According to personal trainers, there are six ways to keep exercising and achieve fitness goals

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Listening to music is a good way to stimulate exercise motivation. Louis Alvarez / Getty Images

To stay motivated, you should set measurable, achievable, time-based goals, such as “exercise for 20 minutes five days a week”.

You can also keep motivated by changing the type of exercise you do and asking your friends to hold you accountable.

If you want to stay motivated, start slowly and consistently, rather than working out for more than an hour a day.

Visit insider’s health reference library for more advice.

Exercise can reduce your risk of many health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. It can also improve mood, enhance energy and help sleep.

Despite the known health benefits, it is difficult to find the motivation to exercise regularly, whether due to fatigue, not enjoying exercise or giving priority to other areas of life. If this is the case, here are some tips to help you stay motivated to achieve your fitness goals.

1. Set goals

Adia Callahan, certified personal trainer, owner and founder of see me wellness, says setting goals, especially “smart” goals, can help you stay on track.

Smart represents:

concrete

Measurable

Attainable

dependent

Time based

Smart goals are so effective because they provide you with a specific time frame. If a goal has no deadline, you can postpone it. It’s “almost like a dark cloud on your head, always looming,” Callahan said.

Examples of smart goals include:

Run my first 5K in the next three months

Exercise 20 minutes a day

I can do 20 push ups by the end of next month

Jen Kates, a certified personal trainer, health coach and founder of shift human performance, says setting smaller “process” goals allows you to achieve them in the process of achieving larger goals and keeps you motivated. For example, if your goal is to run 5K, a smaller process goal might run for five minutes without stopping.

In addition, you are more likely to achieve your goal of focusing on internal health rather than external image. A 2009 study looked at the internal goals of adult sports, such as improving health and motor skills, as well as external goals, such as improving your image. It found that internal goals were more important than external goals in motivating participants to exercise.

2. Incorporate exercise into your schedule

If you respond well to the structure, it may be helpful to develop a weekly exercise plan. However, Callahan says it’s often easier to integrate your exercise program into your lifestyle than to try to force yourself into a program that doesn’t work for you.

Start with something practical and pleasant. For example, if you can only set aside time to exercise for 15 minutes a day, it doesn’t matter. Then you can try to increase slowly over time, Callahan said.

In addition, “find the ideal exercise time of the day,” Kates said. Make sure this is the time of the day when energy levels are high.

3. Try different exercises

‘if you don’t like exercise, you’re unlikely to stick with it,’ Mr. Callahan said. Therefore, it is important to try different choices before finding what you like. Some examples of exercises you can mix include:

yoga

pilates

Barry

Weightlifting

run

Play basketball

Indoor cycling

To meet the recommended level of aerobic and muscle strengthening exercise, you may need to combine some changes. For example, if you only run, you need to do some strength training, too. If you only lift weights, you need to add aerobic exercise

Diversity helps “train the body in different ways to make it stronger in all aspects of our lives,” Callahan said. Mixing can also be done by avoiding repeated strain in the same part of the body.

4. Find exercise partners or join groups

“Having an exercise partner really helps,” Katz said. “It doesn’t matter whether you meet face-to-face or remotely – more importantly, you can make each other responsible for taking exercise and yourself.”

Similarly, joining sports groups such as running clubs or sports teams can improve motivation. Some group exercise options include:

Join a running or hiking group

Sign up for a club sport, such as football or tennis

Join the fitness studio

Take classes in your gym

Participate in virtual courses at home

5. Listen to music

Music can also cheer you up. “Music can inspire you very well, especially if it’s a song that really cheers you up and excites you,” Katz said.

Learning in 2006 found that music has a “distraction effect” during low-intensity exercise, so people who listen to their favorite music while walking may feel less tired than those who don’t listen to music.

6. Start slowly and be kind to yourself

A common mistake in starting an exercise program is to work too hard and too fast. “They run out of the gate, so they either hurt themselves or lose motivation,” Callahan said.

If you don’t keep exercising, “you can exercise 15 or 20 minutes a day, or 15 or 20 minutes every other day,” Callahan said. “That way, it gives your body a chance to adjust and adapt. But more importantly, it also gives you a chance to adapt psychologically.”

If you don’t want to exercise, sometimes you just need to start moving and your motivation will begin, Katz said. This may mean putting on your sportswear and warming up for five minutes. At that time, you may feel better and you will complete the whole exercise.

If you need some guidance, “don’t hesitate to contact professionals to help you complete your journey,” Callahan said. A personal trainer or coach can help you find the right regimen for you.

Industry takeout

To stay motivated, try setting smart goals, switching workouts, or finding exercise partners or groups.

The truth is that we all have 15 or 20 minutes to devote to the important things in life. “You have to work with yourself to make exercise important,” Callahan said.

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