How to Exercise When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

by Adam Toffan, M.Sc, NSCA-CSCS, CSEP-CEP
Assistant Fitness Testing & Assessment Coordinator
Recreation Services, University of Manitoba

Research has shown that regular physical activity is important to our health and wellbeing, however because fitness is a life-long journey and not a specific point in time, finding motivation to put on your runners every day can be hard. Motivating yourself to complete tasks you may not be in the mood for can be a challenge, especially if there are no deadlines or immediate consequences to your inaction.

Here are some proven tips to help you get active when you just don’t feel like it:

Plan It. Pull up your calendar and make an appointment with yourself. Scheduling it in as part of your day may help you find the time to work out instead of leaving it until after work or school when you may be more likely to just want to go home.




Partner in Crime. Don’t discount the power of friendship. Knowing another person is counting on you to show up can be enough of a push to lace up. It also takes half of the thinking out of the equation when you don’t have an exercise plan and are left wondering what to do next. Did you know that we also work harder when being observed? You can thank your accountabili-buddy for that.

Excuses, excuses. Try to set yourself up for success by preparing to overcome your own excuses. If you’re running around each morning trying to pack your gym bag, try packing it the night before and leave it at the door. If you’re frequently too tired to work out at the end of the day, try working out either before your day begins, or during your lunch hour. Both the Active Living Centre and Joe Doupe Recreation Centre also have a variety of classes that run 30 minutes to an hour weekly to meet your needs.

Sometimes it’s okay. There are times when the stars just don’t align and even going for an after dinner walk is off the table. That’s okay. The key is to try and avoid feeling guilt or shame. You don’t want to have those negative feelings associated with exercise. Be kind to yourself and try again tomorrow.

Still struggling to make it to the gym? Maybe you need an exciting new exercise program or an accountabili-buddy that will get you to work to the best of your ability on a regular basis. Recreation Services offers a variety of Personal Training & Assessment Packages and our certified personal trainers are excited to work with you!

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