Before you start anything, it's important to find out what type of sport or exercise that motivates you. Kilpatrick et al (2005) did a study on college students and their motivation in relation to sports participation and exercise. They found that students participating in sports were motivated by intrinsic motives like enjoyment and challenge. However, students' motivation for exercise were extrinsic, as they were more focused on weight and stress management, as well as physical appearance. This suggests that if you are looking for a workout where you have a clear goal you wish to reach (i.e. being stronger), then you might be more motivated by exercise due to your goal. Where as, if you are looking for something active with no set goal to reach, then participation in sport might be what is most motivating. Ko et al (2008) found in their study of motivation in action sport, that there is a difference in motivation based on gender, age and experience level. Where motivation for some might be fun, others might be motivated by risk-taking or developing a certain skill set. All in all it's about finding out what motivates you, whether it is crossfit, playing on a rugby team or maybe doing yoga. But remember, your motivation level will change, and what started out as intrinsic motivation might end up being extrinsic and vice versa.
Next post will be about keeping your motivation once you get started.
1. Kilpatrick, M.; Hebert, E.; Bartholomew, J.; College Students’ Motivation for Physical Activity: Differentiating Men’s and Women’s Motives for Sport Participation and Exercise, Journal of American College Health, 54,2, 2005
2. Ko, Y. J.; Park, H.; Claussen, C. L.; Action sports participation: consumer motivation, International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, January, 2008