10 ideas to get you motivated to exercise

Wanting to get back into shape but don't know how to find the willpower? Here are 10 ideas that will inspire you to abandon the couch potato life for good.

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  • There's a someecard that always gives me a chuckle: "I didn't make it to the gym this morning. That makes 5 years in a row." Now, are you laughing because this is funny or because it's true? Maybe both. Regardless, we've all been there at one time or another. Many of us have high hopes of getting back into shape or establishing a workout routine. Maybe we try one out for a while but are sidetracked, derailed, or simply just give up.

  • Never fear. The following 10 tips are sure to inspire you to take off your slippers and put on your workout shoes.

  • 1. Find something you love to do

  • Running not your thing? How about Zumba, yoga, karate, Pilates, turbo-kickboxing, step aerobics, swimming, biking, hiking, basketball, volleyball, dancing, rollerblading, skiing, soccer, or just straight up walking? Figure out what it is that gets your body moving — plus the most enjoyable — and you're more likely to stick with it.

  • 2. Get a workout buddy

  • . Finding a friend who can hold you accountable to your 6 am strength training class can be a fantastic way to stay dedicated to your fitness goals. Just make sure you buddy up with someone who truly wants to and has time for your workout schedules and goals.

  • 3. Sign up for something that will force you to set exercising goals

  • A 5K race, half marathon or, if you're feeling ambitious, a full marathon are great ways to get you into the groove of working out consistently each week. Also, many races are tied to charities or fundraisers which means you'll be supporting a good cause as you achieve your fitness goals. Win-win. Ask around or do a quick Google search to find a race in your area.

  • 4. Show your kids what a healthy lifestyle looks like

  • Think for a moment about your kids and grandkids. Don't you want to be able to keep up with them and their active life? Don't you want to show them what it means to take care of your body and truly feel good? Being mindful of who watches you is a powerful motivator in being committed to a life of exercise.

  • 5. Log your workouts on your blog or workout forum

  • Logging your workouts can be the difference between halfheartedly working out or holding yourself 100 percent accountable. If you take part in an online forum, you may find other people with similar goals who can push you to reach your workout goals or offer advice.

  • 6. Realize the benefits of consistent exercise

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  • . According to the Mayo Clinic, there are 7 benefits to working out: weight control, combat health conditions and diseases, improve mood, boost energy, better sleep, better sex and stress relief. Who wouldn't say "yes please" to all the above? Exercise is more than just fitting into your old jeans or trying to impress others with your trim figure. It's about becoming an overall healthier person on all levels: physically, emotionally and mentally.

  • 7. You want to be one of those healthy grandmas/grandpas

  • Think long term. Do you want to be dependent on others or a wheelchair when getting around? Would you like to enjoy your golden years with your grandkids and not just survive them? Making efforts to get moving today will be an investment in not just your future but in the future of those with whom you share your life.

  • 8. You're done feeling like garbage

  • Tired of being a couch potato? Tired of feeling lazy, complacent and just "yucky?" Envision a motivated, happier, energetic version of yourself. Better yet, consider pulling out pictures of a much healthier you and time of your life. Maybe even put the pictures in a place where you can see them daily. It will be a constant reminder of why you are sticking to your exercise goals: to be happier and healthier you!

  • 9. Buy new exercise clothes/gear

  • . Sometimes buying some new shoes or yoga pants can be just the thing to get you excited about finding your fitness groove again.

  • 10. Remember to set doable goals tailored to your age, body and fitness level

  • . OK, so now you might be brimming with enthusiasm ready to grab your iPod, running shoes and fire up the old treadmill. Whoa, there. Remember that the goal is health, not a hospital visit. Especially in the beginning, start out slow. Set reasonable fitness goals that are right for you — not your triathlete neighbor. If you have a bad back or knees, consider doing exercises that are low impact, like swimming or cycling. Talking with a personal trainer and doctor before you register for that kickboxing class would be a wise idea, as well.

  • Don't wait until the post holiday guilt has hit you on New Years Day to set your fitness goals. Find a workout you love and stick with it. If not for yourself, for the people with whom you share your life. They could be your greatest motivator for having a healthier, more complete way of life.

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Debbie Sibert is a Utah native and mother of three. Contact her at

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