One of the most helpful ways to reduce stress is regular exercise. It helps to relax tense muscles, helps you to sleep and improves your physical and mental health. You don’t need to go overboard on the exercise, even simple activities such as going for a brisk walk, cycling, or just having a dance will help.
Sometimes we don’t feel like exercising, with unhelpful thinking such as "I’ll start tomorrow", "I’ll make a fool of myself", "I’m never going to get fit so why bother?".
Here are some tips to increase your motivation to exercise
- Think about the things you would like to achieve through exercising – what are your goals?
- Find something fun – vary the activity if possible so that you don’t get bored
- If you haven’t exercised for a while, start gently then slowly increase how often you exercise and how much you can do.
- Set yourself short- and long-term goals that are possible to achieve. Moving in small steps will give you a great sense of satisfaction and motivate you to keep going, especially when you notice a decrease in stress.
- Find an exercise buddy or join a club: it’s always more fun and motivating to exercise with others.