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How to Exercise When You Have No Energy or Motivation

You know you should exercise to maintain or lose weight and to improve your health. Finding the motivation and energy to do it is another story. Before you do anything else, examine your diet. Cut down on sugars, and increase the amount of protein and whole grains you eat. A healthier diet improves your energy levels so you can exercise longer and effectively.

List the reasons you need or want to exercise. Add as many reasons as you can, such as losing weight, fitting into a favorite dress or lowering your cholesterol. Go beyond the obvious by adding reasons such as sleeping better or fighting stress.

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Start with a short workout. If you have low energy, don’t aim for a two-hour session. You’ll probably fail and feel even more discouraged. Instead, start with a daily 15-minute walk for at least a week. Then, increase your workout session by five minutes every few days until you reach at least 30 minutes of activity every day.

Find an activity you enjoy. It’s easier to find motivation to exercise if you’re having fun. If you like the outdoors, you might enjoy backpacking, biking or roller-skating. Maybe you can join a group, such as a beginner's tennis team. Being part of a sports team gives you motivation to show up when you otherwise might not.

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Exercise when your energy level is at its highest. If you’re a morning person, exercise in the morning. Don’t try to work out at night. Make time for an exercise session when your body feels strongest.

Hire a personal trainer, or find a workout buddy if you have a difficult time working out on your own. Knowing someone is counting on you to show up provides some needed motivation. Group exercise classes are good options.

Keep an accomplishment diary. Every time you complete a workout, lose a pound or achieve a milestone, write it down. Keep track of how your energy levels improve. You can read about your past accomplishments when you feel discouraged or lack motivation.