June 25, 2010

Exercise Motivation: How to Get It, How to Keep It

Hate to exercise? These 10 tips can help you find the motivation for working out.

Debbe Geiger admits it: Her motivation to exercise was zero and had been for years. She could summarize her feelings about exercise in two words. “It stinks,” says Geiger, of Cary, N.C.

Her thinking changed when she finally found her exercise motivation: commitment to a team.

Geiger joined a volleyball team -- after much urging from friends who wanted her to play with them -- and now she doesn’t want to let her teammates down. She’s at the gym with a convert’s fervor on game nights.

“There have been lots of reasons I could have missed, and I haven’t,” Geiger says proudly.

Geiger’s experience illustrates what exercise experts have learned through research and practice over the years: To succeed in sticking to an exercise routine, people need a reason to carry on when that little voice inside says, "Sit on the couch. Have a doughnut."

There are plenty of reasons we should be exercising. Not only does exercise help us reach and maintain a healthy body weight, it also can help lower blood pressure, "bad" cholesterol and trigycerides; strengthen bones; lower the risk for cancer; help us battle depression; and decrease stress. Many experts say it even improves our sex lives.

So we all know exercise is good for us. Why do so many of us hate it?

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Virginia Anderson WebMD Feature

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