Motivation Hack: The 5-Minute Rule

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October 3, 2022

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We’ve all been there - those moments, minutes or even hours spent trying to will yourself to open the door and head out for a walk, put on your activewear, press start on your Sweat workout or head to the gym. 

Even though you know how beneficial exercise is (and how good you’ll feel afterwards!) the act of starting and getting through the first few minutes is often the hardest part of a workout, especially on days when your motivation or energy is low! 

Is it normal for the dirty dishes and unfolded pile of washing to suddenly look really appealing right before your workout? Asking for a friend. 

The 5-minute rule

One sneaky trick to get you up and moving and smash through that workout procrastination is a cognitive-behavioural technique called the 5-minute rule. 

It’s simple - set a timer for five minutes and start your exercise session, telling yourself you’re going to move until the five minutes is over and then reassess how you feel. 

Half an hour of cardio or a tough workout can seem pretty daunting. Five minutes? That’s definitely achievable and not too scary.

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Why it works

In those five minutes, try to really commit to the exercise you’re doing and give it your best effort, both mentally and physically. If the timer goes off and you don’t feel any different, the decision is yours as to whether you want to keep going or not, but you’ll know that you gave it your best shot (and that five-minute burst of movement is a great exercise snack, too).

However, as many people know, once you’ve made it through the first five minutes, you’ve passed the biggest hurdle by getting started and the rest usually doesn’t feel as daunting.

Within that short time frame, you’ll also likely start to experience that feel-good endorphin rush, feel more awake and refreshed from taking deeper breaths and the increased blood flow to your brain, or simply get to the point where you think to yourself - I’ve already started, I may as well keep going! 

If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy working out, think about what you could do in that five minutes to get you in the mood, so to speak. It could be power-walking, jump rope, jogging, yoga, cycling, dynamic stretching, or the first five minutes of a workout in the Sweat app. The more you enjoy it, the higher the chances are that you’ll want to keep going when the timer goes off!

Sweat is about so much more than your workouts

Feel your best - inside AND out

Although we all have days where exercise requires more discipline and grit, remember it’s just as important to prioritise your rest days, self-care and mental wellbeing. There are many reasons why you might decide to skip a workout or take a day off, such as fatigue, your period, stress, sore muscles, illness, important work or family commitments, or simply not being in the right headspace. 

Listen to your body and learn the difference between the days when you need rest and the days when you need to dig deep and push through a lack of motivation. And who knows, after five minutes of movement you might have all the motivation you need!

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A more empowered you starts with Sweat, and our editorial team is here to bring you the latest fitness tips, trainer recommendations, wellbeing news, nutritional advice, nourishing recipes and free workouts.

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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