A workout isn’t one of those things you ever regret doing afterwards.
In fact, you can probably recall how good that revitalized, get-up-and-go boost of energy feels right after you’ve finished a session of hard exercise.
All those endorphins coupled with an increased heart rate from the extra blood that’s pumping through your veins made you feel pretty darn excellent, right?
It’s a physical reminder that you’ve just done something genuinely good for your body which is going to help you live longer and stay mentally more fit. Score.
So with all that in mind - why do so many of us still find it hard to motivate ourselves to get moving?
I mean, there’s no excuse as we’re bombarded with an ever-expanding amount of resources that preach the benefits of exercise to us all the time; from gyms to YouTube workouts, blog posts and official advice from health officials. None of us can truly feign ignorance - only the willful kind.
All that’s left then, is to offer a little encouragement from this end.
Here are five ways to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re feeling super lazy.
1. Create a “Habit Loop”
No matter your work style, most of us really do benefit from incorporating a little routine into our lives, and this extends to our exercise regimes too.
In fact, Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, recommends sticking to the same combination of behavior so your brain becomes used to the entire process and creates a neurological “habit loop”.
Speaking to Daily Burn he explained: “An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile.”
This may mean creating a cue to trigger your exercise, (i.e. putting your gym bag near the door every Tuesday), the routine (actually going to the gym), and then the reward (whatever you like!).
2. Try Group Exercise
If you’re the type of person who prefers exercising alone, bear in mind that many studies show that group workouts are actually more effective in general.
This is because being in a group environment creates feelings of accountability to others if you miss a class. It’s also thought groups motivate each other more with class participants working harder under the guidance of an instructor than when they go it alone.
Result? A better workout with more calories burnt!
3. Get Money Motivated
If you’re the type who’s motivated by the winning combination of cold, hard cash and accountability from others, the app Pact may be just what you need to get motivated.
All you have to do is login, make whatever “pact” you choose (whether that be to exercise, log your meals on MyFitnessPal, eat more vegetables, or attend your favorite class) and then select a certain amount that can be deducted from your card or PayPal account for each time you miss a goal ($5-$10).
If you achieve your aims (i.e. to go running five times a week), then you get paid a reward ranging from 30 cents to $5 per week as soon as you’ve earned $10. Your payout comes from a pool of money from those who didn’t make their pact.
It's great for those who enjoy that feeling of “winning” when they reach their goals. The app uses GPS, photos and other services to verify activities.
4. Picture the End Goal
What if each time you set out to exercise, you pictured yourself breaking your personal record before you’d even left the house? Would it encourage you to get moving? It’s thought that simply visualizing success can help you achieve your desired outcomes, as explained by motivational author Jack Canfield, creator of the world-famous Chicken Soup For The Soul book series. Canfield believes that when you simply imagine achieving things, great things happen.
On his blog, he says visualization techniques can activate your “creative subconscious” which will start generating creative ideas to achieve your goal.
He also believes it “programs your brain to more readily perceive and recognize the resources you will need to achieve your dreams”, activates the law of attraction and builds an internal motivation to encourage you keep going.
5. Remember the Stats
One 60-minute run can add seven hours to your life, according to research from a new review in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases that found that runners live, on average, three years longer than non-runners.
Not into running? How about the fact that HIIT training has been proven to reverse the signs of aging? Or that studies show that people who do regular physical activity can enjoy up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes and up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer than those who don’t?
Exercise boosts your brain to help you become more creative, with some research suggesting that there is a direct link between exercising is connected and earning 5-10% more in salary.
So with all that said, we should probably get moving right about now...
I’m Georgina. I’m 24 and I’m a writer, traveler, good eyebrow enthusiast (when they receive due care on the road that is), feminist and lots of other things besides. I’ve always had a travel bug (when I first started earning my own money the first thing I saved up for was a holiday to the exotic island of Kavos, Greece!) but these past two years have pushed me into living and working remotely around the world.
Georgina is a writer, traveler, good eyebrow enthusiast (when they receive due care on the road that is), feminist and lots of other things besides. She's always had a travel bug and works remotely around the world.