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Finding the Motivation to Exercise and Shed Pounds

written by: Bobby Ivie • edited by: Angela Atkinson • updated: 7/13/2011

No magic pill can motivate you to lose weight and exercise. You must muster up the inspiration yourself. Staying fit is a lifetime commitment that can seem overwhelming for many people, despite the benefits that come along with physical fitness.

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    Why Physical Fitness is So Important

    Appearance and Success

    muscle It often seems that people with a better physical appearance fare better in life. Overall, they seem to get better paying jobs, have more opportunities presented to them and have more attractive mates. This doesn't mean you have to be a perfect human specimen, but it means you should be of a healthy weight and fitness level. Though it may be an unfortunate stereotype, society tends to look at people who are overweight and in poor physical shape as unattractive, lazy and undisciplined.

    While it's not politically correct, it is a motivator for people to stay active and keep their weight in check. If you want the best you can get out of life, it is worth putting out the effort to be the best you can be. Drop the defeatist attitude that you will never have what you want anyway, and start increasing the quality of your life through the first thing you have access to--your body and your health.

    Health

    Most health issues people experience can be avoided through exercise and weight loss. Obesity is a cause of numerous diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Even losing as little as 10 percent body weight greatly decreases the risk for most people. That is a good motivating factor in itself.

    If you are looking for inspiration to become physically fit, you will find it in your own health. Don't be one of those people who say they are going to die anyway, so they might as well enjoy themselves. Think about this: you might not die; you might instead be paralyzed and/or sickly the rest of your life. That would be worse than death for some people. Motivated yet?

    According to the Mayo clinic, people should get 2.5 to 4 hours of moderate to intense exercise per week to prevent weight gain. Moderate exercise includes brisk walking or bicycling, and mild weight training. Intense exercise includes jogging and aerobic weight training. Of course, the Clinic also advise patients to eat healthy diets free of excessive fats and sugars. The secret is that you are far more likely to lose weight with the addition of an exercise program than by eating right alone.

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    How to Stick with a Fitness Plan

    Set Your Goals

    If you need to lose weight, determine how much. The more you need to lose, the longer it will take, so don't be in a hurry. Consult with your doctor to determine a healthy weight level for you. Also, decide how much time you will commit to exercise and the best time to workout. If you are busy through the week, plan on the two days over the weekend, then determine one other day near the middle of the week that would be good for you. Decide if it will be mornings or evenings, and then stay with the plan. Variances cause relapses.

    Get Started

    The first thing you have to do is make up your mind that you will start your exercise and weight loss program without fail (this time). Don't take on anything of heroic proportions, just get started with something you can handle. It is a process of starting small and working up to more vigorous and more frequent routines.

    Eat right six days per week and have one free day. Don't use that day to make up for lost time, but use it to enjoy some of the things you missed during the week. Knowing you have this day will keep you inspired to get through the next week, and it can actually help to boost your weight loss as eating a few extra calories can increase your metabolism.

    Commit to exercising three or four days per week for 30 minutes. You can work up to the Mayo Clinic recommendations as you get more accustomed to exercising, but don't worry about that now. If nothing else, do some brisk walking. You should add some light weight training to get the muscles and bones in good shape, too.

    Increase the Load

    After about four weeks, your routine will become a habit, and you will probably start to enjoy it. That is a good time to increase the workload. Start by adding another day or two, and also add another 10 or 15 minutes of exercise. A good goal is one hour of exercise four or five days per week. An hour is the magic number because you get as much benefit in the last 15 minutes of exercise as you did in the first 45, so you are doubling your productivity.

    These tips are reasonable tips for a life-long commitment to good health. If you lose your motivation to lose weight and exercise, go back and read the section above about success and health. Those alone are enough reason to strive for physical fitness.

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    Resources

    Mayo Clinic - Obesity

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