One study by Harris Interactive found that 73% of people who set out to exercise in their new year’s resolutions quit before achieving their goals. Yet exercising is one of the most beneficial habits anyone can build. According to the CDC, physical exercise has the following benefits:
- Improving brain activity
- Helps with managing weight
- Helps improve mental health
- Helps strengthen muscles and bones
- Improve your ability to perform activities in daily living
Despite the multiple benefits of exercise, some people find motivation insufficient to keep them going in their fitness journey. Other people are convinced of the benefits of exercising but don’t know where to start. If you have a friend or loved one who needs to incorporate exercise into their daily routine, you may be at a loss about how to encourage them to exercise.
However, with the right tools, you can learn how to encourage someone to exercise and watch as their fitness journey picks up and gains traction. Some people will find that having a consistent, encouraging voice helps them keep exercising. In this article, you will learn how to:
- Appreciate why motivating others to exercise is important
- How not to encourage someone and;
- 10 ways on how to encourage someone to exercise
Why You Need to Encourage Someone to Exercise
You may be healthy, exercise regularly, and observe your diet. However, you may be worried about a loved one or client and wondering how to encourage them to work out. Yet common decency also calls for minding your business and not shoving exercise down another person’s throat.
You may need to encourage someone to exercise out of genuine concern and interest in seeing another person thrive. First, learning how to encourage someone to exercise is essential because it’s good for their mental and physical health. Physical exercise has long been linked with overall good health.
Second, someone may be willing to exercise but is discouraged by a lack of time and energy. Your motivation could be the boost they need to pick up the dumbbells. You can help them plan their day, so they have time to exercise.
Lastly, it may be beneficial if someone you care about exercises. You can spend more time with them and be more assured about their health. For example, encouraging your spouse to exercise could help them be more available for physically engaging activities such as playing with your children.
How Not To Encourage Someone to Exercise
Now that you appreciate the value of exercising and encouraging someone to exercise, some approaches might not work. Sometimes the best way to learn is by avoiding strategies that don’t work. Here are five ways not to encourage someone to exercise.
Don’t Use Punishment as a Motivation: It’s tempting to use punishment to motivate someone to exercise. For example, a parent may deny their child access to TV if they don’t jog in the morning, or a spouse may deny their spouse intimacy to encourage them to work out. However, Ronald Riggio, an author of Psychology Today, advises against punishment as a motivation factor. According to Riggio, punishment is a tool to discourage undesired behavior, not a motivation tool.
Don’t Overwhelm Someone with Statistics: Another temptation is to collect all the statistics on Statista and CDC on how lack of physical activity causes harm. While the facts are true, most people know the dangers of obesity and lack of physical activity. They may even hate themselves for not exercising frequently. Unless you’re a medical practitioner, steer away from hard statistics and work on encouraging your loved one or client to exercise.
Don’t Use Reckless Words: Don’t use negative and embarrassing statements to get someone to exercise. For example, please don’t call them fat, overweight, or lazy bodies. Similarly, don’t use slur words to motivate them to exercise.
10 Ways to Encourage Someone to Exercise
You may play a significant role in someone’s journey to fitness by learning how to encourage them to exercise. Some strategies are effective in encouraging someone to keep fit through physical activity. Here are ten ways to encourage someone to exercise.
1. See What Resources They Have
One of the best places to start when looking for ways to motivate someone to work out is by checking their resources. Some of the exercise activities one can engage in are free or quite affordable. For example, if you settle on jogging for 45 minutes a day, you only need some running shoes and sportswear. However, other options may require finances, for example, enrolling in a gym.
That’s why you can evaluate the resources available to the person you’re helping. For example, their workplaces may have employee benefits providers such as insurance brokers who cover physical activity like joining a gym. Their workplaces may also cover entertainment budgets, such as visiting a medical spa or swimming pool.
2. Plan a Day Out
Sometimes, people may slack in doing physical exercises because of the monotony of indoor exercise. Sometimes, all that’s needed to get someone on track is a change of scenery. Therefore, you can switch up activities and plan a day out. For example, you can plan to visit a local golf course, especially one with full packages, including golf cart services.
If you want to learn how to encourage someone to exercise, it’s essential to remain flexible on the options your loved one can choose. If you prefer squats and burpees in the gym, don’t assume they want that too. Try hiking, playing basketball, or cycling and see if the outdoors encourages them to exercise.
3. Get Nice Home Equipment
Do you know those seemingly basic things, such as equipment, can impact how motivated one is to exercise? One study by the University of Mexico found that satisfaction with a workout facility, the perceived safety of equipment, and user-friendliness, played a role in promoting exercise adherence. Therefore, you can promote exercise adherence by getting nice home equipment such as customized dumbbells, cushion for meditation, and a sturdy treadmill.
If planning a new swimming pool construction, have some equipment customized for pool workouts. Make the equipment easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. If you’re working out with your loved one in the basement, get a wet basement solution to keep the basement dry and suitable for exercise.
4. Use Your Outdoor Space
You could plan some one-off day out or take the whole exercise plan outdoors. For example, if you’re encouraging your spouse to work out, you could convert your outdoor space to make it suitable for exercise. For example, you can get a privacy fence to ensure they’re not anxious about nosy neighbors and distractions from the neighborhood.
Do land clearing if you need extra space to set up an outdoor gym. You may also need to contact a concrete company to section some space for floor workouts. Your loved one may be so motivated by the beautiful views they might adhere to their exercise regime. If you have limited space, a roll up garage door may help you save on space.
5. Make a Sports Team
Consider making a sports team if you’re a trainer or looking at encouraging more than one person to exercise. A sports team can help members keep each other accountable and motivated to exercise. According to Active, working out together promotes team spirit, motivation, and accountability.
One of the best ways to promote team spirit is to get embroidered apparel so you can all feel like a team. When one member feels unmotivated, the others can encourage them to continue and maintain the momentum. Further, if one member registers superb results, they’ll be an additional source of encouragement to others.
6. Make Technology Their Friend
If you want to encourage someone to exercise, consider making technology their friend. A promising systematic review study published in the Archives of Physiotherapy found that digital interventions for home exercise programs can increase exercise adherence in the short term, with a need for more studies for long-term adherence.
You can begin with fitness trackers that can aid in their fitness journey. For example, you can help them find an app that reminds them to walk briskly during lunch breaks. You could also get one that keeps them accountable while sending periodic messages of encouragement.
7. Choose an Appropriate Communication Strategy
It’s possible to have the best intentions to motivate someone to exercise and still get it wrong in communication. For example, you can say the right things in the wrong way. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to communicate appropriately to encourage someone to exercise.
For example, one study published in the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology compared two groups of women. One received a message reinforcing strength and health, while another emphasized appearance. The group that received health and strength reinforcement reported having more positive feelings about their body than the group that received emphasis on appearance. Therefore, learn to emphasize strength, functionality, and health instead of appearance.
8. Practice What You Preach
One of the mistakes you could make while learning how to encourage someone to exercise is not exercising yourself. You may have healthy markers such as a healthy BMI. However, if you try encouraging someone to exercise without practicing, the recipient may feel discouraged or, worse, think you are a hypocrite.
Set a good example by working out consistently and without excuses. Let the person you’re encouraged to see you sweat. One of the biggest benefits of having your workout regime is you don’t have to say anything; you have to do it. Be honest with your struggles, but don’t give excuses.
9. Keep Encouraging and Supporting Them
According to Ronald Riggio of Psychology Today, positive reinforcement is one of the most potent motivators. Send the person you’re encouraging a note of encouragement, a printed t-shirt, or some gym credits if they’ve been consistently working out. Be quick to notice their progress and reward it with positive reinforcement.
Support them with anything you can, for example, offering to babysit while they hit the gym or running an errand for them so they can have some time to work out. You can also help them choose a workout facility that meets their needs.
10. Help Them Find an Exercise They’ll Love
Lastly, a good tip on how to encourage someone to exercise is helping them find an exercise they love. According to HuffPost, one of the reasons people quit working out is because their workouts are boring. Some activities may only be interesting for some people, but not others.
For example, some people prefer water-based exercises to jogging on the treadmill. Similarly, one may enjoy hiking in the morning, while another prefers lifting weights indoors. You can sit with the person you’re encouraging and brainstorm ideas on exercises they prefer. If dancing is more enjoyable than lifting weights, you can incorporate more Zumba and less weight lifting. Be flexible so they can have high exercise adherence.
Exercise has been lauded as one of the most beneficial activities because of its impact on physical and mental well-being. If you can learn how to help someone exercise, you can help them reap these benefits. However, use the right motivation strategies, such as punishment and name-calling. Using the above 10 tips, you can help another person exercise consistently and effectively.
The tips will be more effective if you lead by example. You can reap the benefits of exercise while encouraging another person to exercise. Now that you know how to encourage someone to exercise, it’s best to start so they don’t end up in the 73% of people who start planning to exercise but drop out before meeting their goals.