Whether it’s your husband who sits in an office all day, your father who’s settled into a comfy retiree routine or your brother with a Netflix addiction, if there’s a guy in your life who isn’t as active as he should be, you may be concerned about his health. And you’re right to be. According to the World Health Organization, a sedentary lifestyle could be among the 10 leading causes of death and disability worldwide, with an estimated 2 million deaths per year linked to physical inactivity.
Setting a good example is one way to try to convince your couch potato to exercise. But to really get him up and moving, consider these motivational tips:
1. Start gently
Be gentle—with both your encouragement and the activities you suggest. Nagging will make exercise feel like a chore, and jumping into something too difficult could cause frustration or, worse, injury. Remember, he’s new to this or just getting started back up again. Try walks around the neighborhood a couple of days a week to start, and gradually increase your time and distance. Take the dog with you if it helps motivate him!
2. Consider a class
Men might feel a little out of place in an all-women group, but there are plenty of classes that will make them feel welcomed. Your guy might like a spin class, cardio boxing or even yoga. Even if you’re a class veteran, take him to the beginner class or instruct him yourself on how to start out slow and achieve good results (so that he wants to come back!).
3. Be gym buddies
Pick a non-peak hour, and bring your guy along to the gym. You can be his trainer, or see if you can arrange an introductory training session for the both of you. Make sure to start with an easy workout. Hit up the circuit machines, do a few dumbbell exercises, stretch, and then do a little cardio. Going to the gym together can become a regular thing—you’ll both get fit while getting to spend extra time with one another.
4. Reward him
Everyone likes presents! Buying a fitness gift for him can be a great motivator. Besides trendy gadgets, you could go with lessons (golf or tennis maybe), a few sessions with a personal trainer, boxing or MMA training, whatever appeals to him. Fitness gear – such as a heart rate monitor, pedometer, workout clothes or shoes, lifting gloves or a water bottle – is also fun.
5. Make it fun
Bike ride, hike, walk the beach, swim, spend the day at the park, find an activity that he finds fun. Pack a healthy meal to take along and make it more about time together being active instead of “having to exercise.” Remember to always bring along sunscreen and stay hydrated when exercising outdoors.