Health & Wellness

Accountability is one of the best motivators when it comes to exercise, and one way to add that to your routine is to invite a friend.

Some people love to hit the gym, whether it helps them build muscle, simply stay healthy, or get rid of stress.

For others, while staying fit is important to them, it can be hard to find the motivation to exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, but only one in five teens and adults actually meet those guidelines.

So, how do you motivate yourself to exercise when you don’t have the time, energy or desire to do it? Besides the simple motivation of being healthy, here are a few ways you can pump yourself up about exercise.

Bring a friend

Accountability is one of the best motivators when it comes to exercise, and one way to add that to your routine is to invite a friend. When all you want to do is hit the snooze button and skip the gym — again — a friend waiting in their car in your driveway could be just the push you need. Not only will a friend help get you to the gym, but friends can be a good source of competition to keep you working harder when you get there as well. When you’re too busy to meet up with friends, exercising together is a fun and healthy way to make time for your relationships.

Change your definition of exercise

For some people, putting on some running shoes and hitting the pavement for a few miles will never be appealing. Others may like to run, but can’t stand swimming or pumping weights. If you find some exercises just don’t speak to you, maybe you should broaden your definition of exercise. The good news is that there really is no specific exercise you should be doing. What is important is that you get moving and you do it often. So go ahead and play basketball or play tag with your kids.

Get new clothes

It might seem a little silly, but new clothes can do wonders for your exercise motivation. It’s not just the excitement of wearing new threads, though that certainly doesn’t hurt. If your exercise clothes don’t fit well, or your shoes are pinching your toes, it can be hard to want to gear up for another workout. Take the time to try on different fabrics and designs until you find what works the best for your body.

Set goals

An excellent way to get yourself motivated to work out is to set some goals for yourself. Aimless exercising is often a surefire way to let yourself skip a day of training — or two or three. Set manageable goals, and you will be motivated to cross the finish line. You may also find it easier to keep going after you achieve success, so keep setting new goals for yourself.

Modify for your needs

Physical limitations or injuries can spell doom for your exercise plans. But, don’t let these limitations drop your exercise motivation to zero. Instead, modify your exercises to suit your physical abilities. Be creative and find exercises you can do without getting hurt. Talk to your doctor about what options you have to exercise safely.

“Exercise can be difficult for people with limited abilities, no matter their age,” says Dorothy Cuoto, administrator at Walnut Creek Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “However, people with limited mobility can still get the workout they need by adapting exercises to meet what they are able to do.”

You don’t have to be a gym rat to get in shape and stay healthy. Everybody needs exercise, from kids to centenarians. Use these ideas to help motivate you to get moving in whatever way works best for you.

Dr. Amy Osmond Cook is a health care technology consultant and VP of marketing at Simplus, a Platinum Salesforce Partner.