4 Ways To Get Your Butt Off The Couch

Sometimes it's actually harder to get inspired to exercise than it is to exert physical effort and sweat. It takes motivation. It's not that we dislike exercise — after all, our bodies were designed to move. It's really that we dislike the idea of getting going. It's easier to read a book, watch TV, or eat!

Yet once we do start moving, most of us find that it feels really good. So in a way, learning how to simply begin your workout should be the first fitness goal you pursue. Once you start an exercise program, other goals, such as the intensity or duration of the workout, can become your focus. But you can't achieve those if you never get started.

Here are four tips to motivate you off the couch.

1. Make it social.

You'll feel more motivated if you ask a friend to join you. It's easier to skip a workout when it's just you you're accountable to. But if you know your friend is waiting at the trailhead for you, you'll get moving. Adding a social element to exercise can make working out more fun.

2. Be flexible.

Some people think if they miss their morning window, that's it — they can't work out. But if you remain flexible about your routine, you can be prepared to work out whenever the opportunity arises. Keep workout gear in your car so when that end-of-day meeting gets canceled, you can run out of the office early and fit in a workout before heading home.

3. Find an easy time.

People lose motivation when they feel that exercising is crimping their style. But everyone has 20 minutes a day, even if it's at lunch, or early in the morning before anyone else in the house is awake. Plan your workouts for a time with the highest probability that you'll actually do them. Figure out when you have the free time, most energy, and the ability to finish the routine. Once you do, commit to that time by writing it on your calendar.

4. Give yourself five minutes.

If you're someone who's allergic to exercise, one way to get motivated is to only commit to doing the first five minutes of your planned workout. There may be a valid reason for resisting an upcoming workout — you're too tired to exercise and really need the rest, for example. Nevertheless, try to exercise long enough to at least break a small sweat, even if it's only for five minutes. At that point, you can decide whether to keep going or stop. Congratulate yourself for those five minutes — it's a good start.

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