Exercise is imperative for healthy living, yet many people still find it hard to stick to a regular exercise program. This can be particularly challenging for people who have been sedentary for most of their lives. When I ask people about their obstacles to exercising, I’m often met with a variety of excuses: it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s raining, it’s snowing, I don’t have time, I’m tired, my feet hurt, my back hurts, I can’t afford the gym.
Although the list of excuses is infinite, the underlying issue is usually motivation.
Let’s set aside the excuses and instead explore the nature of motivation and how we can discover the ability to sustain our momentum. The key to remaining motivated is to find value in the experience itself rather than focusing exclusively on the outcome.
Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation
There are two different types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivators are values received from the outside environment. For exercise, these are rewards such as how we look, wanting praise from others, weight loss. These are not unimportant reasons, but they are unlikely to keep you motivated unless there is also some intrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is the meaning we find and the internal rewards that we experience as the result of any endeavor. When you watch a runner pounding the pavement on a rainy afternoon, chances are that person has found some internal satisfaction from running itself — meaning the runner may not only be trying to look good, but also finds some deep, personal fulfillment that enhances the quality of their life.
You will need to find some reason beyond losing weight or getting your blood pressure down to help keep you motivated on a daily basis.
Intrinsic rewards that can be garnered through exercise include: emotional resilience, lower stress levels, a sense of well-being, spiritual fulfillment, confidence, higher purpose and emotional growth. For people who exercise in groups, a sense of community is also an intrinsic motivator.
People who stick to exercise programs in the long term all have some intrinsic motivation. If your doctor advises that you need to add exercise into your daily life, you will need to find some reason beyond losing weight or getting your blood pressure down to help keep you motivated on a daily basis. People who are not intrinsically motivated often describe incongruence: what they should be doing contradicts with what they want …
Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel