What Motivates You to Workout?

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‘Tis the season for food aplenty and cocktail parties galore. With December winding down, it is also a time when many of us begin to consider our New Year's Resolutions and to wonder how we are going to execute and adhere to them.

If increasing (or adding) exercise is on your list of resolutions this year, consider analyzing what motivates you to help maintain your fitness goals.

I often think that people fall into one of two groups when it comes to exercise. The first group is typically the “Type A” personalities who exercise to fulfill a need or compulsion. With this group, exercise may fill a void or replace a former addiction; it becomes a healthy (sometimes excessive) habit and routine she cannot live without. The second camp encompasses those who exercise because they know it is a healthy lifestyle choice to increase longevity. While they aspire to pursue a healthy lifestyle, group two does not necessarily always enjoy working out.

In either case, a fitness routine requires a certain level of dedication and motivation to the program. Whether it is a commitment to being heart healthy or the desire to look great in skinny jeans, each of us needs to drum up motivation from somewhere to lace up our athletic shoes. We asked several moms what their driving force is to continue the exercise momentum, even when life gets chaotic. Here are a few of their responses. 

  • “A close friend passed away several years back and he was a great runner. Our families were very close. I started running to do a 5K that was organized in his honor. I run because he cannot and I run for the days he will no longer be able to.”– Kimberly, age 31

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  • “For me, working out is a way of life–a lifestyle. I exercise because I like the way it makes me feel. At my age, I have learned that no matter what is going on in my life, getting out for even a short walk will always improve my outlook….always.” –Patti, age 46

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  • “I exercise so I can eat without too much guilt and for the endorphin rush. I like to be able to start my day off on a good note with friends. Finally, I am motivated to workout so I can be strong and pass men while out on our road bikes!” Lisa, age 30
  • “I am motivated by looking and feeling great. I welcome the challenge of different workouts, of coaching people to live a healthier lifestyle, and most of all, to cross train so I know my entire body is getting the best of the best.”–Abbe, age 52
  • “I am not a good example of commitment to exercise, but I find motivation with the idea of wanting to develop good habits while I am still young. I want to have energy and a healthy body for chasing after kids.”–Beth, age 28
  • “I love competing in off-road running races. My friends think I am crazy for running 100 miles on the trails, but it is my therapy. I have two young boys at home, so running is my escape from the daily demands of carpooling and karate classes. I sign up for endurance races so I continue to train and remain fit. I love my outdoor gym!” –Tracy, age 32
  • “As a child, I never understood exercise. I came from a large family, both in number and in numbers on the scale. We were all overweight and loved food. As I got older, I realized the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. High blood pressure also runs in my family, and I didn’t want it to claim my life. I began taking classes at my gym, and fell in love with spinning. Eventually, I became certified as a fitness instructor, and now I teach spin classes. I love that forty people on bikes are waiting for me at 6:00 am every Monday morning!”—Tammy, age 38

We challenge you to reflect on what motivates you to desire fitness. Channel your passions this season and merge them with exercise to help you adhere to a healthy lifestyle not just for this New Year, but for years to come.