoughts such as restrictive diets and hours of exhaustive circuits. Alternatively, people should try to implement activities that they find interesting and are inclined to dedicate their time for. When one starts off plausibly, they will slowly get the hang of working out for the set duration of time that they took out of their day, and as they grow comfortable doing their preferred exercises for the given time that they chose, they could even feel capable of extending their time exercising. Exercising could start to feel entertaining so much so that they may find themselves appreciating the workout more than they think. Physical activity does not have to be constrained to planks and burpees, but rather adding a twist to one’s workout routine gives each person free rein in how they want to exercise. If people want to try something new such as kickboxing or a Zumba class, they have every right to do so. Whatever works for one person does not mean that it has to work for others as well.
3. Keep the idea of maintaining a healthy lifestyle in mind
According to the National Health Service (NHS) of England, “[exercising] can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.” On top of that, daily physical movement can reduce signs of obesity by lowering body fat count, and it can improve muscle and bone strength. Informing oneself about the advantages of exercising can be enough to motivate someone to continue working out or even influence someone to turn to a healthier lifestyle. When people consider the benefits that will come their way by choosing to exercise for their good, they are increasing their chances of living a longer life. Moreover, not only does exercising improve one's physical appearance but it also emotionally enhances a person’s mindset and learning capabilities. As Dr. Greg Wells, a scientist in Translational Medicine, explains, staying active allows for the stimulation of new neurons from the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) protein, which amplifies learning skills in the brain. On the same note, body movement allows for a significant reduction of anxiety in individuals as well as depression. It can lower the amount of time that one needs to be on antidepressant medication, thus improving the overall well-being of the person.
Overall, it is widely known that exercising carries countless benefits alongside it. Everything from further enhancements in brain development to a lower risk in obesity have been scientifically proven by many. However, it is understandable for someone to find reasons to lose motivation to continue their fitness journey. Everyone is human and has their ups and downs. But, if one tries their hardest to not quit and makes changes to where they feel are needed, then the efforts that they make to better their lifestyle will be greatly felt.