It’s true that everyone who loves fitness and is passionate about fitness claims that it’s easy, but equally it’s normal to struggle with motivation at the start of the process. This is especially true for those who feel like they don’t have the time or even worse, the physical strength, to work through a serious, science-driven diet and training schedule.
The thing is, fitness doesn’t always have to be intense and it doesn’t always have to be measured. Especially at the start of the process, getting into fitness is a gradual experience that starts with research and exercising at your own pace. When you’re ready you will find the level of fitness that is right for you and that’s what matters.
This message is important for those of us that already love fitness as much as for those that hate the idea of exercising. As with everyone who has a passion, it’s normal for fitness lovers to talk about being healthy a lot and to try and pass their enthusiasm onto friends and family. This post is for those who find themselves constantly encouraging their loved ones to get involved in their fitness journey, but consistently hit dead ends.
Here’s how to get the whole family involved in staying active and healthy.
The Little Ones
The best part about working out with little ones is that as long as you gamify what you’re doing, they’re almost guaranteed to get involved and enjoy themselves. Children are naturally energetic and love to play so shifting your exercise proposition into some form of game activity is the key to success on this one.
A great way to think about it is like a playground. Companies that manufacture school playground equipment, like this one, and who do research into what makes school playgrounds successful find that engagement is the key. Children are fun and excitable, but they’re also stubborn and if they aren’t naturally interested they simply won’t get involved, even if it’s something you know that they would enjoy.
When proposing exercise to the little ones in your family, add something exciting to the formula. Vibrant colours, competitiveness and gamification will all make a huge difference in getting children active and along for the ride with you. Plus, the little ones are often the key to the rest of the family, so if you convince them everyone else will start to follow.
Obviously there are some exceptions, but in general teenagers will always be a challenge. By nature, teenage minds are going through a lot with the pressure of school combined with vast hormonal and bodily changes, which can often lead to argumentativeness and stubbornness.
There are many ways to motivate a teenager and convince them to take part in your active journey. However, the most important point is to treat the negotiation like an economy. Whilst young children will try most things once and continue if it’s fun, teenagers will often only try something if they think they will gain something from it. Therefore, you need to entice your teenage loved ones to get involved for a reward of some kind. The type of reward is entirely personal to the teenager in question, but the key is to make those first few active trips enjoyable and engaging so that eventually the active lifestyle will become something that is actively enjoyed rather than just tolerated for the sake of a reward.
Note that there’s a good chance your initial activity attempt won’t be successful. Everyone likes to exercise differently and finding the type of exercise that your teenager will respond to is a matter of trial and error. Be patient and persistent and you’ll eventually help them create a great relationship with exercise and form a healthy habit that will benefit them throughout life.
Now for the adults. You likely don’t need to be told how difficult it can be for adults to motivate themselves to exercise. For most, the struggle isn’t necessarily desire or enjoyment, it’s time. You go to work, come home, then have to clean, cook, do other housework and by the end, there is little time available for you so why would you want to spend it exercising?
We’ve all been there. For adults, the key is routine. Plan and prepare everything that you need in advance, then be strict with your schedule so that when you’re being active, you’re focusing on the act of exercising and not thinking about what’s next. Fitness is addictive, it’s just a matter of experiencing it properly and you aren’t able to do that if you are worrying about what’s happening next in your schedule.
Try this with your own family members and you’ll see how well it works. Almost all adults know about the benefits of exercising and wish that they did more so there’s no trouble there, simply block out part of someone’s schedule, take them exercising and be strict until it becomes second nature. Habits can take over two months to form so be stubborn, be rigid and you’ll see results.
Finally, we have the elderly. The elderly don’t have motivational struggles and don’t tend to have time struggles either, this time it’s about physical ability. The elderly can rarely handle intense, high-energy exercise so the key to getting them involved is to start slow and simple.
Long walks are often enough exercise for the elderly and getting them out of the house is great for their mental health too. Be patient and respond to their needs because everyone is different and especially with the elderly, it’s important to tailor your approach to each individual.
Incorporate these strategies into your family and within a few months you should have more people involved in your active lifestyle. Remember that pressure can often be exerted without trying. The more family and friends you get to join you on your fitness journey, the more likely that those who aren’t included will join you, or will at least try joining you once or twice. Seize the opportunities and you can get everyone involved in a healthier way of life.