Motivation for exercise with a full-time office job is a constant struggle for many people.
Waking up on a cold dark, morning with a list of chores to do; worrying about getting to the office before 9am; having a draining day of work with a hellish commute. All of the above can really impact your motivation to do exercise and stay fit.
But, with a new perspective, finding motivation for exercise can be quite easy.
To help those who struggle, I have broken down how I exercise and stay fit despite my full-time office job. While reading, try to think about what things make you tick and how they might work to keep you going.
1. Fun fitness
- This could be anything you do that puts a smile on your face
- Sports with another person mean it is easier to stay motivated
- Try to fit them in immediately before or after work
Fun fitness activities for me
I love playing basketball, going surfing, playing squash, and football (or soccer!). Can do these almost on zero energy because I love them so much.
I always play with friends and not in organised clubs or groups. For me, clubs are less appealing for a couple of reasons. I don’t like the idea of competing against strangers and I don’t like being tied to a specific timetable.
I would much rather play for fun against people I know. Who cares about winning a game of squash at 4pm on a Friday afternoon? Not me! What I do care about, though, is getting some exercise without really thinking about it. Keeping it simple works and helps with the fun factor.
As I always remember the fun, and the social parts, I don’t need to force myself to do these. But I do need to plan them as it is something I can easily forget to do.
Fun fitness activities for you
If you are reading this, I’m guessing you fit one of 2 types of people: someone who has already found and knows what type of exercises and fitness is fun for them, or someone who has never really found things they enjoy.
For those who know what their fun fitness activities are
If you already have fun fitness activities in your routine, even with a full-time job, that’s great! Keep going!
If you love doing activities and sports but have forgotten to keep them going, call your friends and see who’s in. It shouldn’t take much for a few of you to get together and get things going again.
I didn’t play basketball for about 5 years. When I remembered how much I enjoyed it, it was incredibly easy to get back into the swing of things. To get back to doing the sports and activities you love with your desk job, it’s probably as simple as making a phone call or sending a quick e-mail. The rest will fall into place.
For those who haven’t yet found their fun fitness activities
The first thing to remember: don’t worry! I still haven’t found my ideal job at 33 years old and am surviving! If you haven’t found a sport that you enjoy, you still can!
Try a simple sport like badminton to get you started. It’s light, fun, costs very little and a good workout. And of course, you need to play it with someone else so you have the friend bit included, too.
If you try something and don’t really like it, try something else! You can buy the same running shoes, shorts and sports top for a whole range of sports so there is no need to worry about equipment. Most places also let you rent rackets, balls, etc. at minimal cost so only buy hardware once you’ve decided on a particular sport.
Many adults don’t like playing sports because of a bad experience or not being confident in them. Remember, sports teachers at school aren’t going to be there this time round!
Also, if you play with someone looking to have fun like you, then you don’t need to worry about your level or ability. Playing and having fun should give you the all the motivation you need to keep it going.
Try a sport or activitiy with a friend, if you like it, carry on. If you don’t try something else. Repeat until you are both happy and having fun. That way, the word ‘motivation’ won’t enter into your mind. You will jump at the chance of playing and miss it if you don’t.
That way, the word ‘motivation’ won’t enter into your mind. You will jump at the chance of playing and all will become easier.
2. Functional fitness
I have put this after fun fitness for good reason. If you don’t have a fun activity to motivate you, you probably won’t have any need for a functional fitness activity at all.
This is because the functional fitness activities and exercises I do all help the fun bits.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I like going surfing and playing basketball. However, surfing is not practical every day in the winter months and where I live is not Hawaii so many days there are no waves. Equally, with basketball being a team sport, getting a group together is hard to do more than 2 days a week.
So, after finding it hard to keep up the sports I most enjoy with my full-time office job, I started doing exercises to help.
Functional Fitness Activities I Do
For surfing, I found flexibility and strength the two main issues. I first looked to yoga for flexibility and found a warm-up routine for yoga for surfers on Youtube. After struggling through my first few attempts, I gradually found this to get easier and is now something I do almost every morning. Just 10 minutes of it, but it works.
For basketball, I found my knees starting to hurt from all the jumping so I started doing some squats after my yoga routine to build strength. I started with only a few and built up from there.
Since starting the functional fitness activities mentioned above, over time I’ve added leg raises, press ups, and surfing-style pop-ups. Some of these also help me to feel from pain when sitting at my desk.
A couple of activities I now do routinely throughout my work day are cycling to work and taking the stairs. Having an active commute like cycling to work gives me some cardio exercise, saves me money and warms me up first thing in the morning.
Because I have to travel to work every day, I have to make the choice to cycle or drive every day. This keeps me doing it almost every day. If I take the car, even on rainy days, I miss the feeling of cycling.
Taking stairs also warms me up, is really good for basketball (think legs and knees for better jumping) and is often as quick or quicker than a lift or an elevator if going at busy times or only going up 3 floors.
With all of the above exercises embedded into my day, I am doing the best I can to enjoy my fun fitness activities. I also have no problem finding time for them as they are embedded into my day. Remember – most people say they don’t do exercise because of a lack of time, but if you build these into your routine, this won’t be an excuse you need to worry about!
Functional fitness activities for you
All my functional fitness activities are based on sports, but yours don’t have to be.
For example, a colleague told me how his back pain sometimes affects him playing with his daughter (definitely one of his fun activities!) By doing exercises to strengthen his back muscles, along with preventive measures, he can more easily play with his daughter.
It’s hard to think of a more powerful motivation than being able to play more freely with your kids and loved ones. And it all comes from just doing simple exercises on a regular basis.
3. The powerful effect of combining fun fitness activities with functional fitness activities
All of the activities I have mentioned keep me motivated to do exercise, despite working in an office job. The functional ones also make me able to do the things I love on the rare day I can do them.
Functional activities keep me ticking over when I can’t such fun things. And the fun activities make my day when I do them as I always feel better after.
Combined, I am able to stay in the shape I need for my life and to have fun.
4. Key takeaways: Finding motivation for exercise with a full-time office job
If you can find the right fun fitness activities for you and your routine, you can then base all your functional activities on them.
Finding the right person to do these with is also a key point as having an incredibly competitive partner to play with might not motivate you.
Go through the process and try new things. When something feels right, stick with it.
Think about what brings you joy in life and zero in on those activities. That way, you will be able to keep going when times get tough and not let your office job affect your health and fitness.
5. Next step?
Tell me in the comments below what activities you plan to do both for fun and functional fitness to keep you going and boost your motivation for exercise. Looking forward to some inspiring stories!