How To Start Exercising And Stick to It? 8 Tips

How To Start Exercising And Stick to It? 8 Tips


"I don't have time.", "I'm tired.", "I don't enjoy it.", "I'm too old for it." We always find reasons not to exercise. How can we start exercising and also continue? We'll help you to figure it out.

"I don't have time.", "I'm tired.", "I'm not enjoying it.", "I'm too old for it." We can always find reasons not to exercise. How can we change that, start exercising and also continue? Motivating yourself to exercise can take more work than it seems. With the following eight tips, we'll help you figure out how to incorporate physical activity into your life for the long term.

1. Relax. Accept Yourself.

There is nothing wrong with not exercising or starting and not adhering to it. Don't judge yourself if you don't feel like exercising or cannot continue once you've already started. Human beings have other needs, and our psychology is much more complex. It doesn't just work like people often think - I know exercise is good for me, so I will do it. And if I don't force myself to exercise, I should feel bad and ashamed of myself - because I'm not doing what's right. As Michelle Segar, director of the Center for Sport, Health, and Activity Research at the University of Michigan, says, "Society promotes exercise and fitness by hooking us with short-term motivations - guilt and shame." [1]

And now imagine another situation - suppose you wish to start exercising to be healthy. Even this goal may one day become somewhat distant and will not be enough for you to actually continue. Again, you'll do it because you believe it's good for you - but it's also good to involve rest and relaxation in your free time, isn't it? Try changing your approach to exercise to a positive one. First, accept the possibility that it's okay not to exercise. After all, there are many other ways to stay healthy, and life is about so much more than that. Don't be so hard on yourself, and look for a way to enjoy exercise and have a positive attitude towards yourself.

Studies show that people motivated by external reasons, such as "I've been told that exercise is good, and that's why I have to do it ", don't stick with exercise long term. But those whose motivation is internal - they exercise because they love it and enjoy it - will have a way easier time starting and also continuing. [2]

2. How to motivate yourself? Find an activity you love.

Easier said than done - but worth it. Seek out a physical activity that you will enjoy wholeheartedly and which fulfils you. Try multiple activities to not get tired and annoyed and actually enjoy it. The variety of activities can help you get started and keep going.

Try to involve your friends and loved ones in the activities. You will be more motivated to try different sports, and your exercise will become a fun time you get to spend together. Finding your true passion may take some time, but don't give up. If you really fall in love with the activity, not only will you exercise regularly, but your life will be much more varied and rich.

Try different sports as you search for what's "right" for you. Common types of exercise include:

  • Aerobic exercise - continuous movement, e.g. swimming, running, dancing, cycling,
  • Balance or stability practice - to strengthen muscles and improve body coordination, e.g. Pilates, tai chi and core strengthening exercises,
  • Flexibility - exercises that help to regenerate muscles, maintain range of motion and prevent injury, e.g. yoga or stretching,
  • Callisthenics (weight training) - exercises at a moderate aerobic pace that don't use any equipment, such as lunges, sit-ups, push-ups and push-ups,
  • Strength training - increases our muscle strength, a great way to bulk up, for example, resistance exercise, plyometrics (training to increase explosive power), weight lifting and sprinting,
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is - short series of high and low-intensity exercises with breaks [3].

You can do the above activities individually or combine them. 

Lastly, remember to consider exercise as something other than exercise per se. Remember that physical movement also involves walks at any pace and in different surroundings, from a walk in nature with your loved ones to a regular busy day in the city. Until recently, it's been thought that the recommended number of steps each day for a healthy individual is 10,000. But last year, Dr Amanda E. Paluch and her team found in a study involving more than 2,000 individuals that as few as 7,000 steps a day reduces the likelihood of early death by 50 to 70 per cent. [4] You can also install a mobile app that automatically measures your step count.

3. Get to know your body better.

This point is closely related to the points already mentioned. Our bodies have certain predispositions. Hereditary predispositions for different sports are encoded in our genes. So it might be possible that you tried to start exercising before and did a sport that was not really "your thing," which is why you stopped. As you try new activities, you'll learn which ones "fit" and make you feel better and which ones don't really suit you. 

Both genetic and environmental factors influence our sporting performance. Thus, an individual's sporting ability depends on the combination of their genetic predispositions and the surrounding environment, such as the support of family and friends, background and more. Genetic factors make up to 50% of the difference; environmental factors probably determine the other 50%, as suggested by studies examining similarities and differences in athletic performance within families, including between twins.[6] Our athletic potential depends on our genotype, while how close we reach our potential depends on environmental factors. [7] Environmental factors include an individual's lifestyle, diet, training method, the amount of support one receives from family and coaches, financial ability and other circumstances. [6]

If you wish to know the genes determining your body better, consider genetic testing, which can help you reveal your genetic predisposition for a different types of activities. Our Macromo mobile app can even show you which particular sports fit you best. The DNA test will also disclose your predisposition for other factors such as diet, sleep or susceptibility to disease. The genetic test can benefit those who wish to optimise their lifestyle to suit their health.

4. Write down all the ways that exercise benefits you

As impossible as it may seem, motivational boards and posters really work, because every time you look at them, it lifts your spirit, increases motivation and improves concentration. Try listing all the benefits of regular exercise and posting them somewhere. It will serve you well when you feel less motivated.

Regular exercise has been shown to improve human health significantly. Here are a few ways how exercise can benefit you:

  • It helps us maintain or achieve a healthy level of our body weight and muscle mass. [8,9,10]
  • It reduces the risk of chronic diseases. [11]
  • It improves mood and mental health. [12,13]
  • It improves our sleep and also our sex life. [13,16,17]
  • It helps us maintain good energy levels. [14]
  • It reduces the risk of cancer. [18]
  • It prevents many other diseases, including diseases of the circulatory system, such as stroke or heart attack. [19]
  • It positively affects brain health, improving memory and cognitive function. [20,21,22]
  • It reduces the risk of excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes and postpartum depression in pregnant women. [15]
  • It reduces the level of inflammation in the body and builds strong immunity. [23,24]
  • It improves the quality of life and slows ageing. [15,25]

5. Create an exercise plan and write down your achievements.

Whether you choose to exercise at home, outdoors, or with friends, try to create a workout plan full of action. Remember to maintain the variability of the activities not to get bored. Exercise should make you feel positive, not bad, so if you are too tired one day and feel like you need a rest, give yourself one. In general, however, try to think of your scheduled time as a challenge to live a better and more varied life. 

How to create an exercise plan? For each day, write down what physical activity you want to do, when you want to do it and for how long. Be realistic, start gently and experiment. Nourish your body and give yourself rest for sufficient recovery. If you start exercising at home first and need to figure out exactly how to do it, you can use a wide spectre of mobile apps, which will design an exercise plan according to your needs and also show you exercises that are easy to do. You can also search for inspiration on YouTube or the internet; the possibilities are endless. 

For better motivation, write down your feelings after each exercise. Just write down briefly how you feel at that moment. It will help you in moments when you need encouragement. You can buy a notebook and turn it into your sports diary. First, design your exercise plan, and after each exercise, write underneath it how it made you feel and what you have achieved. You can also use tracking apps that measure your performance and back up your motivation with numbers and evidence of your activity.

6. Become part of a community.

Turn your sporting activity into a fun activity - with your friends, loved ones or in a community. When you're not alone in it, you're more motivated to engage in the action and not only that - you cultivate friendships. At that point, it's no longer just about "working on yourself" or engaging in an activity you enjoy alone. You find a partner and a common topic to discuss and motivate each other. 

If you're not the social type and like to work out alone, you can take advantage of online communities or communities associated with certain mobile apps. One such app is Strava, for example, where the community supports each other and competes with each other. There are also active sports communities on Facebook and other social networks that share the latest trends and news. They motivate each other in exercise, regular exercise, running and other activities. Just search; we believe you will find the right fit!

7. Make a habit out of exercising.

The hardest thing is to start and continue the exercise for at least a month. If you can do that, it will become easier and easier to continue exercising. Training will become part of your routine and a natural part of your life. In the beginning, however, you will need to keep your motivation high. As we've already mentioned earlier, if exercise becomes another item on your to-do list, you will probably stop. So turn it into a habit that will serve to relax and entertain you. For the first month, surround yourself with motivation, get your friends involved, and make it your challenge to prove yourself you're worth it. Always make time in your calendar for exercise, prepare music that motivates you, an audiobook that entertains you, get your sports clothes and other things you need for your workout ready early - and put them in a visible place. All of these small steps will help you begin forming a habit that you are comfortable with. Exercise will then become a natural thing for you.

8. Turn exercise into your priority.

Our mind works on the level of meanings. Use the power of your mind and ask yourself what the exercise means to you and what it represents. For example, it can prove that you are taking care of yourself and your health. Or it may mean allowing yourself time to do what you genuinely find fulfilling and enjoyable. Put yourself first. If you do that, at that point, exercise is no longer first - you are first. For many of us, this is the stumbling block. We put our responsibilities, work, school, family and others first and often forget about ourselves. So try to make exercise not only about the physical aspect of it - but also about the mental aspect where you shape your priorities around you and put yourself first. After all, if you find an activity, you enjoy, making it your priority won't be that hard. But making yourself a priority can be a tricky thing. Think about it: what would be wrong with being first? If you're not in the first place, some part of you believes that it's because there are terrible consequences that would come with it and therefore doesn't do it. Change those beliefs in your mind and start prioritizing your health and happiness. Find an activity you enjoy and practice it - nothing is wrong with that.

One last TIP for better motivation: reward yourself!

If you enjoy the activity, you will be rewarded just by doing it. But you can also boost your psyche with personal rewards. When you stick to your workout plan's exercise routine, reward yourself. Treat yourself to something good - whether in the form of a tasty meal or something you've been meaning to buy for a long tim. Be proud of yourself. Praise yourself; you did it!


  • Change your approach to exercise. You will soon stop if you make it one of your other responsibilities. Try to make it fun.
  • Put in the work and find an activity that you genuinely enjoy. If you fall in love with it, it will be much easier to keep going and incorporate it into your routine.
  • Open your mind, experiment. Try all sorts of activities. You may like something you wouldn't have guessed in the first place.
  • Create a simple exercise plan and try to follow it. Remember it to be both varied and flexible.
  • Create a motivational poster where you list all the benefits of exercise. Keep it visible at all times.
  • Make exercise an activity with friends or another community. 
  • Remember to be proud of yourself and reward yourself for a well-done job!