Health & Fitness » Highlights » Lifestyle » Volume 49

How to re-ignite your passion for fitness

By Amy Dean

In 2016, it will be two decades since I ran the Boston Marathon. At the time, running this prestigious marathon was the culmination of years of dedication to and a love for running.

But training for the marathon was grueling, and on the day of the race, I was exhausted – both mentally and physically. I finished the 26.2 miles, then set aside a week to recover before I resumed running. The week turned into two, then three. When I finally went out for a run, I felt like I was slogging through molasses. Physically, I was in great shape, but mentally, I was burned out. What had once lit the flames of my passion – running – had been extinguished.

As we age, workouts or activities we once enjoyed may no longer fuel our passion or fit into our busy adult schedules. We may be unable to keep pace with those who are younger, or we have injuries that limit our abilities. Sometimes, too, exercise routines simply get stale.

Just as aging is inevitable, so, too, is it inevitable that as you get older, your workout interests change, your performance level drops, and your recovery from vigorous exercise slows down. Physical limitations can also bring frustration, sadness and a sense of loss. You know exercise is key to staying healthy, but the passion you once had is gone.

Here are some tips to help you rekindle your desire and passion for a workout routine.

  • If you love an exercise, still do it. Make age-related adjustments, stretch more slowly and carefully, alter your pace and take extra time off for recovery when you need it. Do whatever you need to do to fuel your passion and engage your interest.
  • Try something new. After running for decades, and then burning out, I struggled to find something that would motivate me the same way running had. I found it with cardio kickboxing. Whenever your exercise routine grows stale, find another workout that will inspire you, teach you something new and refresh your physical activity.
  • Be social. Cardio kickboxing not only refreshed my interest in working out but also added a new element to my exercise routine: being with other people. Sharing an activity with others provided me with the incentive to show up regularly and made the experience more enjoyable.
  • Set a new exercise pace. Recognize that you will not be able to do everything with the same vigor and speed as you did in the past. Set a slower, more deliberate pace, and you may find you enjoy your workout more.
  • Change the scenery. In my youth, it didn’t matter that I ran the same running route every day. Because I was more focused on my performance and pace, I paid little attention to what was around me. When running became a chore, the same route became boring and I was less inclined to exercise. Keep the scenery fresh by altering your running or walking routes or mixing up your routines.

Amy Dean lives in Central Massachusetts and is the author of several books, including Growing Older, Growing Better: Daily Meditations for Celebrating Aging. Learn more about her at

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