15 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise When You are Depressed

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15 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise When You are Depressed

Exercise keeps you fit and healthy, giving you the right direction to see things differently by being punctual and disciplined. However, the daily exercise grind can be overwhelming.

You may become fed up with the same routine. The situation gets even worse when you do not see improvements. You feel so demotivated that, at one point, you feel like quitting.

If you are facing a situation like this, you are not alone. Many people face similar situations when feeling depressed. While you may not like doing anything, you must continue. Doing an exercise is one thing that can make a visible difference in your fitness, but staying focused and determined can change the whole game.

So, pat yourself and get up as we have come up with the motivating tips to boost your enthusiasm, so you never have to give up.

1. Start Your Day on a Positive Note

It is essential to start your day positively because the first thing you do is frown when the alarm rings. Everybody loves that extra 5 minutes of sleep, but it can get you in trouble. First, being late from work or school, and second, you miss your breakfast while getting ready for work.

By waking up early and incorporating good habits into your lifestyle, you can boost your concentration, reduce dark circles, and improve focus, so you have adequate time to plan your day and act accordingly.

Also, some small but impactful activities push you towards positivity, such as a 10 minutes walk, some pushups, or meditation. You can think of 3 good things that you are thankful for.

Keeping your body hydrated through water intake is another step towards positivity. According to a study, water may directly impact humans' cognition and mental performance.

2. Focus on Your Goal

Defining your ‘why’ is one of the initial things you need to do to stay motivated. When you know why you are doing this, you figure out ways to overcome depression yourself.

If you don't have any goal, there is nothing left in your life to look forward to. You cannot exercise to spend your spare time or follow your friends. There should be an aim behind it. Everybody is interested in the results, whether they are into losing weight or gaining muscle, but you cannot achieve results without having a proper reason for training.

So, work on defining the purpose of your workout. It will ensure you are heading in the right direction and your energy is well spent. If your workout plan is not working, rethink, make changes, and understand what’s lacking. It will help define the fitness and health goals that you want to accomplish.

3. Focus on Your Nutrition

Focusing on what you eat is vital for a healthy and fit life, as exercise alone may not help you in achieving your fitness goals. It is recommended to combine healthy food options with exercise. For example, according to a review, weight loss programs that included both food and physical activity had considerably better weight loss results than either of these alone.

Cutting-off unhealthy options can lead to visible results you have wanted to see for a long time. Besides macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, try to incorporate fruits and vegetables as they contain several minerals and vitamins that ensure a healthy diet and make you active. According to a study, a diet full of healthy fats, fiber, probiotics, veggies, and fruit can improve your mental health and reduce the risk of anxiety and sadness.

Ignoring what you eat during exercise can cause demotivation, which you don’t want. So, work smartly and balance exercise and diet for better gym performance and healthy life.

4. Seek Help

If you want to gain some exercise motivation, ask for help. For example, if you are lifting weight on your own and as a beginner, you might get hurt as your body balance, technique, and strength are not great. It leads to embarrassment and frustration as you continuously try but do not get what you want.

In such a case, seek help from your gym fellows. You may ask them to give you a hand in lifting those heavy weights and see if you are following the correct technique. Also, chatting with your friends or trainer can help motivate you to perform better at the gym. Consider talking to a person you are comfortable with.

Online help is another good option to improve your gym performance. You can search about different workouts, how they are done, and what is the proper technique for doing these exercises. So, seek out help in whatever comfortable way you like.

5. Stay Involved

When you are demotivated, staying involved in things and life may be the last thing on your mind. It is crucial to socialize to gain your confidence and strength back. By staying isolated, the issues you are experiencing may even feel bigger and more challenging to deal with. Meeting people can make you feel normal by helping you realize that your friends and family are always there to support you.

You can plan a lunch date with your wife or go for dinner with your family. Watching movies and sports help you get over those sad feelings.

6. Check Your Vitamin D and Thyroid Level

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin usually crucial for bone health. Its deficiency affects bones and joints and makes you weak and sluggish. According to a fact sheet for health professionals, vitamin D plays a significant role in building immunity and preventing the risk of cancer and other diseases, such as depression, diabetes type-2, heart diseases, and bone loss.

Get yourself tested for vitamin D deficiency as it might cause your depression, sluggishness, and demotivation. Plus, it's better to check your thyroid level, too, because if it's low, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland doesn’t release enough hormones. Hypothyroidism slows down the metabolism, makes you feel tired too often, and gains weight.

So, get yourself tested as soon as possible if you feel depressed, weak, and don't feel like doing anything. However, these deficiencies can be treated through vitamin D supplements. DMoose Vitamin D3 with K2 contains 50 mcg of vitamin D3, ensuring calcium absorption and 75 mcg of vitamin K2, ensuring good bone health.

7. Handle One Task/Job At a Time

When you consider your extensive list of tasks to complete, any endeavor can appear to be a route of agony. Instead, consider what you must do right now and concentrate on that work until it is completed. Once you've completed it, cross it off your to-do list and carry on with the next one.

Focus on what you've accomplished instead of what you still have to do. Also, concentrate on the next thing you can cross off your to-do list.

By dividing your focus, you can procrastinate on various chores or do half-finished work. So, fix your priorities as it’ll clear your mind and focus.

8. Don’t Overdo Exercises

We know it requires a lot of sweat and hard work to work out, and if you are not feeling any improvement, it hurts. There is a possibility that most of you go into depression and quit. But if you are trying too hard to reach your goals, it's of no use, as overtraining can cause tiredness and depression.

According to a study, overtraining is associated with mood changes. When you don’t rest enough between the exercises, it aggravates the stress hormone level resulting in mood changes, depression, and mental fog. You may feel demotivated, less enthusiastic, and less focused.

Marci A. Goolsby (MD at Women’s Sports Medicine Center) explains that “Athletes must push themselves to their boundaries to improve their performance. However, there are situations when a line is crossed. Overtraining may result from repetitive, intense training without enough rest, affecting athlete's feelings and performance.”

So, don’t overtrain; get yourself some rest, and help those muscles to recover from strenuous activity.

9. Say ‘No’ to Cravings

People tackle depression differently, and some find comfort in junk and sugary foods. Saying no to your craving is a challenge because when you crave a calorie-dense burger or brownie, everything becomes invisible, focusing only on your comfort food.

Let us inform you that they are not your best friends. According to studies from the past few years, such foods may contribute to mental health issues, like depression.

The food you were thinking gives you comfort may negatively affect your health. Also, these are high-calorie and high-fat food items, making you to gain weight and other diseases.

If you order your comfort food frequently, all your exercise will be wasted. So, get involved in meditation, step outside your house for a walk, listen to music and eat depression-fighting foods, including whole grain, low-fat dairy, green tea, turkey, etc. These things will help you cope with depression and get you back to the gym.

10. Get Rid of Your Stigma

When you feel stressed out and depressed, you want people to understand that you are not feeling okay. You want people to take you seriously and offer you some help. Unfortunately, most people do not even consider depression a real issue in the first place.

Some people may even pity you when you tell them about feeling depressed. This may escalate your negative emotions, making you feel entirely helpless.

Free yourself from this stigma by cutting off such people entirely, and get yourself a goal buddy who will help you in all the best ways possible. You may start working out with them and stay focused like before.

11. Don’t Oversleep

Don’t tell us you have developed a habit of oversleeping because oversleeping is terrible for your health. Generally, insomnia is related to depression and anxiety, but 15% of depressed people oversleep to tackle depression. This, in return, worsens their mood and depressed state.

According to a study, depression is one of the major causes of excessive sleepiness. It implies oversleeping agitates depression and contributes to your worries.

However, you can fix your sleeping routine by keeping a sleep journal, cutting-off naps, including healthy eating, avoiding gadgets before bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleeping environment. It’ll help cure depression, and you feel confident exercising again.

12. Give ‘Treats’ to Yourself

Appreciation is that one thing that boosts your morale and confidence and backs you to work harder in overcoming depression. After hearing good words from someone, everyone feels good and positive, and your performance improves.

The results are even better when you recognize your worth and appreciate yourself because no one is competing with you except you.

So, reward yourself occasionally or whenever you make a little progress, whether with a small bar of chocolate or a smoothie. You have earned it, and it may become a habit when rewarding yourself.

Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, suggests such treats. He says, “Extrinsic rewards are powerful since your brain gets hooked on these rewards and establishes the behavioral connection that is quite valuable. It raises the likelihood that the practice will become habitual.”

The brain begins to correlate sweat and discomfort with the production of endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals behind your "I-feel-freaking-amazing" boost after a fantastic gym session, and the incentive becomes intrinsic over time. Consequently, you won't even desire the treat once you've tuned your brain to realize that the exercise is the reward.

13. Help Others

It may sound weird but helping others brings contentment even if you are depressed. Helping people makes you realize how your insecurities and problems are tiny among the world's sorrows. It hits you right in your face when you finally understand that everyone faces problems and can go into depression and that you are not alone in this.

Helping others will make you understand that most people are not against you. They are on your side, and you better fix things together. Now, these things don't necessarily have to be significant issues.

Helping each other in small daily tasks matters a lot and makes a huge difference, be it watering someone’s plants or taking children to the park.

14. Track Your Progress

Keeping a track record of your accomplishment is a big step forward in your depression-cure journey. It enhances your inner confidence that you have done this in the past and will do it again. You can have a diary where you can write about different stuff besides your progress track record.

You can also make good use of different social media platforms. Instead of taking selfies and uploading them on social media accounts, use the platforms to maintain your fitness track. You can join community clubs and online fitness clubs and install apps to check your progress and stick to the plan.

According to one study, online clubs can help you stick to an exercise plan by encouraging and promoting accountability and healthy competition. You can use the latest technology to keep yourself firm on the ground and keep making progress.

15. Keep Trying

Even if you don’t want to work out, don’t cut it completely. It is foolish to say to keep training or workouts because, in depression, you don’t want to go to the gym. You must go to the gym and get yourself involved in low-energy exercises.

As sadness and depression have absorbed all your energy, it's an excellent idea to keep moving with small activities. It would be best to find a partner so that you are answerable to someone. It is how you become punctual, too, because you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of them.

So, keep trying, and ultimately you will overcome your anxiety, which leads to better results.

The Bottom Line

Coming out of depression and starting to do things at a normal pace is a challenging task. It demands positivity, hard work, determination, and motivation. There are several ways you get these, and interestingly all of them are in your control.

Tiny things motivate you to exercise and get rid of depression, such as starting your day with positivity, focusing on your goals and nutrition, and asking for help when you need it the most.

You can also help others and get other people’s help in return. Plus, cut-off cravings, toxic people, and oversleeping from your life. Rethink your priorities, get checked for any deficiencies, and keep trying. These things will help you overcome your intense feelings of anxiety and regain your confidence. Once you have your confidence back, you will make things right one after the other.

Reading List

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Article Sources

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  • Dauvilliers, Yves, et al. “Hypersomnia and Depressive Symptoms: Methodological and Clinical Aspects.” BMC Medicine, vol. 11, Mar. 2013, p. 78. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-11-78.
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  • Manore, Melinda M., et al. “Dynamic Energy Balance: An Integrated Framework for Discussing Diet and Physical Activity in Obesity Prevention—Is It More than Eating Less and Exercising More?” Nutrients, vol. 9, no. 8, Aug. 2017, p. 905. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080905.
  • Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin D. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/. Accessed 27 Apr. 2022.
  • Zhang, Jingwen, et al. “Efficacy and Causal Mechanism of an Online Social Media Intervention to Increase Physical Activity: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Preventive Medicine Reports, vol. 2, Jan. 2015, pp. 651–57. ScienceDirect, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.08.005.

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