Exercise and Motivation

Get to the ‘Why’ and get to the Walk!

What is it that motivates you? Why are some things easier to accomplish than others? You want to start an exercise program with walking three times a week, but you just can’t ‘get’ motivated. Sometimes we lack the desire. Sometimes we lack the importance. Sometimes we lack the real ‘why’ to do what we say we want to do. If we can get to the ‘why’ we may get to the walk! Ask yourself ‘why’ a few times and see what you come up with. Why do I want to walk? Because it’s good for me. Why now? Because I have diabetes and want to live long and healthy. Why? Because I have grandkids I want to see grow up. Getting to the real why is your motivation. In this case, to walk or not to walk: that is the question! The answer however is your motivating factor that will get you to the walk.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory that comprises a model of human needs based on level of importance as the motivating factor. Basically people are motivated to achieve certain needs and some needs take precedence over others. In the 5 level hierarchy the first two levels are basic needs and must be met before others can be met. The most basic needs are physiological and include food and water. Another basic need is for security and safety. If we have just enough money to buy groceries versus the medication my doctor told me to get filled, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I will buy food before medication.

The next two levels are the psychological needs and include belongingness and love, esteem and feeling of accomplishment. Relationships are important, friends, family, and reaching goals for that feeling of accomplishment. This is where you may find your success in setting a goal to walk three days a week for 30 days. Set the goal and then set the steps you’ll need to take to reach the goal for that prize of feeling accomplishment! You may want to find a walking buddy which also fulfills a basic need for belonging! For that matter – bring a sandwich on the walk and you’ve fulfilled your basic need for food as well!

The last need is the need for self-fulfillment or self-actualization and achieving your full potential. We all are capable of reaching the highest level of self-actualization, however life gets in the way, doesn’t it? Poor health, divorce, job loss, may cause us to move from level to level until our needs are met.

If we went through each level and asked ‘why’ these things are important, some of the answers would be obvious.

In my opinion, physical activity is a basic need because it is our physical body that allows for independence and quality of life. Ask yourself ‘why’ its important to you?

And if its not important, ask yourself ‘why’. The answer may motivate you.



Corley Roberts, Exercise Physiologist, MHA, CPHQ (Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality), founder of MyFitScript, has been a health care professional for over 25 years. Corley is a published author, health writer, and public speaker. Read her monthly health column in Mature Lifestyles Magazine!

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