What Motivates People to Exercise?

13 Sep

When I went to my health club to work out Friday, I was just finishing up and headed for the floor mats to do some core work. Since they put out new, thicker mats, I was standing there admiring them when a little old lady walked over to me.

“They moved everything around,” she complained. The staff had rearranged all the equipment and spread everything out. Frankly, I liked it.

“It’s safer this way. We have more room,” I said. She introduced herself. Her name is Sally. I noticed that she was wearing a beautiful ring with a topaz stone. I asked if she was a November baby. She looked surprised and said, “yes!” I told her that I was a November baby too and had recognized her topaz stone. Sally asked what day I was born and I told her November 6. She said she was born November 11. She said the man she was just talking to was born November 8. (It must have been November Day at the gym.) Then she joked that she was older than me, 80 years old. I said that I think about getting older and wonder if I will be able to continue exercising when I’m 80. Sally said, “It’s up to you.”

Well, if it’s up to me then I’ll be exercising until I breathe my last breath!

What motivates someone like Sally to exercise at age 80? What motivates anyone? TJ of TJ’s Garden and I were chatting about that recently. In this article you will find out what motivates me and some hints to motivate you too.

Do visions of the Grim Reaper in the distance motivate you to exercise?

Or is it that swim suit number that you’ve eyed recently? For me, I love to cook/bake and my exercise habit counterbalances my love of eating habit.

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Hints to Make Yourself Exercise

1. Get on the scale. There’s nothing like seeing those numbers creep up on the scale to make you watch your diet or push you out the door to exercise.

2. Look in a full-length mirror. Do you like what you see in your reflection? If the answer is no, then you know you have to get your butt in gear and go work out.

3. Go shopping for jeans. If you pick out four pairs of jeans to try on in your size and you can’t zip any of them up, you know you have to exercise.

4. Help somebody else. The benefit of helping somebody else to lose weight or to go exercise has double benefits: it encourages the person you are helping and it reinforces the good advice you’re giving in your own mind.

5. Positive affirmations. When you force yourself to go work out (like today, I was really dragging it) and then succeed in doing a good workout, give yourself a pat on the back. Say positive things to yourself. Or, say positive things out loud (when nobody is around). It’s not hokey to say, “Great job! Especially when you were really having a tough time motivating yourself! I’m proud of you!”

6. Sit down, bend over, and try to tie your shoelace. If your stomach is in the way, you need to go work out. It’s easier to tie a shoelace when your gut isn’t in the way. Make shoelace tying easy on yourself; you’ll be glad you did.

7. Ask yourself, How much do I like myself? If you like yourself, you will treat your body well. You know the poem: How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways: 1. I love thee for taking such good care of thy body!

8. Lie to yourself. When you are on your way to the gym, tell yourself that you are only going to work out for 10 minutes. (I do this all the time.) Once you complete the 10 minutes, you start to feel better so then you say to yourself, “OK, I’m only gonna do 10 minutes more and that’s it. That’s enough.” When you’re done with those 10 minutes, then you can either stop or say that you might as well do 10 minutes more, it won’t kill you. There are days when I have this conversation in my head and I end up doing 45 minutes on the elliptical machine! I not only feel very proud of myself but I feel physically good too. So will you!

9. Compete with yourself. I always go for burning 400 calories on the elliptical machine. It doesn’t matter if I start slowly or how many miles I do. I just want to get to that 400 calorie mark. You can start at a lower number, of course. Just try to do more each time. You want to beat your old record.

10. Hire a Personal Trainer. You can learn a lot from a trainer in a short amount of time. See if the trainer will train two of you at a time: you and a girlfriend. The friend can help motivate you too.

Here are more ways that I motivate myself. Click the link, you won’t regret it.

What motivates you to exercise?



12 Responses to “What Motivates People to Exercise?”

  1. tbnranch September 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Okay, I stepped on the scale and I was not freaked out until I looked in the full length mirror and I saw a stranger. Been thinking about a health club for awhile now, maybe it’s time. Thanks for reminding me.


    • Marcella Rousseau September 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      ; – ) Sure thing. Health clubs really help. As long as you go! Truthfully, whatever exercise you enjoy is the one you should do because you won’t find excuses not to do it!


  2. Garden Walk Garden Talk September 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    I wish I could get motivated, but I have a heart problem that has actually reduced my exercising activity. I was always very active too, skiing, tennis, the gym etc., but now much less so. I do like your ten suggestions though.


    • Marcella Rousseau September 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      Thank you for liking my suggestions. I’m so sorry to hear that you have a heart problem. What did your doctor say you could do? Yes, if you went skiing, you would be a very active person ; – ) I’ve belonged to ski clubs and I went for the travel, not so much the skiing but I do know a lot of downhill skiers so I can imagine how hard it must be for you. Although if it happened to me, I have so many interests like painting and piano that I guess it might not be that difficult to give up exercise. But you garden! Gardening is a lot of exercise at times!


      • Garden Walk Garden Talk September 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

        I can’t do much heavy lifting or digging with gardening anymore. It has been a little unsettling not being very active. I am pretty content with my artistic endeavors, but I miss all the fun stuff. Now I mostly walk for exercise. I walk everywhere too.


        • Marcella Rousseau September 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

          Walking is an excellent exercise. I’m glad to hear that you walk everywhere. What kind of fun stuff? What kind of heart problem do you have?


          • Garden Walk Garden Talk September 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

            It is an electrical problem in addition to a valve problem. Ventricular Tachycardia. Fun stuff was all kinds of sports, especially my horses.


            • Marcella Rousseau September 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

              I have a sister who had open heart surgery. The doctors told her she couldn’t have children otherwise. She’s in her 50’s now and never married. You can’t go horseback riding? I didn’t know it caused much exertion. I am writing a post about horse injuries which I should have finished in a day or two. I may have to take back my comment about “exertion” when you read my post! I think you will enjoy the post. Make sure you don’t miss it. You may also want to contact HotRod Cowgirl. She is into horses too but has had a serious horse-related injury. Well, this isn’t much comfort I know, but heart disease is the number one issue for women these days. It isn’t breast cancer like a lot of people think. So, you are not alone. Maybe you and I can come up with some fun stuff alternatives. Think about it and let me know. I have to sign off for now. I’ll catch up with you later. Have a good evening.


  3. P. C. Zick September 14, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    I’m motivated to feel better. I’m getting to the age where there are lots of creaks and moans when I get up in the morning. Moving those joints is like greasing the machine and it feels so much better. But I agree some days are harder than others. I also lie to myself by saying “I can quit at any time,” but I never do.


    • Marcella Rousseau September 14, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      I hear you! Well, not literally. Creaks, squeaks, snaps, pops. I feel like I belong in a bowl of cereal.That’s great that you don’t quit. This is about the only time I can condone lies : – )



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