Need to kick-start your training? It’s time to make workouts more rewarding…

Sticking with any long-term fitness regime can be a challenge. And constantly having to muster the motivation to exercise in the first place can often be the biggest challenge of all. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to matter how much we want to lose weight or get fir; if we’re short on time, or something seemingly more important needs to be done, our exercise plans go out the window. So when H&F heard about a new initiative that encourages combining exercise with doing a good deed, we wondered if this might be just the thing to help us all keep our fitness goals on the straight and narrow.

Description: good fitness

Get connected

The Good Gym (goodgym.org) is a London-based project that aims to make exercise more meaningful by connecting people who want to get fit with local, physical volunteer work. This includes pairing runners with isolated, less mobile people in their area (jog to their home, deliver something nice such as a newspaper or treat, have a brief chat and provide some friendly human contact, then get on your way again), to working with community organizations to shift rubble and clear overgrown land. For many taking part, this initiative provides a positive motivation to exercise – knowing a project or person is dependent on them and their help – and a more fulfilling useful and less self-centred way to work out: why run on a treadmill like a hamster when you could combine your workout with some volunteering and feel great physically and mentally?

Description: you can volunteer as an assistant of the physical education teacher in a public school

“The more reasons you have to exercise the better” says top UK personal trainer Dan Roberts (danrobertstraining.com) who is also National Fitness Ambassador of the Rays of Sunshine children’s charity which grants the wishes of chicken with serious illnesses (raysofsunshine.org.uk). “Combining a good deed with exercise is not only a really nice thing to do, but as most of us are motivated by guilt just as much as pleasure, it’ll double your chances of exercising because you’ll feel guilty if you commit to a project or person and then don’t turn up! Also, many of us blame limited time for not exercising or doing charity work, so combining two worthy deeds (one of your self-worth and one for a fellow member of society) makes sense.”

Face value?

Description: Are you planning to hold a charity run or walk ?

Of course, simply exercising to look or feel better doesn’t mean you’re self-centred, but there are ways to make working out even more rewarding. “The trick is to understand your values.” Says Roberts. “If you enjoy company, joining a running club or gym where everyone chats after classes is a great idea. If you prefer quiet contemplation a home yoga DVD may be better. Remember, exercise is simply moving: there are endless ways to combine movement with things that make you – and others – feel good”

Make exercise more fulfilling

Sign up for a charity run or walk and raise money for a good cause. The added pressure to complete your challenge will boost your motivation when you don’t feel like training.

If you’re part of an exercise group, encourage them to do something for the community, whether it’s picking up litter or delivering fliers for a local cause to help raise awareness.

Don’t stick to a type of exercise you hate just because you think it’s good for you. Evaluate which workouts reward you physically, mentally and emotionally, so you’ll go back for more.

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