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  • Emma Sutherland

6 tips to rekindle your exercise motivation

Updated: Jan 19

Hello, 2023! A new year brings new opportunities and challenges. It’s also the time that we feel most inspired to make a change and better ourselves. Part of the “new year, new me” squad? For you – and many others – this may involve beginning a new exercise regime.


The prospect of starting to exercise can be daunting. There’s a fear of the unknown – when to start? What to start with? Are people looking at me? Am I doing this right? How am I going to fit this into my already hectic life? We’ve all been there – even the most experienced of gymgoers have had these thoughts cross their minds. They probably still have days where they feel like this too.


We’re here to make taking those first steps into the world of fitness a little bit easier. Before we get into how we’re going to do that, let’s take a second to remember why exercise is oh-so-important.

dumbbells exercise equipment
Exercise benefits both your body and mind.

Exercise and menopause

Maintaining a healthy body and mind is essential at any age, however, as you become older your body needs extra attention. Menopause is a perfect time to indulge in some self-care – exercise is a great way to do so.


Exercise has countless benefits: here are some that concern menopause.


Lowers your risk of developing health conditions

As you age, you become more susceptible to developing a number of health conditions. It’s an unfortunate truth of life. Fortunately, exercise can provide some relief and act as a preventative measure.


Aerobic exercise is particularly useful in reducing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Menopause brings a decline in oestrogen, as well as testosterone, which alters your heart function. Getting sweaty gives your heart the chance to work out, improving its output and circulation.


During this stage of life, bone density decreases which means a heightened risk of osteoporosis. Strength training can slow down – and possibly counteract – this process. How? By putting some stress on your bones, strength training pushes cells to get to work and produce stronger bones.


This doesn’t mean that you must be lifting super heavy weights – exercises utilising your body weight, resistance bands, and lighter weights are still beneficial in getting your muscles – and bones – pumping.


Mood booster

Menopause may be particularly stressful and leave you feeling low at times.

Whilst exercising, the pituitary gland in your brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for giving you feelings of euphoria. One study found that menopausal women who undertook regular exercise had better mental health than their peers who were inactive.


Effectively, exercise gives you a free dose of happiness. Don’t be surprised if you finish your workouts feeling on top of the world!


Better sleep

Noticed a decline in your quality of sleep? Changes in sleep – whether it’s too much, too little, or not happening as easily as you were once used to – are a common complaint for many in menopause.


Exercise may be a remedy for these problems. In one study, participants who exercised regularly over a 4-month period noticed an improvement in the duration of their sleep (an increase of up to 1 hour 25 minutes a night for some!) and the time it took for them to drift off.

Bed with white linen
Your sleep will reap the benefits of your new exercise regime.

Now that you know the benefits of exercising during menopause, let’s find out how to get motivated to get moving!


Kickstart your exercise regime

Start small

It can be tempting to take that surge of motivation that comes with the new year and run with it. Whilst that energy is wonderful, we recommend that you think of this journey as a slow jog rather than an all-out sprint.


It’s recommended that adults should aim for either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity, on a weekly basis. Ideally, you should squeeze in a couple of strength-focussed training sessions too. It’s best to build up to this recommendation.


Have a play around with the frequency and length of your workouts. Maybe your goal is to work out 5 days a week. Start off by exercising a couple of times a week. Once you’ve achieved that target, slowly increase the frequency of your workouts until you hit your overall target. The same applies to the length – let’s say at first you start out with 15 minutes of exercise a day. As you become fitter, start lengthening your workouts.


Try to integrate more movement into your everyday life. Things like walking or cycling instead of driving, taking the stairs, and putting some vigour into your cleaning can all add up. When we said to start small, we really meant it!


By setting yourself smaller, more manageable goals – and seeing yourself achieve them – you’re less likely to become discouraged. You’ll also avoid any slumps in routine due to mental and physical exhaustion as you’re building up to a fitter, more capable you. It can be far easier to stay disciplined too, setting you up with an exercise routine that will stand the test of time.


Listen to your body

It’s great to push yourself but you need to keep your limits in mind.

If you feel any pain whilst working out, take some time out. Ignoring pain may result in an injury – that’s the last thing you want when you’re just beginning to build a great routine!


Not feeling up to working out? That’s okay, whatever the reason may be. Discipline is essential to maintaining an exercise regime, but if your body is telling you that it needs rest – respect that. You should be scheduling some rest days into your regime anyway.


Rest days are equally as important as the days you work out. Taking some time off from exercising gives your body time to rest and repair. It also ensures that you keep it fun – exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore! In fact, rest days often leave you itching to get back to it.


Make it a friendly affair

Friends. What would we do without them? They make us laugh, they’re there when we need a good cry, and they make great company on a fitness journey!


If you’re feeling uneasy about exercising, having a friend there to join you as you venture through the unknown can be great for your confidence. It’ll also hold you more accountable – you’re less likely to bail on plans out of fear of letting your friend down. Friends will make any workout just that little bit more fun too!


Exercising also presents the opportunity to make new friends – no matter what it is that you enjoy, you can find a community of like-minded people. Join some workout classes or groups in your area and get chatting!


Do something you enjoy

So, what is the best workout? That’s an easy one: the best workout is one that you enjoy. The beauty of fitness is that there is something for everybody. Whether you want to get super sweaty or stretch it out and find your inner peace, you’re bound to find something that suits you.


A great way to figure out what you like is by attending classes. Your local gym will provide a variety of classes, from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to spinning, yoga, and many more. Classes tend to be full of people of mixed abilities, so no need to worry about being a newbie – you won’t be the only one.


The internet is a useful resource if you want to keep your workouts a bit more private. Whatever you feel like trying, you will be presented with countless videos or guides. This is a great way to build some confidence with exercise and removes any fear of embarrassment that may be holding you back.

Woman doing yoga
Move your body in a way that feels good for you.

Ask for help

The fitness-sphere can be confusing, with conflicting opinions being spouted out just about everywhere you turn.


You don’t have to feel alone or confused. Whether you’re in a workout class, in the gym, or something just doesn’t feel quite right, there are staff and experts that are there to help you.


As they say, knowledge is power… Asking for help when you need it will build your knowledge and confidence. You’ll be an exercise expert in no time!


Remember your why

Motivation can burn out at any stage. Therefore, it’s crucial to know why you want to make a change and begin your new exercise regime.


It could be that you want some more structure in your life, you want to be at your fittest so that you can enjoy life to the max, or to boost your confidence. Take a minute to brainstorm some ideas. Why will exercise benefit you? How do you want to feel?


Having a more emotional reason as to why you want to exercise is what will keep you disciplined. On dark, cold mornings when all you want to do is hit snooze, your why is what will get you out of bed.


One last thing…

Exercise is an accessible and – depending on your preferences – relatively cheap medicine that can improve your overall quality of life and your journey through menopause.


Embarking on a fitness regime can be nerve-wracking. Remember that you’re doing it for your own benefit. Try not to complicate things either. Movement should be fun and make you feel fantastic - this should be your main focus!


Prior to embarking on a new exercise regime, arrange a consultation with your doctor to ensure it is safe to do so. Your doctor will be able to offer some advice as to what exercise is suitable for you.


Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this site are for informational purposes only. No material on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. And never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


References:

  1. “Benefits of exercise.” https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/. Accessed 1 January 2023.

  2. “Strength training builds more than muscles.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/strength-training-builds-more-than-muscles. Accessed 1 January 2023.

  3. “Quality of life of rural menopausal women in response to a customized exercise programme.” https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.03784.x. Accessed 1 January 2023.

  4. “Menopause and cardiovascular disease.” https://doi.org/10.1177/2053369117749675. Accessed 2 January 2023.

  5. “Aerobic exercise improves self-reported sleep and quality of life in older adults with insomnia.” https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2010.04.014. Accessed 2 January 2023.

  6. “Effects of exercise and physical activity on depression.” https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-010-0633-9. Accessed 2 January 2023.




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