How to stay motivated to exercise?

13 January 2021
Leon standing with his mum.
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Exercise and movement are one of the best ways to help you boost your physical and mental wellbeing.

Let’s Move with Leon are my set of 30-minute online classes specially designed to help people with arthritis exercise at home. You may have already completed the programme or perhaps you’re part way through.

Wherever you are on your journey, the Let’s Move with Leon programme is yours for life. It’s there for you to repeat in full, or just dip in and out of, any time you like.

The programme is designed to give you the tools you need to create an exercise routine to suit you and give you more confidence.

To help you, here’s my advice on ways to find what works for you and tips to keep motivated.

Plan a routine

The first step to success is to plan your exercise, whether that’s doing a zoom yoga class, stretching and strengthening exercises at home or doing some of the Let’s Move with Leon classes.

  • Plan your exercise for the week ahead. Write your weekly plan on a calendar, stick a message on your fridge, create a reminder on your phone – whatever will help you remember.
  • Schedule in an amount of time that works for you. Identify when is the best time when there’s little distraction and you’re likely to feel more motivated. Vary the days and the workouts to keep them interesting. Have a back-up day, in case things don’t work out on your day of choice.
  • Build a routine. Exercise and movement should be like brushing your teeth, it’s something you just do! Try not to think of it as a chore. Tell people about what you’re doing or do your exercise with a friend or family member, for some peer support.
  • Adjust as you go. You can play with the frequency, intensity, time or type of exercise as you progress. For example, after two weeks of walking for 10 minutes a day, you could increase it to 20 minutes and see how that goes.

Listen to your body

If on a scale from 1-10 you feel your pain level go above 4, then slow down or stop. If pain is sharp, then ease off. And if it lasts more than 24 hours, see a health professional.

Don’t push through pain, instead adjust your routine to find a frequency and level that’s right for you. To learn how to know good pain vs bad pain, read this informative article with Dr Benjamin Ellis - Ask the expert: I have arthritis, should I exercise?

Stay motivated

Busy lives, fatigue, injury and illness can get in the way of exercise. There might be times when you fall out of your routine or find motivation difficult, that’s normal.

Here are some key tips to stay motivated:

  • Remind yourself of the benefits of exercise: increased muscle and bone strength, reduced joint pain, lower fatigue, it's a time to connect with others, improved sleep, weight and decreased anxiety.
  • Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Every bit of exercise you do helps.
  • Be kind to yourself and gently get yourself back on track.

To join in and enjoy the benefits of a more active life, sign up to Let’s Move with Leon today.

Sharing experiences of your physical activity journey can be a brilliant motivator too. If you're on Facebook why not join our Let's Move Facebook group?

We’re here for you

If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you.

  • If you would like to talk to someone, you can call our free helpline on 0800 5200 520 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm)
  • Chat to our Arthritis Virtual Assistant
  • Join our online community
  • Stay in touch and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram