Skip Navigation

Three things that will motivate you to move

When it comes to exercise, not all of us love it or stick to it, even though we wish we did.

Carle psychologist says even if you are one of the many who don’t like the idea of a regular workout, you can get moving and actually enjoy it.

Keith White, PhD, says these three things can make exercise more fun. And there are countless benefits.

  1. View exercise as pleasure not punishment
  2. Plan well
  3. Pair exercise with daily routine

Dr. White recommends you don’t look at exercise as a punishment—because who likes and seeks out punishment?

“If you over eat on the weekend and think you have to double your exercise to work off all the extra calories, you’ll come to view exercise as a punishment and you won’t want to exercise at all. And, if you do exercise and punish your body, you could get hurt and will associate exercise with negative memories,” Dr. White said.

Instead, Dr. White, who enjoys running to stay healthy, says think positively about exercise and take small steps. “Thoughts like, ‘I am looking forward to giving myself a break at the gym after a hard day’s work’ and ‘I deserve some me time by working out’ can help you get started,” said Dr. White.

“Then, put on the clothes, shoes, music and just start. Start with a step, a turn of the pedal, a row or whatever. Just one. Give it three minutes and see where it takes you – you might end up surprised, and better for it.”

Also, plan your exercise so you actually look forward to it.

“If you don’t like people watching you sweat, don’t get a gym membership,” White advised. “Instead exercise where you feel comfortable. Pick the best time of day for you and do the activities you enjoy, that fit your personality and lifestyle.”

Michael Stuart, MD, chief medical officer of USA Hockey, commented to Newsmax, “We preach exercise, yet you must enjoy it or you will not be compliant in the long term. If you really love to play hockey or basketball, it’s a wonderful way to exercise.”

Dr. White added, “If you don’t like distance running but like dancing, take dance classes. If you like being around people, join a softball league or organize group bike rides. If you like to ‘feel the burn’ then join one of those boot camp classes. If you don’t like sports, weed your garden or mow the lawn. If you do something you like, it won’t seem like exercise.”

White also encourages exercise as part of an everyday routine. “Power walk across the parking lot to your work building. Walk around the block during lunch hour. Take the steps instead of the elevator. Do jumping jacks during your morning break. It’s all exercise. Take just a few minutes out of your day and create some fun and doable challenges for yourself,” White said.

“Just remember: Do exercises you like, how you like, and don’t make it a punishment. Your body will be healthy and you’ll find yourself enjoying a more active life.”