When Everything Feels Too Hard, Here’s How to Find Fitness Motivation


Moving your body might be pretty far down your priority list right now and that’s OK. Living through a pandemic is weird, to say the least, so you have to go with how you’re feeling.

If your exercise motivation is sorely lacking, personal trainer and Fitness Australia board member, Chantal Brodrick, has you covered.

According to Brodrick, many people associate exercise with building muscle or weight loss but it goes way beyond that.

“Including activity in your daily routine can give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction,” Brodrick told TheLatch—.

“It’s important to remember that exercise should be enjoyable, because the more you enjoy it, the more likely you will stick to it. So do something that you like and something that makes you happy, whether it’s going out for a walk with a friend or dancing around your loungeroom — have fun and you will quickly see how great it makes you feel.”

Given the rollercoaster we’re currently on, it makes sense that motivation (for many things, not just exercise) would decrease.

“Nobody is immune to the impact COVID19 has had on our lives in one way or another, and when you are feeling down, stressed or just struggling to cope with a changing environment, it can be easy to lose motivation,” Brodrick says.

“But the truth is, we all need to keep active and keep moving, now more than ever, and exercise will actually help you to feel better.”

Brodrick’s tips for getting back in the workout groove are:

★ Make a playlist of your favourite tracks and start dancing!

★ Set small goals to try something new — like a 10-minute jog then a 20-minute walk, then next time, a 15-minute jog and a 15-minute walk, working your way up to a goal gradually and keeping yourself interested and challenged along the way.

★ If you find it hard to get motivated, there is nothing better than working out with a personal trainer. They are experienced in creating programs to suit your needs, they can guide you with exercise technique, goal setting, goal tracking and they are very good at keeping you accountable to exercising regularly! You can find a personal trainer near you using this Fitness Australia tool.

★ Enlisting a workout buddy is one of the best ways to get into a regular routine. Find someone who has similar interests to you, say bike riding, then agree to regular days and times to meet up and go for a ride. You won’t want to let each other down!

Remember that while it might feel hard, the mental health benefits of movement really outweigh the effort needed.

“The effects of exercise to ease anxiety is actually quite scientific. Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin, which are proven to lift your mood — it’s like an instant hit of happiness!” says Brodrick.

“Exercising regularly can reduce stress improve symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.”

While we’re all still practising social distancing, going for a walk with a friend or neighbour is another way to get moving while also filling your cup socially.

“Aside from the scientific benefits, there are also some very real social benefits like seeing other people (even at a distance) and hopefully some greenery too, which can help people feel more at ease particularly after periods of isolation,” she says.

At the end of the day, exercise doesn’t have to be something that is solely about looking good. Try some yoga, join a virtual exercise class or hit the pavement for a jog to boost your mental health.

“Remind yourself to view exercise as a gift, not a chore,” Brodrick says.

“It brings us health, it lifts our mood, it helps us sleep better at night — and most of all — it makes us happy.”

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