How to encourage our loved ones to move more

by Steph Underhill on Sunday 10 March 2024

4 min read

Staying fit and healthy leads to a better quality of life. Everything from improved mental health, to decreased risk of developing health conditions, better sleep, faster recovery from sickness or injury… when it comes to staying physically active, the list goes on.

You might have a good fitness routine, but how do you navigate getting a loved one onboard with living a healthy, active lifestyle? It can be tricky, but there are ways to encourage our nearest and dearest to get moving.

Explore our top tips on how to motivate your friends and family to prioritise their health and fitness.

Lead by example

One of the best ways to show your loved ones the benefits of staying physically active is to simply do it yourself. Find sports and activities you love, and make them a regular part of your life.

Beyond ‘formal’ exercise, you could also boost your own activity levels by:

- Walking or cycling instead of using a car, wherever possible

- Getting off the bus or train a stop early and walking the last rest of the way

- Taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator 

- Break for 5 minutes every hour during your workday. Stand up, go for a mini walk (or coffee run), and do some stretching. If you work from home, it's easy to throw in a few squats, push-ups and sit ups.

Taking any opportunity to throw on some music and dance! Your body loves a boogie.

Work out together

There are lots of benefits to having a workout buddy. Encouraging your loved one to exercise with you is a great way to combat ‘gymtimidation’ (being intimidated by the gym), while making physical activity fun and social.

Most gyms offer a range of fun fitness classes such as Yoga, Cycle, Pilates and more!

 Outside of a gym, there’s plenty of options to soak up the sun while getting active:

- Go on your favourite walking track while catching up. You'll be surprised how easy and quickly time passes. And never underestimate the power of walking!

- Join a sports team. You don't have to be pro, or even any good. Any sport that you can both enjoy will be a good time. Plus, you'll make plenty of new friends.

- Swimming. Take it easy in the slow lane or pump your heart in the fast lane. Who knows, you might even win the race?

- Dance lessons. Need we say more? Dancing is a great way to groove you into a better mood.

Offering to join your loved one in their exercise endeavours may be all it takes to motivate them to get moving. You can even create some friendly competition, set fitness goals, and hold each other accountable.

Use exercise to socialise

Why not make your regular social catch-ups an opportunity to get active together? Here are some examples:

- Instead of having brunch at a café, suggest grabbing a coffee to-go and walking around the park.

- Instead of pizza and a movie, suggest a fun round of mini golf and sushi.

- Instead of after-work drinks at a pub, suggest a lively game of bowling.

Anything fun and active over sitting still is the way to go! It won’t even feel like exercise.

Use positive language

As much as you may feel tempted to use scare tactics to motivate your loved one to move, try to speak positively about exercise. Avoid commenting on body size and weight, and instead focus on how good it feels to work out and make healthy choices.

Find every opportunity to endorse your loved one’s healthy decisions too. Here are some examples:

- “Hey, good on you for taking the stairs instead of the elevator!”

- “That salad looks delicious!”

- “You must feel SO proud of yourself for making it through that tough workout.”

- “I noticed you went for a walk during your lunch break. Great idea! Can I join you tomorrow?”

Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get through to them

You may not be able to convince your loved ones to get moving straight away, but remember changes in behaviour can take time. And in the end, it’s up to the individual themselves to make a change and get moving.

Keep leading by example, speaking positively about exercise, and encouraging social activities that involve movement.

Now here’s a great reason to invite a friend to the gym

You can invite a friend to try Virgin Active for a free 3-day trial through your mylocker account. If they end up joining, you’ll get 8 weeks half-price!

Only available in March 2024. T&Cs apply.

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