Monthly Archives: October 2017

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How Do People Stay Motivated for Long-Term Exercise?

Deb Brown, NSCA-CPT, CWC, CNS

I am always impressed with people who have been exercising for years and years. They reap numerous physical and emotional benefits and feel like something is amiss if they do not exercise. Like all of us, they get injured and sick. They travel. They have busy work and family lives. They have major life events happen that could easily distract them and yet, still they continue to exercise. How do they do it?

I recently polled several of our clients about this very subject and the response was both educational and intriguing.

From Cheryl, who has been exercising for 30+ years:

Cheryl on a hike on the Napali Coast.

I started swimming in my 20’s and found out that I could then hike with better endurance and I lost weight, so that continued my habit.  Because I like to eat, I realized that I could eat more if I exercised. Then in my 30’s, exercise became “me time”.  Time when I did not have to be a mommy and I could escape the stress. In my 40’s I started to gain weight, and discovered that weight lifting worked magic in weight control.  In my late 40’s I was going through a divorce so exercise become a survival tool to get endorphins. In my 50’s I rediscovered hiking and skiing and continue to exercise to be able to pursue my passion of mountain activities.

 

From Theresa: “What keeps me motivated is knowing that as I age I’ll be able to keep my body moving and hopefully ward off any injuries.  Being motivated helps me to be active in everyday life but yet helps me to enjoy those days of play, like hiking, waterskiing and being in the outdoors.”

From Kerry: “Staying young in body to help stay young in spirit; maintaining vitality to experience yet more places in the world where I haven’t been; desire to be an example to my daughter and participate in physical pursuits with her.”

From Peter: “For me I just know that I have to do it. I don’t always want to exercise but I know it’s a slippery slope if I miss even one day.”

From Sue: “What motivates me is being able to ski better and rock climb stronger!  At my age (67!)

Sue and John all smiles after climbing up Old Mill trail.

I feel good about how strong I am and how good I feel doing all my activities, plus the fun I have exercising.”

For most people, a common thread is that they have found an activity that they are interested in, and sometimes passionate about. This often leads to additional activities. For example, Sue started strength training with us about 8 years ago and then, as a result of how good she was feeling, she took up rock climbing in her 60’s.

Another common thread is that they make exercise a habit and miss it when they do not do it. They make it a non-negotiable part of their lives, like eating and getting the oil changed in their cars. It is a priority, therefore, it gets scheduled.

Lastly, several people participated in a variety of activities. All of the people surveyed were active clients with us who regularly do strength training. But, most are also involved in a variety of other physical activities (rock climbing, skiing, hiking) so that each feeds into the other. This also helps to prevent boredom.

So, if you would like to become more consistent with your exercise, consider incorporating these ideas into your life. Let your passions drive your exercise! If you need some structure and support around your fitness, please contact us at 303-816-1426 to learn how we can help.