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Jude's avatar

Can't get motivated to exercise because you're not happy, has this happened to you?

Asked by Jude (32120points) May 19th, 2009

I’m working like a dog, having some fun, but, I can’t say that I’m truly happy right now (stress, family issues)—and I feel like I’m in a funk. I can’t for the life of me get motivated to exercise. I’m not lazy, at all—I just don’t have the drive.

Has this happened to you? And how did you get motivated?

I used to be a runner and have been in great shape for most of my life. Bah..

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24 Answers

Kenyan's avatar

Actually yes this has happened to me. I usually put in a full days workout but lately i have not been myself due to various issues. Until I seen on TLC a documentary on the world’s heaviest man, i think his name was Manuel but anyway, even though he was extremely overweight he always had a positive outlook. He would exercise by dancing in bed or doing a few sit ups but he always smiled. Just by seeing that made me relieze how good my life has been and it made me start excersing again. Hope this helped =]

TaoSan's avatar

I can perfectly relate to it. I’ve been going through a really rough time for the last 1.5 years. Business screwed up, relationship broken what have you. I used to have less than 10% body fat at any time, Muay Thai blackbelt, compulsive runner.

Fast forward, now I got a BMI of 33 and can’t get my arse up to even run 2 or 3 mls.

It’s horrible, and a vicious circle on top of it. The fatter you get, the less you move the more you eat, sigh.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any good advice on how to break this open.

Jude's avatar

I’m small (petite/thin), but sadly have lost a lot of muscle (all began with a shitty breakup). I get winded easily with cardio. Climbing a huge flight of stairs? Forgeddaboudit.

I’d love to get back there, though, and feel good again.

cak's avatar

Oh sure, it’s a vicious cycle, too.

You have to get yourself moving, again. It will completely help end the funk and get your feeling better about yourself and rid you of some of that stress.

Start small, when you are cleaning, turn up the tunes. I am a dancing fool when I am cleaning, especially if I am in a lazy mood. Since I can’t run, right now, I am getting creative on getting moving. I’ve noticed that if I play certain types of music, I’ll move. Keep the tv off, music on and stand up. Sooner or later, you’ll start moving.

It’s hard when life if bogging you down and you are trying, against everything, to just get the smallest amount of exercise worked back into your life. It’s just getting go that is the hard part. That’s why I say start small. Little things. Turning on music, Brighten up the room – more light, more energy you might feel. Or, try an old sensory trick. Put on some suntan lotion. Yep! Suntan lotion. It’s a quick picker-upper.

Small things! It helps, then start working exercise back in.

DarkScribe's avatar

Nope. Being happy isn’t a requirement. If you need to exercise, then you exercise. One of the nice things about exercise it that it improves your level of contentment, in itself it can make you happy. Some people become addicted to it for that reason.

nikipedia's avatar

Can you go exercise right now?

hearkat's avatar

There’s a reason that the ad slogan “Just Do It” was so catchy… because that’s the trick. Even the hard-core athletes have the days they don’t want to work out… but you have to make yourself do it anyway.

By forcing yourself to go, you get a sense of accomplishment, rather than having fuel to add to your misery in the form of guilt for not getting off your ass.

On top of that, you get the benefit of the exercise itself, which is to feel stronger, release stress, get an endorphin rush, sleep better, clothes fit better, etc.

But it all starts with a first step… it sometimes helps to make it an obligation by having a partner or a trainer if you can afford it. It’s harder to talk yourself out of it if you know that means inconveniencing someone else.

I have had many self-esteem and body image issues resulting from childhood sexual abuse. I have been significantly overweight for about 15 years, and moderately overweight prior to that. In the past 8 months, I’ve lost 36 pounds of fat, and gained 17 pounds of muscle. I’m down 2 pants sizes, and I feel great.

I’m doing it slowly by making gradual changes in my life that are liveable, rather than following some strict program that changes everything and sets unrealistic expectations. You can change if you really want to… just do it.

dannyc's avatar

Well, I have to admit I sometimes find every reason not to, but my wife,an exercise junkie will try every trick to motivate me. I am grumpy, but still go. And happy when I leave, go figure….

Jude's avatar

@nikipedia I am heading to bed now because I have to get up at 5 in the a.m., so, not at this very moment, no. (I type this as I yawn). The plan is to do a fast walk at lunch tomorrow. I have a good 30 minutes. That’s the plan. Now, I have had lots of plans in the last few months, but, have never followed through. I’m hoping to do what cak said and start small. Once I get started, I’m usually good to go.

dannyc's avatar

@hearkat . Fantastic to hear. I have a son who has a similar situation. I hope he can be inspired similarly.

Nefily's avatar

I feel the same way I get so depressed sometimes that exercising is just an unattainable goal. I need to be pumped up with energy and happiness to aquire that self-motivation it just does not come easy for me.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Every time I get down about something, I do exercises because they make my body sore but the changes are my reward for pushing through. I stand in front of a full length mirror naked, pissed off about flab and punish myself with squats, pliets, whatevers until I see result. I tell myself no one gives a damn about how I feel or what’s important to me or blah blah blah, whatever it takes to make myself angry enough to get into that mode.

I bring up anger because anger triggers adrenaline and also endorphins. If being happy or sad hasn’t been able to motivate you then anger is at least worth a try. Nothing wrong with tricking yourself out for a good cause.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Ya and I’ve been there for a couple years now. Seriously. (not laziness but more of what you are talking about). I suggest you pull yourself out of it and force yourself to excercise or the barrier builds and becomes stronger.

justwannaknow's avatar

Yeah, Then the doctor told me to get off my a%^& or die. I thought I wanted to die the first time I really worked out,.

Darwin's avatar

Depression will do that to you. I am in the process of trying to get back into shape after a long depression and two years on my butt due to surgery. My solution was to hire a personal trainer for the first time in my life. Just like when having a running partner will somehow force you into running even on days when you feel blah, having a trainer waiting for me at the gym can be enough to get me going.

As I get into better shape I am doing more things and being more active in general, so some day I need to dispense with his services. But not yet.

But one thing to remember is that a good workout makes you produce endorphins. These in turn make you feel great.

wildpotato's avatar

A routine helps – like, say to yourself that you will roll out of bed, walk the dog, and climb on the bike. But for me, the only way I can really get into exercising is by making mixes of fast-paced songs I can pedal to and staring out the window at the swooping pigeons, imaging myself breakdancing to the music or something equally awesome that I can’t actually do. I learned this trick being forced to swim laps as a kid – get a song in your head and just go with it. And to address your problem more directly, you don’t have to be happy to exercise this way – listening to Tool and being angry and depressed while I bike works just as well, and sometimes better, than listening to something exuberant like Girl Talk. Thinking about it now, after reading this great article (take a few minutes and read this, it is interesting and very relevant to your question: link), it seems like a form of delay – you distract yourself from your body’s desire to be inert or to quit exercising by using music and fantasy.

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Facade's avatar

Yea, I’m kinda in that place now. I just have to keep reminding myself how fantastic I looked two years ago and not focus (too much) on how disgusting I feel now.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I went through a period of depression after a breakup two Aprils ago. All I wanted to do was sit at home and smoke pot and be miserable. To get my mind off things, I started making myself feel productive. I started by cleaning and straightening up my house, then was amazed at how much better I felt just by having my surroundings more orderly.

I was unhappy with the weight I’d put on in the relationship, so I decided to be productive with that, too. I told myself that I could walk for 30 minutes a day, no more than that if I didn’t feel like it, but that 30 minutes was hardly anything out of my day. So I made myself do it. Sometimes I really, really had to make myself do it, I was so depressed.

However, after about a week of this, I noticed something rather amazing. I know people always say that exercise helps lift your mood, but I hate exercising, so I always blew that rationale off and didn’t believe it. BUT… it was like I was on an antidepressant, it was crazy how much better my mood was.

What helped was my iPod, finding songs I could stomp to, to work out my pain and anger. Anyway, I think if you can make yourself do it, after a while, you’ll find you’re less depressed.

amoreno06's avatar

workout buddy.
sounds lame, but it helps me.
if i know someone is counting on me to go with them, i know i have to go.
lately it’s been my sister.
but that’s prolly not a good idea cuz we always find a way around it…

“oh look, our fave tv show is on”
“we should spend more time with our parents”
or the worst one…

“i’m hungry, let’s go for pizza”

Alegio618's avatar

I can relate. I find it difficult to want to workout when I’m feeling “blue.” When I force myself to do it anyway, I end up feeling much better—exercise works wonders on the mind.

Disc2021's avatar

If anything not being happy gives me the motivation to work out. Working out almost always makes me feel better about myself – which is what I want the most during unhappy moments. That is my motivation.

I think you’re just clouded with too many other problems to think about working out or it’s just too inconvenient currently. Which isn’t a bad thing – maybe once things cool down a bit you’ll start running again?

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