How to Find the Motivation to Exercise


While most people know that exercise is key to living and long and healthy life, some people lack the motivation to get themselves moving on a regular basis. Finding an exercise schedule that suits your lifestyle can take time, and sticking with it takes motivation. While this may be tricky, it is important for overall health. There may be ways to help keep your motivation high when it comes to physical activity.


Exercise Boosts Mood

Exercise boost serotonin, which is a hormone that is correlated with happiness. It also decreases anxiety, which makes people want to exercise more once they have experienced the positive feelings.

Studies have revealed that exercise can calm the mind by releasing neurons that release GABA, which stops excessive firing of neurons. This creates a natural calming effect.


Competitiveness and Motivation

Competitive people are able to find more motivation to hit the gym, as they want to participate in classes and compare themselves to other gym goers. While friendly social interaction at the gym is pleasant, it does not fire you up to work your hardest. Strong competition is one key to keeping yourself motivated to go to the gym.


Social Interaction vs Competition

Studies have shown that comparing yourself to others in a competitive manner when it comes to physicality is much more motivating than having a friendly partner cheering you on. This is because group dynamics are powerful when it comes to exercise behavior. During a competition, people focus on the best and most active participants, setting the standard to beat.

Alternatively, people who casually work out on a more social basis draw more attention to themselves if they are not exerting all of their energy. In social situations, people also often influence others to slow down or take more breaks in their exercise.

Many people who want to find motivation to exercise join a group of people, either online or in person, who have similar fitness goals. This helps everyone be accountable and track each other's progress.

However, motivation is not easily fixed in the same way for everyone. For people who do not like competition, this may not be a proper motivating factor to hit the gym.


Fitness Partners

If you are not interested in exercising with a group of people to show off your best self, grab a friend and make it a group effort. Keep each other accountable with a fitness routine that works for both of you. The support of a friend or teammate can be much stronger than one's own willpower.


The Kohler Effect

The best people to exercise with if you are looking for motivation are those who are at a higher level than you are. Find people who are skilled and in shape, so they can not only teach you, but also push you to your limits. Do not pick a partner who will slow you down or even talk you into skipping a workout.

The Kohler Effect refers to the motivation you feel when you compete against others and perform at a higher level than the competitors. This theory has been proved in studies, showing when people exercise with a partner, they have the motivation to double their time when they see they are succeeding in the competition.


Selecting a Workout Partner

There are many mobile apps that are able to team you up with others who have similar fitness goals in your area. With information used from studies that evaluate physical activity with a partner, researchers have found many characteristics of a successful exercise partner. For example, those providing emotional support are more encouraging of exercise than partners who only offer instructional support.

Also, finding an encouraging partner who helps you through your exercise program is more effective than finding a partner who does every exercises with you. This fact helps apps to increase the population of people to pair up as exercise partners, as you do not need to live in the same area to encourage a partner to exercise.

Effective exercise partners are able to have an engaging relationship with you, spending time helping you better yourself. They have a true interest in your health goals and your fitness, so your accountability to your partner is vital.