Exercising regularly helps you feel strong, energetic, and lively – if you can just get started! Whether you haven’t exercised in a while, or are simply struggling to get up and out of the house on a grey morning, sometimes we all need a little extra motivation to exercise.

So choose a few of these exercise motivation tips to suit your fitness routine, practice them regularly, and soon gym-day blues will be a thing of the past.

How to get motivated to exercise: 9 top tips

  1. Spend a little time thinking over the positive reasons you want to exercise. Instead of ‘I’m really unfit’, think ‘I’d like to have more energy’, or ‘I want to prove to myself I can do it.’ Exercise motivation slogans that don’t make you feel guilty or pressured are much more likely to get you moving; they make you feel better about yourself, and offer you something good to look forward to.
  2. Take an exhilarated, thumbs-up, grinning picture of yourself when you’ve just finished exercise, and stick it on the back of your door – or on the bag or drawer you keep your kit in. Remember that this is how great you’ll feel when you’re done – it’ll give you a little extra boost as you set off.
  3. Put together a really great playlist, or find an audiobook, podcast or radio station that you love, and only listen to it while you exercise. When you have no motivation to exercise, think of it as a chance to hear the next installment. You might even get so hooked you forget you’re on the treadmill!
  4. Use exercise sessions to think back over your day. Exercise can actually help you to think through difficult problems and find new perspectives – maybe it’s the increased blood flow to your brain! Consider what part of your day went well, what you’d like to change, and how to change it, and afterwards you’ll be thinking more clearly and feeling more relaxed.
  5. Finding a friend to work out with is a great way of getting motivated to exercise. Use the confidence-boost of each other’s support to try a new class together, or have quick chats between rounds of cardio or laps of the pool – turn exercise into a social occasion!
  6. In fact, you could even start your own exercise group. Get together a bunch of friends and a good workout video series, rotate hosting duties between your houses, and run a pot-luck on nourishing après-workout snacks. You’ll support each other through the hard bits, and have way more fun than if you were going it alone.
  7. Finding a good instructor or personal trainer can make all the difference in getting motivated to exercise. Someone who understands your personal goals and pace, who balances good chat with professional insight, and who’s dedicated to supporting your development can make training much easier and more enjoyable. And it doesn’t have to be expensive: lots of local leisure centres run cheap classes with great instructors.
  8. Treat exercise time as me-time. Line up some lovely bubble bath, body scrub and moisturiser, and treat yourself to a long, hot shower or bath afterwards. It’s basically like a spa treatment – the half-hour run at the beginning is just to open your pores!
  9. Line up a few quick, balanced, and delicious recipes to make post-workout.You could even cook up a batch of nourishing stew or chilli to put in the freezer and heat up after an exercise session. It’ll give you the perfect thing to look forward to throughout your workout, and help you build your energy levels for next time.

Exercise can help you keep fit and strong, but it can also make a contribution to your sense of wellbeing, so positive motivation to exercise – that helps you feel good about yourself and enjoy your fitness routine – is a vital part of the process.

Try as many of these exercise motivation tips as appeal to your personality and workout method, and see what works best. Once you’ve worked out how to get motivated to exercise, the workout itself will come naturally, and may even become something to enjoy and look forward to.

Need more exercise tips? Check out our guides to starting to run or cycle, or try one of our ten-minute workouts!