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10 Exercise Incentives Supported by Science That Truly Make a Difference

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

The most challenging part of starting a fresh exercise routine is simply getting going. You may have the utmost of intentions, but external commitments, lack of energy, and not knowing where to begin can often hinder your progress. To become motivated to exercise (and maintain that motivation), you need a solid strategy, personal objectives, and techniques to keep your workout routine exciting.

To create an effective exercise routine tailored to you, keep these suggestions close by (and remember to incorporate rest days too!) These tips for workout motivation will help you move from the couch to either starting an at-home workout or going to the gym.

How to Begin

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Tip for workout motivation: If you require motivation to simply get started, comprehend that by merely engaging in a slight daily stroll, you can enhance your joint strength and reduce stress. Even a brief 10-minute walk will have benefits. Once you become comfortable with your walking routine, small triumphs such as extending the duration or speed of your walk will inspire you and maintain your momentum.

Record Your Objectives

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Tip for workout motivation: Construct a plan, and then pick up a pen. Research published in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology reveals that individuals who establish process goals, like a set number of weekly workouts, are more successful in maintaining their routines compared to those who solely focus on broader outcomes or have no specific fitness goals. They also experience less stress when it comes to fitting exercise into their lives. Schedule your gym time just as you would a professional meeting. “That way, when someone asks if you can meet at 5, you can genuinely respond, ‘Sorry, I have an appointment; how about 4 instead?'” advises Sherri McMillan, the proprietor of Northwest Personal Training in Vancouver, Washington.

Commence with Short Workouts

Tip for workout motivation: “Most people believe they need to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, which can appear daunting, but you can actually receive a more effective workout in just 20 minutes,” claims Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., author and retired chair of exercise science at Quincy College in Quincy, Massachusetts. The time-saving tip for workout motivation: intervals.

Try interchanging two minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise with two minutes of high-intensity intervals, as recommended by Westcott, for a straightforward-to-recall session. Still unable to find time for a 20-minute session at once? Perform one session of 10 to 15 minutes in the morning and another one after work.

Begin Your Fitness Journey at Home

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Tip for staying motivated to exercise: Instead of waiting for the opportunity to join an in-person exercise class, start off with a novice workout routine at home. Spice things up by exploring various preferred YouTube channels filled with complimentary exercise sessions. Alternatively, participate in our 30-day cardio HIIT challenge that can be accomplished at home without the need for any equipment.

Add Short Bursts of Physical Activity to Your Everyday Schedule

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Tip for staying motivated to exercise: One simple method to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine is to actively search for opportunities to use the staircase or take a few extra steps. Instead of waiting for the elevator at your workplace, invigorate yourself by opting for the stairs. Also, when locating a parking space, make a deliberate choice to find one that allows you to take a short walk before reaching your destination.

Change up Your Cardiovascular Workout

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Tip for staying motivated to exercise: Replace monotonous treadmill sessions with circuit training, as recommended by fitness expert Jim Karas, the author of The 7-Day Energy Surge. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, circuit training leads to the same improvement in cardiorespiratory capacity and muscular endurance as running for an equivalent duration, even with a lower heart rate during your high-intensity interval training routine. (And that is merely one advantage of circuit training!) Give Karas’s technique a try: Alternate between one-minute sets of upper- and lower-body exercises, taking a 30-second rest period in between, and use sufficient weight for each set so that your muscles reach fatigue after 10 repetitions.

Incorporate Intervals into Your Workout Regimen

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Tip for staying motivated to workout: Adding some speed to your regular workout sessions can help boost your enthusiasm. Research on elite athletes highlights the positive impact of interval training. Incorporating intermittent bursts of high intensity into long runs can make them more enjoyable and potentially lead to faster fitness gains. Changing up your music can also bring a fresh energy, whether you match your run to the beat or simply need a new playlist. Select your favorites from our top 170 workout songs to get pumped up for your next sweat session.

Boost Your Energy Levels with Moderate Exercise

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Tip for staying motivated to workout: Engaging in moderate-paced exercise can actually increase your energy levels compared to sitting it out. A study exploring the effects of consistent exercise on energy and fatigue discovered that moderate-intensity workouts improve feelings of tiredness, energy, and vitality. Similarly, a previous study conducted by the University of Georgia showed an energy boost in individuals with chronic fatigue who rode a stationary bike at a low intensity three times a week, compared to those who didn’t exercise. The same study found that this increased energy was maintained by the participants who continued exercising over a six-week period.

Bring a Friend Along

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Tip for staying motivated to workout: Working out with a companion can make your exercise time feel more enjoyable and pass by quickly. Additionally, having an exercise partner helps keep you accountable, ensuring you show up for each session. For added motivation, consider joining a local exercise group or class at your gym.

Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

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Tip for staying motivated to workout: Comparing yourself to others is one of the quickest ways to lose motivation for exercise. Instead, set realistic goals for yourself, start from where you are currently, and measure your progress against those personal objectives. By following this approach, you can develop a positive and sustainable relationship with exercise that will last a lifetime.

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