As we move further away from January and our New Year's Resolutions, and are in what feels like a never ending national lockdown with no access to gyms or competitions to keep us motivated, how can you stay motivated to exercise and reach your exercise goals?
Here are 5 ways of maintaining motivation to exercise this winter.
1. Set a realistic goal
Set yourself a goal. Whether this is to exercise twice a week, complete a 5k run or go for a swim once a week, setting yourself a goal to work towards really helps focus your attention and increase motivation. There are some key things to remember though when setting a goal. It is important that this goal is realistic, do not set a goal that is unachievable for example going to the gym 7 days a week – few have time for this, nor is it healthy! Add a timescale to your goal so you have a focus to complete it in a set timeframe, you do not want the goal to drag on through winter and in to spring, this too could cause you to lose motivation. Finally, make it specific to you and measurable, how are you going to know you’ve achieved it? For example, improving your 5k personal best by 1 second over an 8-week period would be a realistic goal.
2. Add variety to your exercise routine
Add variety to your exercise routine to avoid monotony. I don’t think any of us would become bored from riding our horses but that is because we have a varied routine with them. Some days we hack, other days we school (either flat or jump) and then other days we could be taking them out to competition. For both horse and rider this variety keeps us interested. However, if we were only to hack the same route day-in day-out it would become very boring very quickly. It is exactly the same when it comes to exercise out of the saddle for example running. This could become boring over time if you run the same route every time or solely just run as your form of exercise twice a week.
In adding variety, for example completing a run one day and an exercise circuit the next, you are more likely to stay motivated, interested, and most importantly enjoying exercise. The other benefit of adding variety to your exercise routine is you will reduce the risk of overuse injuries in areas such as the knees or skins for example from high volumes of road running.
Think outside the box, with the help of technology you can facetime your friend and complete a circuit workout together from the comfort of your front room.
3. Exercise with someone
Exercising with someone else is much more fun than doing it alone so grab a friend, partner, or family member to help keep you motivated. If you want to go to an exercise class having someone you know there is a great way to not only keep you motivated to go but also give you confidence. Think outside the box, with the help of technology you can facetime your friend and complete a circuit workout together from the comfort of your front room.
4. Reward yourself
Praise yourself when you do complete your exercise goals for that week, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to something you enjoy like a glass of wine or a chocolate bar (everything in moderation remember). Knowing you have a set reward will keep you motivated.
In adding variety, for example completing a run one day and an exercise circuit the next, you are more likely to stay motivated, interested, and most importantly enjoying exercise.
5. Create a routine: set aside a time for exercise
Create time in your routine that works for you and your lifestyle. Make it realistic, there is no point in setting yourself a goal of getting out of bed at 5am to go to the gym if you know that you struggle to get out of bed in the morning. If your schedule varies on a weekly basis make time to sit down at the start of your week and plan when you are going to exercise. To help guide you even more you could stick the plan of the week somewhere around your house as a visual reference. Choose an exercise type that also fits in with your lifestyle, do not plan to complete a one-hour bike ride if you know you have a busy week, choose a core strength routine instead, or a lunchtime walk.
About the Author
Hi, my name is Rosa. I am a Sport Scientist and work with elite athletes in an University setting. I have an MSc from Loughborough University in Exercise Physiology and have researched equestrian athletes. I use scientific research to help produce my content so you can be sure that what I am producing is factually and scientifically correct! If you want to know about me and my journey to this point please have a look at my About page.