It can be really hard to be motivated to exercise. Much like most people in today’s society, we throw ourselves into a fast paced world where work, family and life are not always balanced. We are typically overtired, our to-do lists overflow and we tend to still say yes to things we maybe shouldn’t. On top of all this, we get told we need to look after ourselves. Eat well, move often, become more mindful etc etc. It is seriously tough stuff! 

 

I know I should but I just don’t feel motivated to exercise!

I have recently gone back to study and I find myself sitting long periods attempting to use my brain (it’s hard work). By the end of the day, I am worn out. I am not sure what you feel like, but I feel like I have run a marathon. All from the confines of my small desk. Although I preach the joy and benefits you get from moving your body, to be honest sometimes it is the last thing I feel like doing. I want to go home, tick off annoying to-do list items and then if I have time I watch Netflix and cuddle with my dog.

Here comes the big but! I am a member of a pretty rocking hockey team and we train consistently on Tuesday and Thursday nights. So, no matter the weather, or how tired I feel, I peel myself off the couch and head out.

 

The tide turns once I move my body!

During the first 5 or so minutes, I am still not super excited to be running around but then a miracle happens. Slowly, I start feeling better, my energy returns, I don’t feel miserable and I am actually happy. We all tend to leave training in a better mood. I get home and tick off some to-do items and then I happily pass out for the night. I sleep really well, not only because exercise helps regulate my circadian rhythm, but because I know I have made my 10,000+ steps.

 

Acute changes to exercise: It is not a miracle, it’s science baby

  • Exercise acts directly on our central nervous system to increase energy and reduce fatigue. Notably, the improvements in energy and fatigue are not related to increases in aerobic fitness.
  • When your heart rate increases acutely it increase the brain’s blood supply. This makes you more alert, enhances your motivation to complete focused tasks, and improves mental clarity. It even creates neurons!
  • Acute stress levels decrease post one exercise session thanks to increases in hormones that makes us feel awesome (serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine). If you want to know more, read Jacinta’s blog on exercise, mood and stress.
  • Also, psychologically we have achieved a mini-goal of exercising for that day so our confidence thanks to our sense of accomplishment (cue no internal guilt trip)

 

Some tips to help you beat the motivated to exercise fatigue barrier?

  1. Get into your active wear. It helps.
  2. Even if you don’t smash it, just show up. Something is better than nothing and you never know, it may become amazing.
  3. Ask yourself: Are you really exhausted or are you just tired (exhaustion may need sleep, tiredness/fatigue may need exercise)?
  4. Have an appointment – whether that is a group class, a specific time in your diary, an appointment with your EP/PT.
  5. Think about what you will feel like both during and after. You won’t regret it!

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