America has allowed gyms to open again, with certain restrictions. For fitness buffs, this is excellent news, especially since 27% percent of people reported working out less often than usual due to the crisis.
Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that times have been tough for everyone. We’re forced to maneuver our way into a world of strict social distancing restrictions. And even if gyms are open again, going doesn’t seem like the smartest option—people breathing the same air heavily in an indoor setting, sharing equipment, and sweating, can only spell disaster for everyone.
But if we want to survive this disease, if we want to avoid getting it or if we want to recover if we do contract it, our bodies need to be in tip-top shape, and a considerable part of that is regular exercise. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, you need to find ways to be physically active in some capacity. The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity or at least 75 minutes of intense physical activity per week.
Here are some tips on motivating yourself to work out—because we all have days when we would rather lay in bed all day.
Wear proper workout gear.
Research suggests that our brains tend to “enclothed cognition,” which means that our brains are wired to associate certain activities with specific outfits. So if we want to accomplish a task, the way to motivate ourselves is to dress appropriately. So put on those yoga pants or that sweatshirt! A cute crop top with a custom screen printing of your favorite motivational quote may go a long way in encouraging you. Putting on the proper gear is half the battle.
Do it in the morning.
There are multiple benefits to working out in the morning. It allows you to draw more energy from your fat reserves, enables you to start your day right, and prepares you for a long workday. The sense of accomplishment will also help motivate you to build a routine that you would want to maintain for the long-term.
Work out with friends via Zoom.
Knowing that other people are expecting you to show up can be a great motivator for working out. Moreover, studies show that having exercise buddies who have better fitness habits is beneficial for us, as their healthy habits and attitudes can rub off us. Explore some fun workouts you can do together, like Zumba, Body Jam, hip-hop, and even yoga.
Find accountability partners.
Find people you can trust. They should know your health history and your struggles with fitness, to keep you accountable. Knowing someone will (lovingly and kindly) call you out when you don’t keep your commitments is one way you can stop yourself from procrastinating.
Experts suggest that rewards may be the key to developing a consistent exercise routine. Knowing that there is a delicious but healthy smoothie or an episode of Stranger Things waiting for you after your workout can be a powerful motivator.
Don’t go crazy, though; be smart about the rewards you give yourself. Don’t indulge in ice cream or chocolate after your workout lest you throw away all the progress you’ve made. Go for healthier snacks, or, better yet, allow yourself to indulge in your favorite show.
Apply positive re-enforcement.
Give yourself a positive reason for wanting to work out. If thinking about aesthetics and looking good for others bring too much baggage and pressure, then throw that reason out the window. Think of other positive reasons why you want to work out. Being healthy and protecting yourself from COVID-19 and other diseases are given. But other uplifting reasons can include:
- Living a longer life so you can spend more time with your loved ones
- Being able to wear runway outfits or swimwear that you don’t think could ever look good on you
- Having the ability to feel strong, not just skinny or fit
- Gaining confidence and self-esteem
- Enjoying the benefits of endorphins, a.k.a. being happy
- Slowing down the effects of aging
- Reducing stress
- Having a sense of achievement
If you want better mental health, think of exercise as one way to get it. Your mental health and physical health are intrinsically linked. Your mind is a part of your body, and they always influence each other.
Dare Yourself to Move
It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything, let alone work out when we’re living in a year like 2020. But as long as you’re breathing, things can and will get better. Survive this pandemic by giving your body some love through regular exercise.