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How do you motivate yourself to exercise?

Regular exercise is a lifelong habit. Hiking is my passion. Running feels like flying. Weightlifting builds strength. Love the rowing machine.

Exercise increases endorphins that make you feel happy. Endorphins are my drug of choice.

When I don't feel like weightlifting, I mentally seize myself by the collar and march myself to the gym. "I'll just do a light workout," I bargain. Once started, I do the full routine.

This morning, I tricked myself. Showered and dressed in weightlifting clothes: leggings and a moisture-wicking T-shirt.

Every time I looked down, it reminded me to exercise.

Puttered around the house. Light lunch. Drank 1/2 cup of coffee for energy. Left for the gym.

Lifted weights, did abdominal exercises and stretched for 90 minutes. Success.

LiterateHiker 9 July 21

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34 comments

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6

I don't ...I just work around my acreage and garden. I clear snow and cut my grass with a push mower and estimate walking about 5 miles to cut my yard. I cut and split wood for my stove. I can go hiking or canoing. I never understood why someone would own a home that takes no maintenance and then pay a health club to exercise?

Very sagely.

4

Get up and exercise before my brain realizes what we're doing. Or jump in the river... more fun.

4

Exercise needs to be the result of something I'm doing that I enjoy. How anyone can just do 45 mins on a treadmill or laps in a pool is beyond me.

@Sgt_Spanky

Exercise floods you with endorphins. Endorphins are addictive: my drug of choice.

That's why I love running and hiking. It makes me feel happy, centered and grounded.

I loved swimming laps fast until 2008 when I had shoulder surgery. The surgeon told me to stop swimming and ice skating.

@LiterateHiker That wouldn't do it for me. I went swimming in the Gulf for a couple of hours with friends a few weeks ago and had a blast, I'll walk my dog for 1.5 - 2 hurs and I enjoy that. This is exercise as the byproduct of doing something I enjoy. Structured exercise bores me. It always has.

@Sgt_Spanky

To each, his own. I don't consider exercise "structured." Exercise is an individual lifestyle choice.

Like you, I don't like treadmills. To me, treadmills are evil, relentless machines. Instead I love the rowing machine.

Running feels like flying.

Hiking is a transcendent uplifting experience. My passion.

Swimming laps is fun. In my 50s, I swam 1/2 mile in under nine minutes without flip turns.

Weightlifting builds strength. Leaving the gym, I swagger out the door with great posture. I love the symmetrical soreness from weightlifting.

@LiterateHiker weightlifting is the only structured form of exercise I like because I can't get those results any other way. That's the only exception to the rule.

@Sgt_Spanky Completely agree. I just can't put up with the idea that I need to take out time to exercise. The only way I can get myself to do anything is walk wherever and whenever possible.

3

Become a data junkie: weigh yourself 8 times a day. Track calories. Use a Fitbit. Check BP 3 times a week. Cultivate guilt and self-loathing. Neurosis is a gift.

Arouet Level 7 July 24, 2019

Lol. Yeah, FitBits rock. They help you compete with yourself. And it's fun to curse them for not giving you enough credit for effort expended. Some days those 10K steps seem to take forever to eke out.

3

I pay a trainer...that motivates me to show up even when I don't want to...once I get going, I am pumped and work out hard...after 15 years, I am still not motivated to do it on my own...I need a partner or other person to motivate me...I do walk on my own and I do like "fun" activities like swimming, rowing, playing tennis, gardening...

3

As you I have been active and doing weight bearing exercises most of my adult life. Somehow I feel strange when I skip a workout.

3

Having a peer group for positive reinforcement.
And, of course, the bathroom scale.

You bring up a good issue.

To use or not use the scale daily.

I believe in daily check, same time, same amount of clothes on...and I've even been writing my weight down on a pad hanging near the scale.

But one close friend and another here on 'Battling Obesity" says not a good idea.

comments?

@Robecology
Every Monday morning for me. I was told by the doc that every day is equivalent to looking at your stock portfolio every day..... bad for your health. 🙀

Thank you, @JamesUC and @bigpawbullets for the come-back.

To each his/her own, I guess.

The daily check helps me more closely examine what I ate and how much the prior day. I won't go the calorie count route; that's too tedious for me...but I'm psyched for getting back in to the 130's...losing this gut flab. Yea, I do crunches almost every day (total gym) as well as a "sweat" workout on the bike (4-6 miles) but I'm determined...and daily checking keeps me focused.

@Robecology
I have used the scale system of daily weigh ins and adjustments to food portions based on the scale to gain or loose weight and much prefer it over counting calories. When I want to gain or loose weight I weigh in twice a day, morning and night, get a good idea what the difference is and then I know if I need to increase or reduce food intake.

However I think for anyone who has a history of disordered eating that daily weigh ins are a bad idea. In fact for some folks with this type of history throwing out your scale and having no mirrors in your home might actually be the most healthy. If the number on the scale is giving you anxiety or counting calories is giving you anxiety, then those might actually be contributing to your weight problems.

@PolyComrade That's the rub...where do you draw the line regarding engrained eating habits vs. "eating disorders"? But thanks for your perspective.

3

I am such a sluggish. The only thing that is motivating me to exercise is my family medical history. Not even the 25 pounds I need to lose has motivated me. I admire you!

3

If you treat "exercise" as a chore that reluctantly should be done then motivation will likely always be an issue. Especially if you aren't getting the results you wanted.

I lift 5 days a week. It's drastically helped my back pain, knee pain, and my self confidence. I am constantly getting stronger, and more muscular. I never do cardio yet my cardio has massively improved. Motivation is never an issue for me.

Truth is I became obsessed once I started making measurable results. I think about lifting constantly, I watch powerlifting on YouTube, watch videos on technique and programming, read about it, listen to podcasts.

The real trick is to find a sport you can fall in love with and let yourself. I started lifting to look more jacked, but then I began making strength gains and seeing those numbers go up, seeing what I am capable of... now I compete in powerlifting. I am not a natural, I don't have great genetics, it hasn't come easily, but that just makes me want it more because I know every pound on the bar I worked for. And honestly I like being able to do things other people don't believe they are capable of.

Motivation isn't my issue because I love to train. I love to train because I like being strong and seeing what's possible.

Great attitude!

Yes, there is something powerfully motivating when one can carry a 40 pound bag of bird seed or garden soil easily up a few flights of stairs...

I love lifting because it feels great to be able to do everyday tasks with no effort...and even greater when you can help push a car out of the snow in winter at the age of almost 66! 🙂

2

Biking, swimming and walking the beach are my 3 favorite "sweat-producers". A close 4th is tennis and golf....but they cost $$ and I can't find the time and energy to haul out the equipment and go to the clubhouse...but the bikes are in the garage, and he pool is out back...hence my two favorite "go-to" workouts.

Why work out? It's a high...I feel so much better after having "pushed" myself. I think when the day comes that it hurts too much to bike or swim I'll be ready to say....bye-bye...

2

I don’t. My dog expects walks/hikes several times a day. She’s my coach and trainer.
Now if she could somehow get me doing ab crunches and soup can curls...

2

I don't I'm fortunate enough to be active enough where I don't really need to exercise. Yet! BMI=23

2

Health has been my motivator. I began walking several miles a day in 1988 after my diabetes got worse, and continued that on a daily basis. After a heart attack and insertion of a pacemaker, I added weight lifting two to three times a week, adding additional weights and repitio9ns over time. At first, that was hard, but I forced myself to do it. After 13 years , it is habit.

2

I don't have to. I just do it, trite as that sounds. It also helps that most of my workouts are in a small-group class setting, so I don't need to think about what to do. Just show up. My best workouts are those where I least want to go. I always emerge energized.

2

You do the bench press … I do the French press

I do both

2

No motivation needed, I just made it into a routine.
Motivation works for short term, you need to develop discipline and routine.
So I get home after work, eat something light just to not go gym hungry, change clothes and go to gym as fast as i can.
Sofa and computer has a too strong gravity, so I never get there.
Also I use gym as a time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, this way I have some immediate reward for going there.

And the thinking is... The day of win is when you are not feeling that you will go, This day is the day you win, you go, do the basic, do not try any record, or new things, just finish your routine and back to home.

On top of that, I change clothes in front of mirror, so seeing the evolution of the body sometimes is a game changer to put gym clothes and go instead of stay in home clothes.

2

I exercise the clicker finger every morning. Has been hard to work out the pain in my back only let's me do so much. It does suck because I love to hike and work till I drop those days are long in the past.

azzow2 Level 9 July 22, 2019
1

I use the same technique of bullshitting myself and then reneging. The subconscious seems perpetually naive and highly suggestible.

I pay a fairly heavy price for exercise due in large part, I'm coming to find, to unresolved issues with my past brush with Lyme Disease, specifically, PTLDS, Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. So for me there is no endorphin rush, just physical pain, stiffness, sometimes neurological pain or numbness, and some balance issues lasting 24 to 72 hours after a good workout. I am still experimenting trying to find ways around it. Improvement in diet has helped some; beyond that the only remedy is dogged persistence. All science knows about the phenomenon so far is that the organism leaves behind some sort of enzyme that the body can't clear, which causes a low grade autoimmune response.

I do have a lot of muscle knots (passive trigger points) -- it's like there's a half dozen plastic easter eggs hiding in my calves -- and I bear down on those with a styrofoam roller every day, which is eye-wateringly painful. I also stretch my calves by standing on foam wedges while working at my stand-up desk -- I've gotten to where I can stand that for about 20 minutes at a time -- and I use a custom strap to stretch my legs in various ways. The hope is that over several months I can at least partially undo years of disease, or failing that, prevent any further deterioration.

Mostly I take it in stride; I've been dragging my sorry ass around like a sack of unwilling flesh for 50 years now, since the initial infection, and I hide it well. No one wants to hear about it anyway.

I work out with a trainer for 60 minutes once a week (he also professionally stretches me after, and sometimes before), try to get in 10,000 steps of walking daily (I'm heading out now at dusk to polish off today's quota) and now and then I work out at the gym or on my stationary bike a couple other days a week, only not as strenuously as with the trainer -- good grief, I can't be a basked case ALL week. Balance has improved and I sometimes see erratic manifestations of better endurance and strength. My trainer says I can tolerate more stretching than at first (he says I am tighter than anyone he's ever worked with).

So it goes. Understandably, it took me a long time (about 20 years) to change my relationship to formal exercise from one of loathing to embracing it. My motivation comes mostly from a desire to not worry my wife, not wanting to become totally decrepit, and needing to be as functional as possible for my stepson, who is a young adult on the autism spectrum who I am mentoring in my profession and in life. I was getting to the point that I moved more like a 92 year old than a 62 year old at times, and that just won't do.

1

Well … when I am hungry and need to buy food, I mount my bicycle and ride to the shops or if my neighbour needs exercise we walk together. Having a small or no fridge helps. So when people tell me that they want to lose weight I tell them to sell or donate their fridge. I am about 10% overweight (70kg/162cm) despite regular walks (probably about 20km/week) and cycling (3-10 km/day) [[metric-conversions.org]].

Another good principle. I walk to the grocery store (about a mile round trip) rather than drive, unless I'm buying too much to carry. I park such that I have to walk further to go inside if I do drive, etc.

1

Some of us remember the ultimate motivator:

Interesting...some folks need to be "told" to get moving to move...I often wondered about the mentality of those who joined the military....maybe because they're used to being "told" what to do...?

@Robecology
Interesting comment. I've heard; "I like the regimented lifestyle", "I need the discipline", and similiar comments.

@Robecology google intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation to get better understandings of different types of people.

1

In other things what seems to motivate me is fear.
I work to stay ahead out of fear of falling behind.

Exercise motivation? When I last exercised and did yoga regularly, I think I was driven by anger/ frustration. During, right after divorce and dealing w/ psycho biz partner.... Hitting back in some way?

I've never really exercised much anyway, so this spirt was a bit unusual

Now that I am alone and adrift, I don't exercise, just some minor stretches and a few planks.
I capture taking care of myself through diet and work.@ 165 lbs, sometimes less, I feel great!

What would or could motivate me again, IDK. But if it's being pissed off again, I ain't gonna like it!

twill Level 7 July 22, 2019
1

Well I was back at the gym this am after being on holidays for 2 weeks but usually spend half hour doing 16 Weight machines 15 reps on each one every other day. Plus doing more walking and hiking hope to be better in tune. May get a bicycle aldo

1

I still manage to do a warped version of circuit training 3 days a week. I try to do this the Jack LaLanne way but my efforts are more lazy these days. Also for best results go from one exercise right into the other and do this for a least an hour. I'm doing good if I do half that.

1

seeing my daughter post runs on strava. and getting texts from my daughter that she hasn't seen any runs posted form me on strava.

1

In the winter I get on the rowing machine for fifteen or twenty minutes, then a coffee and a catch up with mail and social media. In summer I put on my swimsuit, and coverup, a walk to the beach if it is nice, for a morning swim, sometimes it is a bike ride, all these are fun and I really don’t consider a chore. If I don’t feel like doing them or it is a volunteer day, I don’t exercise and I refuse to angst about it.

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