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Maybe because of everything that is happening in the world and in our country, you don’t even think about exercise. Due to official measures and restrictions, most restaurants, shops and gyms are closing or have limited working hours. Feeling of insecurity and anxiety about the future distress each of us in some way. And it’s completely natural. Moreover, it is necessary to understand which thoughts are worth paying attention to. We can’t directly influence the geopolitical situation in the world, the presidential election in the USA or the traditional “black chronicle”, so why do you have to deal with it and increase your stress level? However, the only thing we can influence is the way we deal with all this stress factors. And one of the best way to improve physical and mental health is to do sports and exercise.
If all the benefits of sports and exercise were sold in the form of pills in the pharmacy, the queue would never end, and people would argue for the best place in the crowd. Just imagine going to the pharmacy to buy something to improve mood, reduce anxiety, support immunity and muscle growth. And the pharmacy assistant would offer you a monthly package of strength exercise and a half-year package of running in nature. He would also say that you should take strength exercise once a day three times a week and running in nature once a day on days when you are not taking strength exercise. We are sure that a month later, everyone would come to the pharmacy to thank them for feeling much better. You can read about the effect of regular sports activity on our physical and mental health below. [1-12]
What can a regular exercise and physical activity do?
↓ chronic stress, anxiety, symptoms of depression, health risks, body weight
↑ mood, cognitive functions, sleep, immune system, bone density, muscle mass, flexibility and balance
It seems that perhaps there is no aspect where regular exercise and physical activity would not have a positive effect. However, the problem is that most gyms and fitness centers are closed, and thus, government restrictions make it very difficult to follow healthy lifestyle. But you can also exercise at home! Unfortunately, that’s still not quite the same, is it? At home, you might be missing dumbbells, weights, a squat rack, a sparring partner, loud motivational music, which pushes you finish the set no matter what it costs, or a group personal training during which you can’t even breathe for a moment. Let us tell you how not to stop exercising even at home and how to make it fun. If you want to know more about benefits of regular exercise, read our article 10 Unexpected Benefits of Workout That Will Improve Your Life.
5 steps to help you stay motivated to exercise and do sports at home
In the time of home office, online university and limited socializing, you can find yourself in an even more difficult life situation than before. Ideally, you should not leave home, and probably most of the time you decide whether to do the assigned tasks within flexible working hours before or after the next episode of “Emily in Paris.” What’s more, we really admire those parents with school children, who don’t know what to do first. They should constantly choose whether to study with children, cook, do elaborate tasks, exercise, or solve sibling rivalry.  
On the other hand, even the busiest person can find at least half an hour a day to exercise. Physical activity and exercise are one of the best nootropics to support brain functions, and underrated biohack, which is a powerful weapon against stress, a tool to improve health, fitness and body. For that reason, let’s see what we can do to stay motivated.
1. Find your ‘why’
To successfully master everything you want to achieve, you need a strong reason and you should know Why do you want to work out? The stronger and more important your ‘why’ is, the more likely you will be able to maintain motivation to exercise in the long run. Unfortunately, motivation alone is not enough. When your ‘why’ is too general, there is a greater chance that in the evening after working day, you will rather lie down in front of the TV than do some exercise. This can happen, for example, if your ‘why’ is connected with health maintenance, or weight loss. If your goals are that general, you might tell yourself that it’s not that bad, and it is enough to start working on yourself on Monday or when the stars align. 
Try to break your main and hard to achieve ‘why’ into smaller objectives, which will help you achieve your goal in the long run.
Main ‘why’: I want to lose weight
Smaller objective: I need to clear my head after a hard day working day
Smaller objective: I want to let go of anger
Smaller objective: I want to improve my mood
Smaller objective: I want to relieve back pain from sitting all day
Smaller objective: I want to be more focused and complete tasks faster
2. Set achievable and realistic goals
This point is quite closely related to your ‘why’. Let’s say you decide to lose 20 kg or gain 5 kg of muscle mass in half a year and with MMA wrestlers determination you do everything to achieve it for the first few days. Over time, however, the motivation and desire to achieve the goal decreases due to the fact that you lost “only” 2 kg, and you are not so satisfied with yourself. This is mainly because your goal is too hard to achieve.
All human beings have an internal reward system that motivates us to do things that are important for our survival, such as the need to eat and drink. It also motivates us, “forces” to learn, or elicits pleasurable feelings. Learning for an exam or forcing yourself to exercise is sometimes a punishment, but the good feeling after successfully completing the task and the motivation for further work is worth it, isn’t it? This is due to our brain’s reward system in the form of the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. We can compare this to a situation when you feel good after satisfying the feeling of hunger, thirst, or after passing an exam or having sexual intimacy. If your goal is 6 months away, your body doesn’t get its reward in the form of dopamine, and this is exact reason why you don’t want to continue working on your goal. Simply put, dopamine gives us some motivation and a desire to achieve goals.  
What to do with long-term goals? Break them down into individual steps…
It’s really as simple as it seems at first glance. You probably already know that this is important mainly due to the more frequent activation of brain’s reward system and the feeling of satisfaction from the ongoing fulfillment of individual steps. With this strategy, the dopamine will start working for you, not against you. 
|Go for a walk, jogging or work out||Lose 0.83 kg||Lose 0.83 kg||Lose 10 kg||Lose 20 kg|
|Exercise and boost energy and protein intake||Gain 0.21 kg of muscle mass||Gain 0.83 kg of muscle mass||Gain 2.5 kg of muscle mass||Gain 5 kg of muscle mass|
Of course, your weight can vary every day + – 3 kilograms, so it’s crucial to watch other parameters that will tell you more about your progress. You can easily track, for example, waist, hips, thighs and abdomen circumference. If you tick off fulfilled tasks in your diary or calendar everyday, you are on the right track. As to the measurable physical changes, remember, that you can expect them at least after 2 weeks of hard work.
Another method of setting goals is the SMART strategy, where each goal must be:
Specific: 30 minutes of physical activity every day or doing 3 exercises with 50 reps
Measurable: You can use a stopwatch, a phone, or write down the number of reps in a diary to measure the time or number of reps.
Achievable: Don’t try to do everything at once and start step by step. You will achieve better performance over time.
Relevant: Sports activity must be beneficial for you and relate with your ‘why’. Do what you enjoy. There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something trendy, when you don’t even like it.
Time: Daily and weekly goals also work well for self-reflection. For example, if you want to do 30 minutes of physical activity per day, that’s 210 minutes per week.
You can even combine these two methods. Set a long-term goal connected to your ‘why’ and break it down into smaller individual steps, and then use the SMART method to plan how to achieve it.  Are you working hard on yourself, but you can’t see the results? If this problem bothers you, find out more in our article You Don’t See Results from Diet and Hard Work at The Gym? We Will Tell You How to Succeed!
3. Plan your training as an urgent meeting
Telling yourself that you will spend half an hour exercising every day, and hoping that some miracle will help it work, can be the same as betting on Euro Jackpot and hoping to win. It has certainly already happened to you, for example, when things didn’t work out just because you didn’t have any time constraints. That’s why it’s good to get to know yourself a little bit better.
Are you more of a morning bird, so getting up is not a problem for you and you love working out in the morning, which together with a cold post-workout shower, will give you an energy kick for the coming day?
Or you can’t even think about morning exercise and you prefer to do it after work, because sports help relax your mind?
Write a specific exercise time to your calendar and take it as if it was an urgent meeting. Every day from 6:00 in the morning or from 17:30 in the afternoon, you do exercise. To be sure, turn on notifications on your phone, which will remind you about the upcoming event at least 15 minutes before. And what is the best in it? This eliminates the space for excuses. If you are unsure about setting up a home workout, read our article How to Create a Proper Training Program for Home Workouts?
4. Celebrate small achievements as if they were big
A training that you didn’t even want to go to or not hard enough workout is better than nothing. It’s not about being completely perfect every day and working 100%. The main thing is that every time you exercise according to a pre-planned time, you build a habit that will help you achieve your goals. This is probably the most important thing, which lies beneath the surface. From “all or nothing” mindset you can boldly switch to “at least something is better than nothing.”  
This brings another very important thing to light. Take into account and be ready that some things may not go according to your pre-set plan, and come up with a backup plan. What will you do if you have little time to exercise during the day or miss an online group workout? For example, find an intense 10-minute full body workout. Be prepared for the fact that you will not always feel like running and just go for a brisk walk instead. When you have a backup plan, you can avoid the sudden “What now?” situation and stop postponing your training.
5. Be creative
People often say they have absolutely no time in their life. Subsequent, careful and honest analysis of your day will show what you do with your time. Yes, you probably waste an hour on scrolling through social media, half an hour on a messenger, another half an hour of playing mobile games and two hours of watching the series in the evening, which isn’t that interesting anymore, but it’s a habit. And when you count this time, it’s 4 hours, so you could easily spend one hour for daily exercise. 
And to combine pleasant with useful, here are some tips for creative sports activities:
In times of fast internet network and unlimited data, you don’t have to sit in front of your computer screen every time during an online meeting. Try the “walking meeting”, where you go for a walk in the nature and have the meeting in the headphones and, if necessary, on the phone display.
Listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook when exercising or doing sports. It is not the perfect solution for maximum concentration on sports and enjoying the present moment, but if you like it, why not use it.
Try new sports activities. If you exercise at home, include a classic body weight workout, try HIIT training, make your workout more interesting by using home exercise equipment (heavy backpack will make your squats harder, do push-ups and pull-ups), expand your home gym with new equipment or use your old jumping rope.
Experience virtual reality sports with game consoles. If you are a fan of the cult sitcom The Big Bang Theory, you will certainly remember a few scenes when the group of “nerds” played various games such as tennis, bowling or boxing on the Nintendo Wii. How about using your game console for family competitions in dancing, tennis, skateboarding or snowboarding. You may be surprised that even such activities can make you work quite hard.
You can also download an exercise app that will motivate you and show how to work out.
Speed up, slow down, speed up. With this fun technique, you can revive your faded love for running, cycling or sport walking.
Try dancing workout. You can find out how to do it in the article Creative Training: Bodyweight Exercises Inspired by Dance.
How to deal with a low energy day in front of a computer screen?
When working at the computer, try taking regular breaks after about 30 minutes or at least an hour of work. In this way, you will stretch the stiff body and boost blood circulation. If you have a pet, go for a walk or have a “microworkout”, where you do, for example, 10 push-ups, 20 squats and 30 seconds plank. Are you wondering what happens to your body when you do plank every day? Find out in our article What Will Happen If You Do Plank Every Day.
If it is possible, spend some time outside as well. Nature combined with physical activity is literally a cure for the soul. And remember, every step counts.  If you like the idea of doing sports in the fresh air, read our article Outdoor Training – Why and How to Start Exercising in The Fresh Air.
Do you miss the gym?
Create your own small personal gym at home with enough space and training equipment. If you have this space in your sight, you are even more likely to exercise. We will be happy to help you equip your home gym with a set of fitness accessories. If you are looking for more inspiration for exercises and fitness accessories, read our article Exercise in the Comfort of Your Home – Body-Weight Exercises and Workout with Exercise Accessories.
What should you remember?
Staying active and exercising regularly is not an easy task, but it’s not impossible. If you set up your plan and supporting environment correctly, everything is much easier. Keep your main ‘why’ in mind, so that it will constantly remind you of your vision and the goal you want to achieve. To make this work, split your long-term goal into a few individual steps that are easier and faster to achieve. By setting weekly and daily goals, you’ll know exactly what to do each day. Ticking off fulfilled tasks in your calendar or diary every day will result in a a motivation and strong desire to continue due to the dopamine elimination in the body.
By setting a fixed daily time to exercise, you will gain control and increase your chances to do sports regularly. Exercising every day at 16:30 is more helpful than thoughts like “I will exercise some time during the day”. Step by step, it will become a habit, and everything will become far more natural and easier than in the beginning. By adding creativity to your training routine, you will enjoy exercise and it won’t become your “necessary evil.” Today, all of us must show determination, creativity and more efforts to promote overall health by doing exercise and achieving our goals. Every move counts and “even something is better than nothing”.  If you want to get a little more motivated to exercise at home, read our article 11 Tips How to Motivate Yourself to Home Workout.
And how do you manage to exercise regularly? Share your advice, tips and gadgets that help you in the comments below. If you like our new article and it was useful, please support us by sharing it with your friends.
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