Getting a friend to exercise might be more challenging than you expect. Exercise is often put on the back burner and other obligations and commitments take priority. Finding exercise boring, not having enough time and being too tired are just some of the common excuses you might hear. To get your friend to work up a sweat, learn easy ways to motivate and persuade her to join you in your quest to live a healthier lifestyle.
Your friend might not be aware of all the benefits associated with regular exercise. Tell her that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it only takes 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on five days of the week to reduce her risk of premature death. Additionally, she might fit into her favorite jeans again, improve her mood, sleep better, reduce her risk of breast cancer and strengthen her muscles and bones.
Bribery in the form of rewards can be an effective motivating tool when it comes to exercise. Have your friend set realistic goals and tell her to reward herself when she achieves them. A realistic goal could be to start exercising for 30 minutes on three days of the week. If at the end of the week she achieves her goal, a reward is due. This can be anything from a manicure or pedicure, a massage, new workout clothes or a new book or CD. After working hard to reach her goal, she might find reaping the benefits that much more enjoyable.
Rather than telling your friend to start exercising, do it with her. By exercising together you can motivate each other to keep going and you hold each other accountable for showing up -- knowing that you are counting on your friend to show up might just be all the motivation she needs. Also, exercising with your friend makes it more of a social engagement that you can both look forward to. Alternatively, set up a session for your friend with a personal trainer. He can hold her accountable, help keep her motivated and encourage her to keep going.
If lack of time seems to be the reason why your friend isn't exercising, tell her to prioritize her workouts. Have her write her exercise sessions on her calendar as if they're important doctor's appointments or business meetings. Over time, she'll get used to her regular exercise routine and it becomes part of her lifestyle. If she's really cramped for time, have her split up her workout over the day. Also, encourage her to take the stairs more often and park farther from her destination and walk the rest of the way -- even the little extras add up.
Getting your friend to exercise is most likely easier if you find out which types of exercise she enjoys. If she enjoys swimming, a water aerobics class might be enjoyable to her. If she likes to dance, try taking a dance fitness class, such as Zumba. If she's the outdoorsy type, take her for a walk or jog outside. Group sports, tennis and yoga are other options. Avoid constantly doing the same exercise routine -- add variety to keep it interesting, challenging and fun.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.