You want your loved ones to be happy and healthy, but sometimes encouraging them to take a more active role in their health can be difficult. While breaching the subject of personal fitness can be a difficult subject to bring up, it's worth doing so. Besides the many health benefits of exercising regularly, your loved one might experience an improved sense of well-being, a more positive attitude, more energy, and increased productivity. Just telling them this, however, usually isn't enough to motivate them to act. Instead, use these tips to get your loved one to be more active.
1. Let them know that you're here to help.
Approach the subject in a positive, caring, and constructive way.It's important not to make them feel like they're being looked down upon or attacked. You can start by asking them to accompany you for a walk around the block, or challenge them to their favourite game. While you're doing the activity, mention that you wish you could do this together more often. If they refuse to participate or become defensive, gently remind them that you care about them and that their health is important not only to themselves, but to everyone around them as well.
2. Set the example.
If discussion alone doesn't work, try picking up a new activity yourself, something your loved one might be interested in as well. If you find something you enjoy doing, it will show. People are more likely to exercise if they see someone close to them benefiting from it. If you start going for a daily run, for example, you're not only demonstrating an active behaviour, but also creating opportunities to talk about running and how it makes you feel. Your enthusiasm for your new hobby will present the opportunity to invite them to join you without making them feel pressured.
3. Be active together.
Finding activities you can both participate in is a great way to encourage and sustain the habit of exercise. Sometimes it's easier to find the motivation to exercise when you have someone else to do it with. Ask your loved one for ideas and suggest some of your own. Taking part in a charity run or walk can be a good way to ease your loved one into exercising, without exercise being the main focus.
4. Make it a routine.
One of the surest ways to stay on an exercise regimen is to work it in to your daily routine. Help your loved one do something active every day, like stretching in the morning or going for a walk in the evening. If they can get into the habit of doing something every day--no matter how small--it will lay the groundwork for exercise becoming a regular part of their routine. Once they begin to see positive results from their new routine, they'll be encouraged to stay on track.
5. Offer understanding and encouragement.
Lend your ear. Help your loved one figure out what's at the root of this resistance to exercise. Are they self-conscious? Have they tried to be more active in the past and failed? Helping them understand the reasons they feel this way is crucial to getting them past those feelings. Once they get going, be sure to continue to encourage them as they make progress. Celebrate landmarks like weight lost or increased duration. Your positive reinforcement can go a long way for someone struggling to make a change their life--even if the initial changes are small. Recognizing and supporting the efforts of people you love is crucial to making that change permanent.