Are you lacking the motivation to exercise?

Then you are not alone. Exercising to stay fit and healthy requires a certain amount of drive and dedication. However, there are ways you can find the motivation to keep going, and we can help.

There are several ways to incentivise yourself and keep exercising regularly (that means at least once a week). These include social exercise or a team sport, finding an interest you love that is both mentally challenging and physical, or the latest trend which is ‘exercise snacking’. Scroll down to learn more and identify the cause of what is holding you back.

As a result of the Pandemic, many of us fell out of the habit of exercising regularly. Despite the increased number of people who took up walking, according to the data from healthcare charity Nuffield Health, 38% of women* fell out of the habit of exercising during the repeated lockdowns, and for many this has been a lasting legacy. More than a third of women reported that their physical health has deteriorated as a result. And that’s before you factor in those of us who struggled to find the motivation – or the time – to exercise at all in the first place.


Britons are advised to undertake a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week (for example, running or swimming) or two-and-a-half hours of moderate activity, such as brisk walking or tennis. However, as many as 47% of those polled said they failed to do any vigorous exercise at all, with two-thirds of women citing a lack of motivation compared with half for men. Many blamed work as a reason, or lack of time. The NHS recommends that adults try to do some exercise every day, or at least four or five days a week. And advise Britons to reduce the time they spend sitting or lying down by breaking-up long periods of not moving with some form of physical activity (a simple example would be to walk up and down the nearest flight of stairs for 2 minutes or until you are slightly out of breath).


Do you find it hard to stay the course on your own and find it’s only too easy to get distracted? Then a traditional route to motivation has been to join a group class or exercise with friends who will encourage and support you. Exercising with friends could help you to establish a routine, as well as providing an extra boost for your mental wellbeing. (At Physio on the River, we offer a wide range of Pilates, Yoga and other exercise classes both in our studio and online and encourage groups of friends to join at the same time.) You also gain confidence through the support of an experienced instructor who creates a varied programme to keep you, literally, on your toes. We aim to place you in a class with others of a similar level so that you progress together and the instructor can always be contacted if you need advice. We offer FREE TRY-OUTS for anyone who would like to see for themselves the value of a small, closely-monitored class.


If budget is an issue, then walking is one of the simplest and most natural forms of exercise you can do. Moreover, it’s free. And there are plenty of places near the clinic to walk including the Thames Tow Path, Richmond Park and the London Wetland Centre. Come in to our clinic for a gait assessment (just the once) to set you on the right path and then make a pact to see a friend once a week. Agree the pace that leaves you slightly out of breath and aim to increase the pace by small degrees each week. Start on the flat but gradually introduce some gentle hills/inclines to increase the training effect further and extend your walk slightly each time you are out.

Top tip: Nordic Walking poles can really help to increase the aerobic effects of walking. One of our physios  (Andrea) can teach you how to use the poles. They are also perfect for anyone who has knee, hip or ankle issues as they take some of the load and reduce limping.

Read more on Walking for Health >” A brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended” weekly quota.


Do you usually find ‘exercise’ boring? Then why not try to make exercising more enjoyable by combining it with something else you enjoy, such as listening to a favourite radio or TV programme or playing music you love.

In the last two years I’ve taken up a completely new pastime that has been both mentally and physically challenging – Croquet, which has been a surprising way to exercise both mind and body and has kept me motivated to keep going back. I’ve even been entering competitions. Who knew. My favoured form of exercise had been tennis but when issues with my ankles made this difficult, I lost interest in other forms of exercise too. But when a friend suggested Croquet, after one lesson both my husband and I were hooked. You could be too.


Using a personal training can be very motivating and not as expensive as you might think.

  • Dave Burnett runs ‘Physio-Led Personal Training’ in our studio for targeted and intensive bursts of exercise, all the while monitored by an experienced physio.
  • Andrea Julius focusses on Physio-led training specifically for the over 50’s. (As we age, exercising is vital to combat the 2% los muscle mass we suffer every year, unless we keep strengthening our muscles.

Training with either Dave or Andrea is ideal if you have any physical issues – they will take these into consideration and guide you through the programme.


If you lead a very busy life or become bored easily and going to the gym leaves you cold, then try Exercise Snacking.

It’s a relatively recent concept, backed-up by solid research, that suggests that if you take 6 lots of 5-minutes of moderate exercise during the day, it can be as effective in reducing and preventing lots of common health issues, as 30-minutes of exercise taken in one go.

Several short (five to ten minutes) bouts of intensive exercise throughout the day or week can be just as effective as spending an hour or more in the gym. For even shorter bouts of intensive exercise see >. To learn more, about Exercise Snacking, read our longer blog here > 

 *based on an online survey of 8,000 adults across the UK


As adults we are encouraged to do some type of physical activity every day. Even exercising just once or twice a week can significantly reduce the risk of you suffering heart disease or having a stroke.

Anyone over the age of 18 should aim to 

  • Do strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least two days a week. This includes carrying heavy shopping bags, yoga, Pilates and lifting weights
  • Do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. Moderate activity includes brisk walking, riding a bike, dancing and doubles tennis. Vigorous activity includes running, swimming and riding a bike fast or on hills
  • Spread exercise evenly over four to five days a week, or every day
  • Reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity

Adults can also achieve a weekly activity target with

  • Several short sessions of very vigorous intensity activity. This includes lifting heavy weights, circuit training and sprinting up hills
  • A mix of moderate, vigorous, and very vigorous intensity activity

Nuffield also launched a ‘Find Time For Your Mind‘ campaign which aims to encourage people to do just five extra minutes of exercise a day to boost their mental and physical wellbeing.

Source: Nuffield and the NHS


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