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Let’s be honest: it’s not always easy to find the motivation to exercise, and it’s even harder when you just don’t enjoy it. Find out why getting active is so important, learn how to change your mindset about it, and get tips on how to create your own personalised routine.

This can help if:

  • you don’t like exercising
  • you need motivation to get you moving
  • you want to be fitter and healthier.
Girl waxing surfboard

Why exercise?

There are hundreds of good reasons why it’s worthwhile to be active. While you may have heard stacks of them, some of the lesser-known reasons are:

1. It charges you up. Thirty minutes or more of vigorous exercise releases endorphins (the good stuff) in the brain, giving you energy, vitality and an intense natural high.

2. It helps your positivity. Studies show that exercise is a great way to help manage depression. It not only releases those happy hormones, but also helps clear your mind of stress, confusion and worry.

3. It helps your social life. Exercising with others, going to the gym or playing sports can be a great way to meet new people and keep each other motivated.

4. It helps you sleep. Working the body and clearing the brain ensures a good night’s sleep, and can help regulate problematic sleeping patterns.

Switch off your hater mindset

If you really hate the idea of exercise, it’s important to try and switch your mindset; otherwise, you’ll never get up and get active. Here are some things to consider:

1. Don’t use the dreaded ‘e’ word. If you’re really resistant to the idea of ‘exercising’, try thinking of it as ‘being active’ or ‘feeling healthy’. A great way to get started is to increase the overall amount of movement and activity in your day, such as by walking to a more distant bus stop or by taking the stairs instead of the lift. There are a stack of apps that can help you track your overall daily activity or motivate you to walk, say, 10,000 steps per day.

2. Exercise doesn’t have to be in a sweaty gym. If the idea of hanging out with a bunch of sweaty peeps in a room with too many mirrors gives you the creeps, don’t do it. Get outdoors, go dancing, run around in the surf or go for a bike ride – there are so many ways to exercise, and they all count.

3. You don’t have to be in love with it. Okay, here’s the thing. Ideally, you’ll identify a way of exercising that you can enjoy and will want to do. But, if you’re struggling to find anything you like doing, think about getting active the way you think about brushing your teeth – you don’t love it, but you do it anyway, because it’s good for you. Who knows, maybe over time you could learn to like it?

Create your own personalised routine

The first thing to keep in mind is that in order for something to become ‘routine’, you need to stick at it. Once you’ve set up a system for when/how/where you’re going to exercise, keep at it, even if you reaaaaaaaally don’t feel like it. It’ll become easier over time and will eventually become a habit that you don’t even need to think about.

Some ways to get started:

1. There’s an app for that. In fact, there are gazillions of them. From the more pricey wearable tech, to a simple and free pedometer app on your phone, technology has got you covered when you want to get going.

2. It doesn’t have to cost you anything. Going for a walk, a run or a hike, or just throwing a ball around at the park, are all free. Plus, YouTube is an amazing resource for free, guided exercise routines.

3. 30 minutes is the magic number. While we should all be aiming for 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, only you can decide how much time you can devote to it. Decide on specific times that you can exercise, and make a date with yourself. Those 30 minutes don’t have to be done in one big chunk, either – you can break it up into shorter sessions.

4. Write it down and mix it up. Write down as many different kinds of activity as you can think of. Keep your list handy when it’s time to get moving. Having a wide ‘menu’ of activities to choose from will keep you interested and motivated. A good tip is to save your favourite activities for those days when you really don’t feel like doing anything.

5. The ideal. Any exercise is good for you, but if you want to know the ideal workout, here it is: a routine that includes strength (weights), flexibility (things like yoga, pilates or simple stretching) and aerobic activity (such as running, walking, cycling).

What can I do now?

  • Talk to your doctor to assess your health before you kick off your training regimen.
  • Start small and work your way up to a regular exercise routine.
  • Download an exercise app, or find a YouTube workout that appeals to you.