I like to exercise. I like it so much I made it my full time job! So it may surprise you to know that there are days when I just don’t feel like working out. At all. Really.
It is completely normal to have times when the thought of going to the gym or lacing up those sneakers for a walk or run sounds horrible even if you normally like your fitness routine.
Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, are not feeling well or you are overwhelmed with life but you just don’t feel the energy to muster up a workout.
There are also those who never feel motivated to exercise. They just don’t like it! I have met with many individuals who always have to push themselves to get a workout in or maybe they don’t workout at all.
Love it or hate it, the benefits of exercise outweigh the negative so we all should include it as part of our lifestyle. Whichever group you fall in, you are never always going to be motivated. Zig Ziglar is credited with saying, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Motivation is fleeting, it isn’t a permanent situation.
You have to continue to motivate yourself as often as necessary and become disciplined. Mario Andretti said, “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”
Zig Ziglar also said, “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enables us to follow through.” Exercise is an important part of a healthy life.
How can we get motivated to do it? Then how do we turn that initial motivation into determination, discipline and commitment?
Find Your Why
The Merriam-Webster definition of motivated is “provided with a motive : having an incentive or a strong desire to do well or succeed in some pursuit”. Think about your motive for exercising.
Why do you want to work out? Many health conditions are improved or prevented by exercising and eating a healthy diet. Your why might be to lower your A1C number and not develop diabetes.
Someone else might have high blood pressure and is looking to lower it through lifestyle changes. Others may want to lose weight to stay healthy to live a long life with their kids and grandkids.
Whatever your why, or motive for exercising, write it down where you can see it whenever you need some motivation. I have heard of many people writing their why on a post-it note and putting it on the mirror in their bathroom so they see it first thing every morning. Put it where you will see it when you need a reminder of why you are keeping exercise in your schedule.
Create Small Goals and Track Your Progress
Develop a few goals you can work on short term. Even if you have a larger goal, identify some milestones to be reached along the way. Maybe your first goal is to exercise three days a week. Keep track of your workouts to ensure you will meet your goal.
Another goal could be to do a push up on your toes or do a pull up. Working toward a goal can be a motivator to keep up with your workouts. Make sure you track your progress, either on paper or in an app. According to Thomas S. Monson, “That which is measured, improves”. Seeing improvements makes you want to keep going.
Get An Accountability Partner or Group
Find people who will support you and keep you on track. It could be friends, coworkers, family or an online accountability group. Many health and fitness apps have the ability to chat with others with similar goals and might be a good place to find someone to push you to stick with your workouts. Keep it positive. Find a pal that supports and encourages but doesn’t nag.
Group fitness classes can be fun and motivating. It is inspiring and motivating to be surrounded by dedicated, like-minded individuals plus you will receive support from the instructor and other participants. In many of my classes regular participants get to know each other and expect to see each other at every class. They become accountability partners to come to class and push each other throughout the workout.
Another awesome accountability partner is a personal trainer. Having someone create workouts especially for you, push you through it and will hold you to your appointment for the workout can be very helpful.
Make it Fun
If you are consistently dreading your work out, maybe you haven’t found the right one for you. There are so many ways to exercise. Keep trying out different things until you find something that you don’t hate.
Finding a workout buddy is another way to make working out fun plus getting a built in accountability partner.
If you used to like your routine but it has become a bit stale, switch it up and do something different. Exercising doesn’t have to be at the gym; walking, running, playing sports or dancing are all great ways to workout. Maybe you will never think of it as “fun” but at least you won’t dread it.
Make It A Habit
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” - Jim Ryun
When motivation wanes, discipline is extremely important. Exercise should be part of everyone’s life. Your why, your motivation can get you started working out but to have the discipline and commitment to keep doing it regularly, it is best to make it a habit.
Creating a new habit can be difficult. Utilizing all of the things already discussed here will help you get that exercise in. Here are a few tips to make it a habit.
Create cues that signal it is time to exercise. Brushing your teeth is a common example of a habit. You don’t even think about it, you just do it. Think about your cue to brush your teeth. What triggers you to do it? Is it when you are in the bathroom right before bed? Create cues for your workout.
Maybe your gym is on the way home from work. The night before when you brush your teeth, put together your gym bag with everything you need for the gym the next day. (Pairing this new habit of getting your gym bag together with your existing habit of teeth brushing might make it easier to remember.)
Put your gym bag next to your work bag or in the car so it goes to work with you in the morning. Then when you drive home from work, you are going straight to the gym. In this example, your cue to exercise is leaving work. Your cue to prepare for the gym by putting your workout clothes and anything else you need for the gym in a bag the night before is brushing your teeth.
Schedule your workouts on a calendar. Plan what you will do and when. Getting your workout in at the same time of day has shown to be beneficial to developing an exercise habit.
Make it an appointment just like a business meeting or doctor visit that you can’t cancel. When people ask you if you can do something at that time you can honestly say you have an appointment and can’t.
Reward yourself. If you are consistent, you will notice a feel good feeling after you are done with your workout due to the endorphins released during exercise. After some time, this could be enough to keep up that exercise habit.
I have said to myself “remember how you will feel when you are done” many times before a workout. You also feel better overall when you are working out regularly, your sleep improves, your mood improves plus more.
It gets to a point when you feel so much better when exercise is a part of your lifestyle that if you stop for a period of time, you can’t wait to get back to it to feel better again.
This is what rewards me and keeps my exercise habit going. However, when you are new to exercise, it may be helpful to create other rewards like putting a dollar for every workout you do and buying yourself new workout clothes with the money you accumulate.
Or only watching your favorite tv show after or during a workout. Someone else might feel a reward would be a long hot bath after the workout. The point is to treat yourself in a healthy way that you wouldn’t otherwise do and will look forward to after that workout.
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Despite knowing the benefits, it isn’t something we are always motivated to do and that is normal. It’s ok to have those days where it is harder than others to get to the gym or get that run or walk done. Even the most disciplined have those days.
Keeping in mind your specific reason for staying healthy (your why) and committing to an exercise habit are helpful in keeping an active and healthy lifestyle and getting the workout done those times it is harder to get started.
Experiment with ways to exercise to find what you like best and don’t be afraid to change it up. Surround yourself with positive people to keep you accountable and you won’t have to look far for exercise motivation. Before you know it you will be committed to your workout routine and have the discipline to stick to it even when motivation does wane.
“Weight loss doesn't begin in the gym with a dumb bell; it starts in your head with a decision.” - Toni Sorenson, The Great Brain Cleanse
Looking for some exercise moves to help get you started? Take a look at our workout library to find exercises and video instructions.
Take a moment and think of one of your favorite stories. It may be from a favorite book or movie; fiction or true. Do you have one in mind?
Have you ever given serious thought as to why you like that story so much? Even if it is simply entertainment or a momentary escape, there are still profound reasons why you are drawn to that story.
It starts with our attraction to one or more of the characters in the story. You begin to identify with them. Maybe you are like them in some way or can relate to their story through similar circumstances.
Then you begin to connect with them emotionally. You feel for them, with them and like them. You want them to win. You want them to be loving and to be loved.
Finally, while being engrossed in a story, do you have thoughts like, “That’s what I want to be like.”? You wish you were more courageous like him or kind, forgiving and selfless like her. You want to change lives like they did.
I think most people have this experience as they enjoy a good story. Why? Because you, I and everyone else on the planet share something in common: deep down we want our lives to matter to others because we made a difference in their lives.
When we matter, we feel valued.
However, when we need the validation of others, it creates a paradox: we must know we are valuable before we are able to make a real difference in the lives of others.
There comes a time in our lives when we must understand and accept the origin of value and this is something the world and this life cannot give. True value can only come from the Creator of this world and the Giver of life.
Because God created you, you are already valuable to Him. God validated you when He sent His Son Jesus to die for you. To ratify your value, God said He wants to live in and through you!
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Phil 2:13
Regardless of where you are in your faith, I encourage you to calculate your value by examining your approach to God.
Do you feel you must earn God’s approval and favor? Do you see God only as a judge who condemns you every time you blow it? This is a religion that must be endured.
Or do you see God as He really is, a good and forgiving God. A God who shows you unearned, undeserved and unmerited favor, which is grace. This is a relationship meant to be enjoyed.
Then, accept your real identity.
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Because you are His child, the Holy Spirit says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
We accept our real identity when we simply say yes to Jesus.
The very day after I turned 40, I started to see articles everywhere like “Exercises to Never Do After 40” and “Top Ways to Build Muscle After 40” or “What is The Best Workout For Women Over 40?”. I received emails, saw ads on websites and spotted magazine articles all with the big 4-0 in the title.
How the internet knows how to specifically target you based on your age is a very scary thing that could be the subject for another type of blog post, but we will just focus on the fitness aspect of this type of information here.
Kidding aside, we are bombarded with these messages that once we are past a certain age we can no longer do particular workouts or exercises. The things I was doing in my workout the day before at 39, I shouldn’t do the next day because I’m 40 (gasp)? Should someone who is 60 or 70 not start exercising? Are the exercises appropriate for a 20 year old not right for someone who is 65? Does age really matter?
Your Body As You Age
I’ve met with someone who is in great shape at 81 and can hold a 7-minute plank (no lie). I’ve also met with someone who at age 32 cannot hold a 10-second plank (also true).
Age is not necessarily a factor when it comes to fitness level. Everybody’s body and lifestyle are different which affects the type of workouts that are most appropriate for you. Age doesn’t matter as much as your particular stage of fitness and health.
That being said, there are some changes that your body goes through as you get older that can affect the workout that is best for you, but also makes exercise even more important than when you were in your 20s and 30s.
Bone mass peaks around age 30. Bone resorption begins to exceed new bone formation in your 30s and slowly leads to bone loss. Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and is a leading cause of bone fractures in women over the age of 50 (National Institute of Health for Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, 2015).
Though osteoporosis is not typically diagnosed until later in life, the bone loss process starts earlier. Strength training and weight bearing activities will help offset this bone loss and strengthen bones. Women especially suffer from bone loss. Strength training, either with body weight or weights, is beneficial to do at any age. But to specifically help prevent osteoporosis, it is best to start in your 20s and 30s.
Beginning in your 30s, your natural muscle mass and strength will start to decline (unless you do something about it!). The less muscle you have, the lower your metabolism, which may cause weight gain.
It also can contribute to joint pain, back pain, as well as other physical ailments. However, this does not have to happen.
An exercise routine with strength and resistance training beginning in your 20s and 30s can combat the extent of any muscle loss. Are you in your 40s or beyond and have never had a workout routine with any type of weight training?
Don’t worry, incorporating any weight training and weight bearing activities at any age can help to maintain your muscles.
In our 40s, both men and women start to experience dropping hormone levels.
This makes it easier to gain weight, especially the most dangerous type of fat around our middle, visceral fat.
This type of weight increases the risk of other health conditions such as; high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
This can happen at any age, however, it is more likely a little later in life due to the changes in our hormones.
A consistent exercise routine and a healthy diet can fight all of these changes.
Balance becomes more challenging and reaction time slows as we age which contributes to falls.
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention reported that one out of four people over the age of 65 experience a fall each year. Combined with bone loss, this results in many broken hips and other bones.
Balance training should be a part of all exercise routines for anyone, especially those over the age of 65, to reduce the risk of falls.
This is not a comprehensive list of the things our bodies go through as we age, but highlights some of the most prevalent changes and those that can be improved or prevented by exercise.
Certainly our bodies start to wear with use, which may result in more aches and pains and make exercise feel more difficult.
But that is more reason to keep moving! Kenneth Cooper, MD is attributed as saying, “We do not stop exercising because we grow old – we grow old because we stop exercising…”.
Benefits of Exercise When You Are Older
Some think that it is too late to start exercising at a certain point because physical decline as you age is inevitable or they feel they are too out of shape, are in too much pain or just plain too old to exercise.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Physical activity will be good for anyone at any age or fitness level. Exercise can help make you stronger, prevent bone loss, improve balance and coordination, lift your mood, boost your memory, and ease the symptoms of many chronic conditions. Many symptoms we associate with old age, such as muscle weakness and loss of balance, are made worse by inactivity.
It’s never too late to start. Improvements to one’s physical health can be made at any age. Studies have shown that people in their 90s who started an exercise routine for the first time built muscle strength.
Other research shows that starting exercising later in life still cuts the risk of health problems and improves symptoms of any ongoing issues.
What if you have never worked out before? Starting a new workout routine should be entered into slowly and with consideration. Ease into it and build from there to help avoid potential injuries. This is true for any age!
Should Your Workout Change As You Age?
I mentioned I started seeing articles about exercising for those over 40 the very day after my 40th birthday. One specifically was about the exercises you shouldn’t do after that age.
Should you not do certain exercises after a certain age? Not necessarily. Fitness level and any injuries you may have are more important than age when it comes to exercise selection.
For example, high impact moves (like those that involve jumping) should be avoided by anyone with knee replacements or certain knee injuries. A 25 year old could have knee injuries and a 70 year old might as well.
Both persons should avoid the high impact exercises and modify to the low impact version.
As you get older, your body does have a bit more wear and tear. You may notice you don’t bounce back as easily from a tough workout or injury as you may have done in your 20s or 30s.
You may start to experience more aches and pains. A proper warm up prior to exercising and a good stretching routine is always beneficial for anyone, but is even more important as we age.
Also, in your 40s and beyond you should be even more considerate about your form and any previous injuries.
A recent New York Times article profiled Julia Hawkins, a 103 year old who ran the 50 and 100 meter dash at the National Senior Games this year.
She set the 50 meter dash record when she was 101 after taking up running the year before when she was 100!
Hawkins previously competed in the Senior Games in biking. She only started running when biking became too difficult for her.
Her secret to longevity, “To stay in shape, just keep active”. I love her story and it shows that you don’t have to stop being active at any age.
You may need to adjust your type of workout, but there is always something you can be doing to keep moving.
Working Out with Chronic Conditions
Those with arthritis or other painful conditions may feel they are in too much pain to exercise. It doesn’t seem like it makes sense, but the more you move, the better you will feel.
A study of people over 60 with arthritis in their knee (or knees) found that those who exercised more had less pain and better joint function.
Keeping the muscles and surrounding tissues strong is crucial to maintaining support for your joints and bones. Weak muscles create more stress on your joints.
Any movement, no matter how small, can help. Daily activities such as mowing the lawn, walking the dog or raking leaves make a difference.
Your doctor, physical therapist or personal trainer can recommend particular exercises for your condition. If you are taking a group exercise class, let the instructor know prior to class about your situation. They can provide you with the appropriate version of each exercise.
Bottom line, exercising is important for your health for your entire life. Our bodies do change as we grow older, but exercise is the key to minimize any resulting health conditions or potential illnesses.
There is no magic birthday that is the day for everyone that they have to stop doing one type of workout and must do another, or need to get out a rocking chair and call it a day.
Modify your workout routine based on your fitness level and physical condition, not your age. Make it a priority so you can stay active, independent, healthy and happy for the rest of your life.
In elementary and high school, I hated history classes. History was boring. Maybe it was how it was taught. Of the teachers who made school interesting or dare I say fun, none were history teachers. Maybe the problem was what was being taught. Thinking back, which is now WAY back, I never saw or felt a connection between history and my life.
Of course, maybe it was just me.
For most of my school career I was a pretty good student. However, by my senior year, the wheels had come off my life. My priorities and attitudes were out of whack. At that point, I simply did not care about learning and barely graduated. I was not very interested in politics. I did not even vote until my late twenties and not consistently until after I got married.
Sadly, my indifference to our nation’s history in the 80’s is currently a national epidemic.
A recent survey said that 2 out of 3 Americans could not pass the U.S. Citizenship test given to immigrants. And the passing grade is only 60%!
Since the early 90’s I have done a decent job of playing catch up to the miracle that is the United States of America, which started with the vision, courage and self-sacrifice of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Before signing, they knew they were about to lose everything to gain only one thing, freedom. In the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, they wrote, “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor”. They knew if they won, they faced years of hardship. If they lost, they would be hung because King George labeled them traitors. Basically, when they signed that wonderful document, besides taking a vow of poverty, they personally signed their own death warrant. All of them lived a hard life and paid a very a high price so that I may live a free one.
In honor of them, this is my Declaration of Dependence on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, written by our nation’s founders, for the natural freedoms I enjoy in my great country. Without the enforcement of those documents, I lose the very freedom given to me by the sacrifices of so many.
I believe our Founding Fathers were pursing God’s will for all people to live an abundant life under His loving care and protection as our one True King. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is one of the best know lines from the Declaration of Independence and mirrors the heart of God.
“And this is the way to have eternal life-to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth.” (John 17:3)
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
“Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 144:15)
God’s perfect gift of life, liberty and happiness came at a high price - through the cross of Jesus. He knew from the beginning of the world He would send His Son to be punished and sacrificed on a cross to do something for me which I could not do on my own. I depend on Jesus for forgiveness of sin. I depend on Him for eternal life. I depend on Him for liberty from guilt. I depend on Him for happiness that comes from my relationship with God. I depend on God’s grace.
This is my Declaration of Dependence on the One Who gave His life for me.
June remains one of the most popular months for weddings. Weddings are a wonderful celebration usually followed by the all-important honeymoon (that’s right) then the first-year newlywed period and finally reality: marriage.
Marriage, wives and husbands are common targets for comedians. Rodney Dangerfield said that he and his wife were happy for 22 years, then they met. He also complained that his wife’s cooking was so bad, the flies in the neighborhood pitched in to fix the holes in their screens.
For you older folks, you may appreciate George Burns’ take: “I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.”
Husbands are equally assaulted. Rita Rudner quipped that “Men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage-they’ve experienced pain and bought jewelry.”
According to Ann Bancroft “The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they’re too old to do it.” I could have told you that. It carries over from the mindless dares and challenges from allies and adversaries alike at school, on playgrounds and in the neighborhood.
Many a male’s last words before departing this earth were “Watch this.”
Now, before I say another word, I want to go on the record that I enjoyed my wedding day and would not trade it for anything. I think most men feel the same but let’s face it, everyone knows the wedding day is for the bride.
I also hope the men reading this will appreciate the personal risk I am taking by getting out into the open what many of my male species think and feel about what has become of the wedding ceremony.
Of course, I know most of you will deny agreeing with my opinions when confronted by the love of your life. Cowards!
I read recently that the national average cost of a wedding in the United States is $30,000, which does not include the rings and honeymoon. $30,000!!!
Most ceremonies include symbolic customs to illustrate commitment to one another. For generations lighting a unity candle has been a staple and was included in my wedding.
As a twist on this lasting tradition, some couples use two jars of sand that each pour into a single glass.
Still others plant a tree or pot a plant together. >Sniff. So beautiful< Some couples create a cocktail! (Ok, this has merit since you may need it after a few years of marriage.) Finally, the majestic release of doves… I am not even sure what that means.
Has a groom, ever in history, been the one to suggest these? Oh, you may get on board quickly, but it was not your idea. This, my fellow husbands, is the beginning of “yes dear” training.
Then there are those unusual ceremony locations. I will simply address one here to strike a blow for all mankind and save friendships. Destination weddings.
It is as if the couple is telling everyone “Our wedding day is so important for your future we want you to give up vacation time, spend a bunch of money on travel, lodging and food so we can get married in some far-off location where no one we know lives.”
Who are you people? I personally know someone who declined attending a destination wedding over 10 years ago and the bride and groom have not spoken to him since and they are FAMILY. Yikes.
Now, to understand the man’s approach to the perfect wedding ceremony, we need to go back to the very first one between Adam and Eve.
God put Adam into a deep sleep, removed one of his ribs and formed a woman. Basically, Adam woke from a nap to find a naked woman with him. Married! (Genesis 2:21-23)
2,000 years later Abraham, Isaac’s father, sent a servant to a far-off land to find his son a bride. When his servant returned with Rebekah, Isaac met her, took her into his tent. Married! (Genesis 24: 62-67)
All joking aside, I love the simplicity of God’s design for the union between husband and wife. It really is about how we privately commit to one another in a covenant before God.
Sometimes the stress and strain of planning that special day or focusing on elements of the ceremony can rob us of experiencing the moment when the Lord unites us with our spouse.
Marriage is also a powerful picture of how Jesus wants to be united with you.
“Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.” (Isaiah 62:5)
I love that. When we give ourselves to Jesus like a man and woman do to each other before God in marriage, He rejoices like a newly married groom.
You may have heard that a good marriage requires a 50/50 partnership between husband and wife. That is simply not true. A good marriage takes 100% commitment, honor and support from each person.
My wife needs to know that I am giving 100% to her and the marriage. When I said, “I do”, I was really saying “I will” honor the unbreakable marriage covenant with my wife. Furthermore, my 100% should not be affected by anything she does, good or bad.
That is how Jesus feels toward you when you join with Him. The Holy Spirit wrote “For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband-Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)
Once united with Christ, He promises to never abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:6-8) and that does not depend on what you do, good or bad. He remains in a covenant relationship with you.
God continues to honor His covenant with you as His bride even when you are not honoring your covenant with Him. This is grace and it gently and lovingly draws you back into fellowship with Him.
It all starts with saying “I do” when you respond to Jesus as He is asking now, “Do you want me to be your Savior?”