Setting exercise goals & improving motivation Knowledge Base
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Setting goals and getting motivated for exercise.

Want to get motivated for exercise?

Following from our previous article on the overall benefits of exercise, let’s now look in greater detail at which types of exercise to choose, how to set goals and to get motivated.

When choosing a new exercise to try, spend five minutes thinking about why you may want to start a new exercise:

  1. Response to recent ill health / diagnosis.
  2. Pain relief / symptom management.
  3. Weight management.
  4. Improve overall health / well-being.
  5. Training for a specific event eg: charity fun run.
  6. Meet new people.
Gym fitness class

Look to set some achievable goals and rather than ‘get fitter’ labels, aim to make your goals “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Bound. For example:

Having consulted a relevant health professional to confirm it is safe, Susan has decided to join her local running beginners group (such as the Marple Runners Pub to Parkrun). Her objective is to improve her cardiovascular fitness and reduce her lower back pain.

Susan sets attainable short and long-term goals, which act as motivation both to keep her attending as well as realistic, so they do not become a source of frustration. What else can help? Once you’ve ‘got going with this exercising’ that’s it, isn’t it? Unfortunately not! If you’re like 99% of us, there will be periods when it is not possible to exercise due to work or family commitments, injury or travel and early momentum could be lost.

SpecificImprove cardiovascular fitness.
MeasurableTo increase running distance from 500m to 5km without stopping due to shortness of breath.
AttainableIt is realistic that Susan can attend the suggested twice weekly running programme every week for the next 9 weeks.
RealisticSusan has been advised by her GP that running can improve lung capacity.
Time BoundTo achieve goal by end of the 9 week programme (short-term)
To be able to run 5km in 30 minutes after 12 months (long-term).

Intrinsic motivation is our own sense of well-being and enjoyment derived from exercising. That’s all you need and it’s always present.

Extrinsic motivation is an external factor that keeps us attending: for example, you allow yourself to have a chocolate bar afterwards or your team mate will ‘name-and-shame’ you on Facebook if you miss a session! If these ‘incentives’ were not there, would you still go?

Both types of motivation can be helpful, especially in the beginning. It can also be beneficial in cultivating an inner sense of reward to help you to be consciously aware of how exercise helps you to feel better. It may well be the key to keep us exercising in the long-term.

Variety is another great way to keep going your ‘exercise mojo’ going. As discussed in our last article, different sports offer different benefits, so it is always advisable to cross-train (this means regularly do two or more different types of sports). This will help maximise health benefits and also provide contingency in case of event, for example:

  • You can do non-weight-bearing mat work if you have twisted your ankle
  • You can stay indoors if the rain is torrential
  • Have a sport that does not require equipment for when you’re travelling
  • Try something brand new every couple of years or so; there are so many different sports out there, don’t think there’s only one for you!

Remember: it might be hard sometimes to get there, but you will always be pleased you went!

If you are unsure of what level of activity or type of exercise is suitable for you, then please contact our clinic and one of our Physiotherapy team will happily have a free telephone consultation with you. For those looking to return to exercise safely, we are delighted to recommend qualified personal trainers Ben Potter and Olly Freeman from VIDE Fitness.

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If you would like to know more about how we can help you, please contact us and one of our friendly team will be happy to discuss your needs, without obligation.

* Please note: If your treatment costs are to be paid directly by your health insurance company, we kindly ask that you contact us by phone or email to arrange your appointment.

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Here's what our clients say.

Marple Physiotherapy
Based on 38 reviews
Christopher L.
06:54 04 Nov 22
Brilliant, extremely knowledgeable and caring. They put me at ease which is very difficult when you have a very painful back. Everything from the therapy provided to the online programme they use to send you exercises is first class.
Kieran B.
12:52 23 May 22
I had physio on my shoulder with Liz and she is very friendly and an expert at what she does. She was quick to diagnose the issue and give me the appropriate exercises that helped fix the problem. Would definitely recommend.
James B.
09:05 03 Sep 21
I had a sports massage with Nicky. Overall, a brilliant service which I would highly recommend.
Mark B.
14:42 11 Jul 21
I received fantastic service from Marple Physiotherapy and my physiotherapist Nicky. The causes of my hip injury were investigated and clearly explained, and I was given several recovery exercises to follow. All in all a very rigorous, personable, and tailored experience. Would highly recommend.
Ste W.
06:07 25 Mar 21
I went to Marple Physiotherapy after I slipped on the ice with my dog and hurt my neck/shoulder. After many sleepless nights in agony I went to see Liz, who over a few visits worked wonders and had me pain free and most importantly got me my full movement back in my right arm. Everything from what she did in the practice to the exercises see gave me to do at home is geared up to promote a speedy recovery and her knowledge is incredible.Can’t recommend them enough, would definitely suggest a visit if you have any aches or pains.
Anthony W.
11:44 02 Mar 21
Very pleased indeed with the treatment. Working a treat. Home excercises are extremely helpful. Definitely recommend.
Dan L.
12:42 19 Feb 21
Great fiendly service. Nice premises. Liz sorted my issues out. Will return!
16:17 18 Dec 20
I arranged with Nicky for some physio on my father’s shoulder at short notice as my dad was in a lot of pain.He is so happy with the Sevice and effort Nicky gave him today and is very pleased with the results already. Thanks so much for looking after him. He will be returning next week..
Clare M.
11:31 19 Apr 20
Before lockdown I started treatment with Julie on my C-section scar. I have suffered with pain, aggressively red looking scar which was hypertrophic for a year. After a discussion and 3 sessions with Julie I saw an improvement. We did specific massage, which involved super gentle movement technique, along with an ultrasound treatment. Julie explained exactly how to treat my scar at home so I could continue with the movement technique myself.The scar is now less aggressive looking and in parts starting to turn skin colour and has more movement all along the scar. Although not 100% pain free just yet, it is a massive improvement.If you have any scar pain then I highly recommend having a chat with Julie and she can talk you through what treatment is best suited to you.

At Marple Physiotherapy we pride ourselves on our excellent reputation. We therefore highly value the patient feedback we receive as we continually strive to improve our services.

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