The Psychology Behind Why We Quit Exercising

The Psychology Behind Why We Quit Exercising

If exercise makes us feel so good, why is it so hard to do it?

More than ever, there is a greater trend among many Americans to improve their lifestyle habits and take charge of their health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of Americans reported no leisure-time physical activity in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available.

Emphasis on the desired physical effects of exercise may contribute to our apathy toward physical activity (Woods, 2011). Doctors often recommend exercise to lose weight, lower cholesterol, or prevent diabetes. However, it can take months to see physical changes from working out. Many people become discouraged and skip the workout at the very time it has the most significant payoff, preventing them from noticing how much better they feel when exercising. Feeling too tired for the early morning workout or too tired to exercise after work indicates precisely when you need it the most. During these times, you get the payoff; exercise, even a small amount, increases endorphins, relieves stress, and makes you feel better and even more energized.

Some reasons why people quit exercising:

exercise and mental health
exercise and mental health

Find what fits your body

While it can be helpful to have a precise goal behind your efforts, such as weight loss or stress relief, the motivation should be organic to who you are and what you truly want. Listen to yourself and what you want. The treadmill is not for everyone, so maybe find an outdoor activity, like walking in a park or around the neighborhood, or play high-cardio sports, like kicking around a soccer ball, riding a bicycle, swimming, or tennis.

The human body is a complex system that can benefit from various forms of exercise. Activities such as running, swimming, biking, weightlifting, aerobics, dancing, yoga, and even walking can have positive effects over time. It is crucial to find an enjoyable activity and tailor your workouts to reflect your preferences. Remember, music is a great tool to free your mind from negative thoughts that may sabotage your efforts, so put together a great playlist of your favorite songs and take it with you on your workout. Walking with music is a great way to start if you have been sedentary for a while.

The power of motivation

Intrinsic motivation stems from knowing what we are doing (Weir, 2011). It is important to continually remind ourselves why we exercise and focus on long-term health benefits. Motivation for long-lasting exercise habits and good nutrition are all inside jobs. Add the following ingredients and watch your mind, body, and soul flourish in ways you never imagined.

  • Be happy and grateful for where you are and what you have now. Not when you lose 20 lbs. or 5 inches off your waistline.

  • Love and respect yourself. Practice self-love and care for yourself enough to maintain your body with good, wholesome food choices and regular exercise.

  • Care for YOU first. It is time to be selfish. If you do not put your own oxygen mask on first, you will eventually run out of air and not be any good to anyone else. More often than not, everyone and everything is more important than you. Change that. Schedule your time first and watch your body and health improve dramatically.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to staying fit. It’s important to identify and overcome any excuses or barriers that may be holding you back from achieving your fitness goals. While it’s true that getting fit can be challenging, the key to success is finding what motivates you and sticking with it, both mentally and physically. Remember, everyone has a unique fitness journey, and it’s essential to find what works best for you.