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YOUNG PEOPLE ASK

How Can I Get Motivated to Exercise?

 Why should I exercise?

In some lands, young people are spending less time being physically active, and it is putting their health at risk. For good reason, the Bible acknowledges that “physical training is beneficial.” (1 Timothy 4:8) Consider the following:

  • Exercise can improve your outlook. Physical activity releases endorphins—brain chemicals that make you feel relaxed and happy. Some call exercise a natural antidepressant.

    “If I go for a run first thing in the morning, my whole day is more productive and enjoyable. Running lifts my mood.”—Regina.

  • Exercise can help you look your best. Balanced exercise will help you become stronger, fitter, and more likely to project self-confidence.

    “It feels great to be able to do ten chin-ups—a year ago there was no way I could do even one! Best of all, I know that I’m taking care of my body.”—Olivia.

  • Exercise can prolong your life. Being active benefits your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Aerobic exercise can also help prevent coronary artery disease—a leading cause of death for both men and women.

    “When we have a healthful exercise routine, we show our Creator that we appreciate the body that he gave us.”—Jessica.

The bottom line: Exercise has huge health benefits for the future, and it can be rewarding right now. “You’ll never say, ‘I wish I hadn’t gone on that hike or that run,’” says a young woman named Tonya. “When I have put my excuses aside and exercised, I have never regretted it.”

A car that is neglected will eventually stop functioning; the same can be true of your body if you neglect exercise

 What’s holding me back?

These are several potential obstacles:

  • No incentive. “I think people feel invincible when they are young. It’s hard to imagine a time when you will have health problems. You think it’s an older-person issue.”—Sophia.

  • No time. “With a busy schedule, I have to make time for good food and sleep, but finding time to exercise has always been more challenging.”—Clarissa.

  • No gym membership. “It’s expensive to stay in shape—you have to pay if you want to go to a gym!”—Gina.

To think about:

What is your biggest obstacle to exercise? Overcoming that obstacle will take some work, but the results will be worth it.

 How can I get the exercise I need?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take responsibility for your health.—Galatians 6:5.

  • Avoid making excuses. (Ecclesiastes 11:4) For example, you don’t need to sign up at a gym to start your exercise program. Just find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your routine.

  • To get ideas, ask others what they do for exercise.—Proverbs 20:18.

  • Have a specific schedule. Set goals and log your progress to keep yourself motivated.—Proverbs 21:5.

  • Find someone to exercise with you. A “workout buddy” will cheer you on and help you stick to a routine.—Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10.

  • Expect setbacks, and don’t give up when you face them.—Proverbs 24:10.

 Be balanced

The Bible tells both men and women to be “moderate in habits.” (1 Timothy 3:2, 11) So be balanced about exercise. People who take working out to extremes often come across as vain. “If a guy’s muscles outweigh his intelligence, that’s the opposite of attractive,” says a young woman named Julia.

Also beware of ‘fitness inspiration’ posters that flaunt slogans such as “When you feel like dying do 10 more.” Such advice could hurt you physically and cause you to lose focus on “the more important things” in life.—Philippians 1:10.

In addition, fitness inspiration can backfire. A young woman named Vera observes: “A lot of girls save pictures of people they want to look like, and they look at those pictures when they lack motivation. But they end up comparing themselves with those people and get discouraged. It’s better to make it a goal to improve your health, not just your appearance.”