Finding the Motivation to Move

Written by Shalini Kasera, ACES Peer Health Educator

If this pandemic has rendered you stationary, don’t feel guilty. Simply recognize why you may not be motivated to move, and you can begin to address barriers directly. Read on for some reasons your motivation might be low, accompanied by suggestions to overcome these difficulties.


Reason for not being motivated: You haven’t worked out in weeks because of the quarantine and don’t think your body will be able to handle getting back into it.

Solution: If you have had a workout dry spell, don’t quit. Start small. Remind yourself of the joys of moving and find a gentle workout to ease back into fitness. You don’t have to be sweating buckets in order to strengthen your body. If it makes you work a little without being painful, it’s a step in the right direction.



Reason for not being motivated: No one is seeing you these days, so you don’t think you need to be keeping in shape.

Solution: It’s totally acceptable if something that motivates you is to look good to others, but are you exercising for yourself too? Ask yourself what your body needs and how you can best serve it. Reframe this to make it all about you - be a little selfish!




Reason for not being motivated: You usually only exercise at the gym, but the gyms are closed now, and you don’t really know what you can do for fitness without equipment.

Solution: If you’re new to at-home workouts, YouTube is a goldmine, whether or not you have equipment at your house (and you can DIY equipment too – stay tuned for Cooper’s tutorial on our Instagram, @uofuwellness). With so much variety on the Internet, I find it hard to get bored. If you’re craving live instruction, check out Campus Recreation’s website to join classes streamed via Zoom. Much of the content on personal-training apps and websites has been made free, so take advantage of these resources!


Reason for not being motivated: You feel you are lacking structure. I relied heavily on my scheduled fitness classes at the gym, and luckily, some of those have started up virtually now. But for those few weeks when there were no classes, I felt I didn’t have structure in my fitness regimen. Structure really keeps me going, as it somewhat forces me to stick to a schedule and helps me build a routine. Even not having scheduled academic classes to go to can dismantle your structure enough to discourage regular working-out.


Solution: The structure that seems to have disappeared can be brought back. Create a schedule or routine for physical activity so you’ll know when you’re going to be moving and what you’ll be doing. Instead of being paralyzed with indecision, you’ll be ready to work out. What will it be? Every night? Every other morning? Think specifics, like when you’ll focus on getting your heart rate up, toning your muscles, or expanding your range of motion.


Reason for not being motivated: Maybe you’re starting to believe you no longer have control over your own destiny. It feels like this virus is deciding how you live your life. It seems that no matter how hard you work, some external force is just going to ruin everything for you.

Solution: The COVID-19 pandemic does NOT have permission or power to rob you of your sense of being in control. Your self-care is in your hands. Conquering your fitness goals may help you feel like you’re in charge again.



Reason for not being motivated: You’ve never really cared for working out, so there’s no particular reason to start now.

Solution: You’re at home. Maybe you’re bored out of your mind. You have the time, so the time is now to begin working on your body. You never know - something that’s seemed like a chore might just become a new hobby. And if you’re quite the opposite of bored - overwhelmed with work, like I am - take advantage of the emotional benefits of physical activity. You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle your workload after an exercise session.



A little extra motivation: Feeling listless? Step outside for a walk, run, bike ride, or hike, if it’s safe to do so. The key word here is “outside”. The sensation of fresh air alone is enough to energize me. You know all about distancing guidelines, so just make sure you’re following those. If this whole situation has you down in the dumps, maybe that natural high that comes from working out will lift your spirits. Why move right now? If you can, you should, just because you can. Nurture the gift you’ve been given. Your body and mind will love you for it.



Shalini is a sophomore majoring in Biology. She is an ACES Peer Health Educator on the Violence Prevention team. For more information about our ACES Peer Health Education program, visit our website here.