Unless you are a personal trainer, figuring out how to encourage others to exercise can be a really tricky situation.
It may come from a positive place, maybe care or concern for your partner or family’s health, but you can’t control someone else’s actions, only encourage them.
And encouraging someone to exercise, at the end of the day, doesn’t come from randomly buying them a treadmill for Christmas.
Instead, you need to follow these basic ideas in order to creative a positive and uplifting environment surrounding exercise.
And at the end of the day, unless you are a doctor, you don’t need to be throwing facts and figures at someone about obesity figures or how many minutes of exercise they need.
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1. Encourage by Example
The biggest thing you can do to help motivate someone else to exercise is to exercise yourself.
You don’t need to say anything, you don’t need to launch into long spiels about the benefits of it.
Just do it yourself, and make it known that you are exercising.
On a regular basis.
You can’t just go for a run one time and expect someone to want to get on board.
And you shouldn’t be worrying about encouraging someone else to exercise unless you yourself are doing it regularly, so join that sports team, go for that Zumba class, and be someone who exercises.
Set a good example and people will be interested, even if they don’t let you know that they are.
2. Invite Them to Play Sports or Attend a Class with You
Reach out and invite someone to do some exercise with you, in whatever way they might want.
You can invite your mom to go on a walk around the block with you or invite your wife to come play tennis with you as a couple’s hobby.
Invite a friend to join the sports team you’re on, or invite your neighbor to join the gym with you and be gym buddies.
They can always say no, and you should respect that, but for people who are averse to exercising, it can feel hard to take that step for yourself.
They might feel more comfortable learning a new sport or figuring out how the gym works if you’re doing it with them, and it’s just a nice thing to do to invite other people to do things with you.
3. Talk About How Good You Feel Exercising
You don’t need to be heavy handed about this – in fact, please don’t.
But if you exercise and it makes you feel happier, stronger, whatever it is, talk about it.
If your husband asks how your run was, tell him it was great and how much happier you feel from getting moving.
Post information about your latest team sports win on your social media, and be really purposeful about sharing the benefits of exercise in your life.
The key here is to talk about you and your life.
We all have our own paths and ways of doing things, and you’re not going to convince someone to exercise by telling them that they’ll feel better for it.
You need to tell them that you feel better for it, and they can draw their own conclusions.
4. Respond Positively to their Exercise Related Interests
Whether it’s your teenager expressing interest in joining the swim team or your husband wanting to buy some home gym equipment, get on board with it!
Keep a positive attitude about their interest and support them, whether that be financially or just emotionally.
This is the type of person you should be striving to be anyway.
You don’t need to be making signs and shouting out how much you support them from the rooftops, just let them know that you think it’s great and if they need any help in getting to practice or figuring out what equipment to buy, you’re happy to help.
5. Don’t Be a Jerk
Notice how in all of the above ways to encourage people to exercise, we didn’t include anything about making them feel bad about how they look or how much they weigh or how unattracted you are to them?
This is specifically about encouraging someone to exercise, not necessarily just lose weight, and regardless, you are not going to inspire someone to get moving by making them feel judged or less than.
Stick to your own exercise plan and be a positive and motivating leader who walks the walk and isn’t just going around prodding people to get off the couch.