How to Motivate People to Exercise

Anyone will tell you that motivating yourself to take exercise is hard enough. But how do you motivate other people to exercise?

motivation for taking exercise

Although the desire to exercise should come from within, there are several ways you can inspire people to physical training.

Start with the passion

As a general rule, you can’t make anybody do anything they don’t want to do. This is especially true with exercise. But you can talk to them about their passions and see if there’s anything connected to exercise that you can then suggest to them.

For example, somebody could be interested in nature and they could be encouraged to go outside to walk in their local park to observe the wildlife. People would think that’s obvious and, if that was the case, they would do that anyway. But sometimes, if you mention that a certain activity has health benefits, this can be the trigger they need to engage in a regular beneficial activity.

Somebody could really love music and then could be suggested to take up a musical instrument (and play it standing up!)

But most people will have a preference for physical activity. For example, I like running but I hate swimming. Everyone’s different. Some people may well like variety so a mixture of sports could be suggested.

Suggest activities than can be done everyday rather than two or three times a week.

And start small

It’s important to choose the correct amount of exercise as well as the correct form it takes.

One of the major hurdles that people face when considering exercise is the sheer over-whelming size of the task. They’re several pounds over-weight, eat the wrong food, get out of breath by running for the bus and they want to look like a model. Clearly, they need to take things step by step.

It’s always good to choose small goals and then encourage people when they achieve these small goals. Because, let’s face it, it is probably no less of an achievement for someone to jog for 5 minutes than it is for Usain Bolt to run at 44.72 km/h. So why does Usain get all the plaudits?

How to Motivate People to Exercise


It’s always good to be rewarded for what you do. And people who have started an exercise regime should be rewarded. This could come in the form or praise, encouragement or it could be more tangible, like a sauna after a gym session or even a small unhealthy food treat (black chocolate, for example).

Rewards can be self-administered by the one doing the exercise or by the person that is encouraging them. Either way they should be not excessive and consistently delivered as long as the exercise is being undertaken.

The company they keep

As with a lot of new habits, it’s important to be hanging around with people who share your attitude to exercise. This can be very difficult advice to deal out, however. Very often, people who don’t exercise will have loved ones who also don’t exercise, so sometimes this advice can, understandably, fall on deaf ears.

However, there may be some “friends” that are doing no good! Try to replace these people with new friends who are more sympathetic to a new healthier regime.

Keep it up

Don’t let up. It’s important to keep going, especially when habits and regimes are at that tender early stage. Keep on with the rewards, the praise and the encouragement. And keep on increasing the scale of the exercise – so go for longer or faster with whatever form the exercise takes.

What you can do

Do you need to motivate people to exercise or do you need to motivate yourself? What works for you? Let us know in the comments.

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