How To Get Women Over 40 Motivated To Exercise

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Are you currently training women who are 40 years or older with weight loss challenges? Are they complaining about the extra belly fat that just seemed to magically appear and seem to be losing motivation? Keeping women in this niche motivated to continue exercise, especially when weight loss is slow, may be a challenge, but it is possible. The first step you can take with your clients is to help them to develop their internal motivation by creating a personal wellness vision.

In order to become a lifelong exerciser one must be able to see themselves as an exerciser. They must learn to like exercise because of how it makes them feel and how it helps them become a better woman, respectively – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.

Other benefits of a wellness vision include the following:

  • Develops their internal motivation which will help them to persist in times of frustration and challenges.
  • Helps your over 40+ female clients know what they want in life.
  • Have a purpose that is more important to them than outcome goals; they have a deeper connection to exercise because movement is now connected to something that is more meaningful to them.
  • Helps them to understand, through education, that they may not be successful or accomplish their dream goals without good health.

How To Begin Creating The Vision
Begin by scheduling a one-hour session with your client and ask them the following thought-provoking questions:

  • motivated-exercise-older-womenWhat do you want to accomplish? Help them create a goal that would make an immediate impact and a long-term goal they want to achieve. You may give them examples such as “I want to be able to travel more” or “I want to compete in more races and actually win some”.
  • What do you want to become? Maybe they want a promotion at work and need to learn stress management and enhance their overall wellness to compete with younger co-workers. Or, what kind of person do they want to become by adopting exercise? What type of exerciser would they like to become?
  • Why are you exercising? Here is where you can dig a little deeper in their reasons for exercise. For instance, if she gives you the common reason “I want to tone up and lose weight”, then ask her why she wants to lose weight. Also, “What would losing weight bring to your life?” Keep asking “why”, “what”, and “how” questions until you get to the “real” reason. That will be the true motivator.
  • Who else will your exercise habit affect and how will they be affected?
  • How will they be affected if you didn’t partake in healthy behaviors?
  • What other things in life are important to you?
  • When you accomplish your goals, how will you feel?
  • What do you hope to get from regular exercise?
  • How will it look when you accomplish your goals?
  • How would you like to feel before, during, and after exercise?
  • Can you get these feelings from exercise? How?
  • Considering the answers from the questions above, how does exercise and healthy eating fit into the picture?

Take the answers from these questions, and help your clients to develop a statement that moves them, excites them and scares them at the same time. Help them to see themselves clearly as an exerciser and how they want exercise to make them feel.

How Can Your Clients Effectively Use Their Wellness Vision?
Some guidelines to implementing their wellness vision and developing sufficient desire and confidence include the following:

  • Ask them to be as honest and realistic as possible. Inspire them to push for something that is personal and of value to them.
  • Remind them that they have a choice as to what they want to accomplish in life.
  • Have them recite their vision at least 2 times per day when they are alone and at peace and when they feel they are losing motivation.
  • Find pictures and quotes that represent what their vision expresses and create a vision board (visionboardsite.com is a great resource).
  • Explain to them that they can be successful, healthy and happy independent of weight loss by participating in regular exercise and recreation.
  • Suggest that they visualize themselves living their wellness vision during quiet times of the day when they are by themselves by thinking of the feelings and benefits they want to experience from being an exerciser.

An example is as follows: “Before I became a mother, I found peace and excitement in hiking. Now that my children are grown and have left home, I want to get back to my first love. I want to be able to introduce my grandchildren to the joys and thrills of hiking. I want to be healthy and fit enough to keep up with them and to withstand the challenges of climbing, jogging, and walking for long periods of time.”

What if your clients are inactive or don’t have exercise experience?
If this is the case, then ask your clients to keep a fitness journal for 1-2 weeks. This will require them to learn more about their body and movement patterns. Ask them to become aware of and record the following in their journal:

  • Moments when they feel like moving but don’t.
  • Moments when they could move but don’t.
  • Moments when they move.
  • How they feel when they see other people moving.
  • How they feel when they move.
  • Situations they are in when they move.
  • Thoughts and situations that prevent them from moving.

This information can be used to help them visualize themselves as a future exerciser by identifying how movement makes them feel, why they move, and so on. Becoming aware of their bodies and movement is the first step to adopt and maintain exercise.

Creating a personal wellness vision is the first step to developing lifelong motivation to maintain exercise. Helping your clients to make a personal connection with exercise will help them to view exercise as meaningful so that they will be motivated to do it. Consistent exercise will help them to reach their outcome goals in the long run, but the staying power will come from loving exercise because of what it brings to their lives.

References: Kimiecik, Jay. The Intrinsic Exerciser: Discovering the Joy of Exercise

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About Author

Pamela Brown

I specialize in post-pregnancy, menopause, and post-rehabilitation programming for women over the age of 40. In addition to fitness programming, I also provide lifestyle fitness coaching that will provide the motivation, accountability, and support needed to make sustained lifestyle changes. See my profile page for more information!

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