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Why Aren't You Motivated to Exercise?

The secrets of exercise motivation

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Updated February 28, 2014

If you follow the news about health and fitness these days and the constant focus on obesity, you may get the feeling that you're doing everything wrong. You sit all day at the computer -- wrong! You drive everywhere instead of walking -- wrong! You watch too much TV, don't take the stairs enough, don't exercise enough -- the list goes on and on. Sitting around, it seems, has become as dangerous as driving without a seat belt and, yet, that's how most of us spend our time.

It's clear that our sedentary world doesn't call for much activity, yet we need that activity to stay healthy and lose weight. So, how can we make exercise a more natural part of our lives? The first step is to figure out what's really behind our inactivity.

What's Stopping You from Exercise?

We're all familiar with the most common reasons we don't exercise -- we're too busy, too tired, it's too boring and confusing, etc. But are those reasons or are they excuses? We may tell ourselves we're too tired or busy, but the real reasons we don't exercise often go a little deeper.

1. We're not used to being active. For many people, structured exercise is something they've never had to do before. As a result, bringing exercise into an already busy schedule often feels like having an unexpected (and unwelcome) guest come for a visit. Having to rearrange your schedule to accommodate this guest causes stress, anxiety and even resentfulness. That's often how we feel when we realize that starting an exercise program may require major changes in how we live and schedule our time.

2. Today's world doesn't require as much movement. The way we live now doesn't provide many opportunities to move around -- we don't have to be active to get things done. If you come from an active family and have managed to stay active over the years, you may not have as much difficulty. But, if you don't have that foundation, you're now seeing how hard it is to work exercise in after years of being inactive.

3. We see exercise as a luxury. We know that exercise is necessary for good health, quality of life and weight management. Yet, even with experts asking us, practically begging us to exercise (and broadening the definition of exercise so much so that now housework is considered exercise), we're still trying to find a way around it. Whether it's a pill, a diet, a gadget or plastic surgery, too many of us still think we can get all the benefits of exercise without actually having to do it.

4. We view exercise as pointless or difficult. What do you picture when you think of exercise? Riding a stationary bike to nowhere, eyes rolling back into your head from boredom? Or maybe a complicated aerobics class where you're tripping over your feet? Unfortunately, too many of us see exercise (or at least what we've defined as exercise) as something negative. It's boring, pointless, difficult, repetitious...fill in the blank and you've probably thought it. And if that's how you view exercise, is it any wonder you don't want to do it?

5. The consequences aren't immediate. For most things in life, there are immediate consequences if we don't do what we're supposed to do. But what happens if you don't exercise? Usually, nothing. At least, not right away. Even knowing the possible consequences (such as weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, cancer) aren't enough to get us going because it's tough to worry about something that hasn't happened or may never happen, isn't it?

Do any of these ideas strike a cord with you? If so, you may be wondering if it's even possible to find the motivation to exercise. The good news is that even just a small change in how you think about exercise can make a difference. Keep reading to learn how to increase your exercise motivation.

Next Page: Ways to Increase Your Motivation to Exercise

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