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Finding Motivation to Exercise

Updated: Mar 27

Midlife is a transformative stage that brings unique challenges and opportunities for women. It's a time of self-discovery, personal growth, and embracing new adventures. One aspect that often takes a backseat during this phase is exercise and physical well-being. In fact, one of the main things we work on in Women in Motion is motivation.

Everyone knows that exercise is good for our health. I can talk all day long to my clients about the benefits of exercise but if they aren't motivated to do it, it's a waste of time. One reason I went back to grad school to pursue a doctorate was to learn how to help people make behavior changes that stick. Below are a few of those strategies as well as some I've learned on my own:

Prioritize Self-Care

Self-care is a buzz word these days but for good reason. Women are notorious for putting other people's needs before their own (yes, that's a sexist comment but I believe it's true!) and in many cases, their health suffers because of it.

For example, a client of mine didn't exercise because she was taking care of her elderly mother, a large house and garden, and frequent visits from grandkids. She believed she didn't have time for exercise. Her blood pressure increased, her blood sugar was not well-controlled, and she wasn't sleeping well. Once she learned how to incorporate physical activity into her daily routine, her blood pressure and blood sugar came down and she was able to sleep at night.

By making exercise a priority, you signal to yourself that your well-being matters!

Set Realistic Goals

Midlife brings unique changes to our bodies and lifestyles, so it's essential to set realistic exercise goals. Rather than focusing on weight loss, consider goals that prioritize overall health and strength. This will truly add years to your life and life to your years!

Why not focus on weight loss?

First, hormonal changes during and after menopause often make weight loss harder and it's frustrating to not see a change on the scale after making changes to your eating and exercise habits.

Second, it takes pretty drastic lifestyle changes to produce a significant weight loss and big changes are hard to maintain, which means any weight lost will likely come back. Do you really want to go through that (again)?

Lastly, your body composition will probably change with more exercise and strength training (more muscle and probably less fat), but these changes might not show on the scale and that can be very frustrating.

My advice is to set specific, achievable, non-weight-related goals such as walking a certain distance each day, completing a fitness class per week, or mastering a new yoga pose. Celebrate each milestone along the way, reinforcing a positive mindset and fueling your motivation.

Find Joy in Movement

Exercise doesn't have to be a monotonous chore. Discover activities that bring you joy and make you feel alive. Whether it's walking, hiking, swimming, or practicing yoga, choose an exercise routine that resonates with you. Incorporating activities you genuinely enjoy will make exercise a fun and fulfilling part of your day, leading to long-term motivation.

Some of the interesting exercise choices I've seen in clients I've worked with include belly dancing, dragon boating, and rucking with a backpack!

Prioritize Strength Training

I can't emphasized this one enough! Incorporating strength training into your exercise routine is crucial for maintaining muscle strength, improving bone health, and boosting metabolism. Start with simple bodyweight exercises or seek guidance from a professional to design a strength training program that suits your needs (or join Women in Motion!). Sometimes lifting a few weights at home seems easier than doing aerobic exercise so keep some weights at home when you don't feel like going anywhere or doing anything too strenuous.

Feeling strong and empowered will further motivate you on your fitness journey. Here's an audio link to a live session I did in my FaceBook group on this topic. I'd love to know your thoughts - email them to me at

Find an Exercise Buddy or Join a Community

Having a workout partner or joining a community of like-minded individuals can be incredibly motivating. Seek out exercise buddies or join fitness groups or classes to foster a sense of camaraderie and accountability.

Sharing experiences, supporting each other's goals, and celebrating achievements can significantly enhance motivation and make exercise a social and enjoyable experience.

Track Your Progress

Tracking your exercise progress can serve as a powerful motivator. Use a fitness app, a journal, or a simple calendar to record your workouts, distance covered, or new personal bests. Seeing how far you've come can boost confidence and reinforce the positive habit of regular exercise.

There are many apps available for free to track your progress. I use an app called Strava to log my activity. You can not only log your workouts but you can see (and comment on) your friends' activities too. I have a group in Strava for our Women in Motion program where they can log their workouts and see what everyone else is up to as well. It's actually a great way to stay accountable to your workout plan!

Motivation to exercise isn't always easy to find but if you try some of these strategies, you can make it happen most of the time.

Want to get in better shape but not sure where to start?

Want a simple, sustainable fitness plan with nutritional guidance and accountability?

Join Women in Motion and let's get that body transformation started!


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