Lack motivation to exercise? – Sign up for a sports event

Thomas Fremo. Foto BERRE ASPhysical inactivity is a major threat for health and longevity on a global scale. We at CERG, together with many other research communities, aim to explain the underlying mechanisms for disease development due to insufficient amount of physical activity, and furthermore, to advocate simple and motivating ways for people to choose an active lifestyle.

In everyday life, grey and monotone as it can be, it is easy to succumb to routines when trying to ad up the schedule. Lack of time is one of the most common explanations for why people don’t exercise, but oddly enough, time spent watching TV has steadily increased during the last couple of decades. So, may it be that if you make time, you find that there is room for a quick workout more often than not?

Read also: Exercise Training as Medicine in Trondheim

A smart way of feeling the need to prioritize exercise is actually to engage in sporting events, which includes everything from a small local event to a national one. This may sound unfamiliar and even frightening to some, but put off the general impression that you need to be an athlete or have the most advanced and modern equipment in order to participate, and realize that it is really just about committing to something. In the 60’s and 70’s, “everyone” joined in on more or less trivial sporting events. Back then they were more social events. Why not spur that concept once again? Challenge family, friends or co-workers. Find a suitable event, meaning a sport that you like and preferably a competition that is not straightaway in the extreme category. Finally, set the date, and start working towards it! Personally, I find that this approach is excellent in order to exercise regularly, because purpose is essential when it comes to finding motivation. You get something to look forward to, and on your way you will likely experience great things like social bonding, sharing of unique experiences, and off course increasing physical fitness, which for sure has so many advantages both psychologically and physiologically.

Anne Berit og Silvana sammen med våre venner på det svenske laget "Kung Sture".

CERG is participating in St. Olavsloppet every June. This picture’s from 2014.

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When the day you committed to finally arrives, you may experience the well-known “fight or flight” mode, much like when one of our ancestors saw a bear on a fairly short distance. Your senses get sharpened, you become vigilant and primal responses such as nervousness and increased cardiovascular stimulation present themselves. In this particular setting, you are using this emotional state in the moment, not in the office chair over everyday worries that you can’t instantly solve. When the starting shot fires is when the bear starts trotting towards you, and that’s when you have to throw all other thoughts aside and just act!

Read also: Why do we need information about non-participants in research?

At last, when the event is over, register for the next one in half a year or so and start working (out) towards it. Remember, the road is the goal!

Thomas Fremo, Staff Engineer at NextMove/CERG


Blair, S. Physical inactivity: the biggest public health problem of the 21st century. Br J Sports Med, 2009;43:1-2.

Egan, A.M., et al., Barriers to exercise in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. QJM, 2013. 106(7): p. 635-8.

Forskningsrådet; Akilles forlag. Forskning om Idrett, samfunn og frivillig organisering, 2007. Prosjektkatalog 1998-2007: p. 13-126. Url:

Helsedirektoratet. Aktivitetshåndboken – Fysisk aktivitet i forebygging og behandling, 2009. Kapittel 1 og 6. Url:

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About CERG

The Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) seeks to identify the key mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of physical on cardiac health in the context of disease prevention and treatment. Named the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine under Professor Ulrik Wisløff's leadership in 2011, CERG uses both top-down and bottom-up approaches to combat lifestyle-related disease.

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