How do I motivate my partner to exercise?

Special to The Globe and Mail

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The question: I want to encourage my partner to exercise. Any suggestions on how I can motivate him to exercise? I don’t want to seem pushy.

The answer: You might be surprised by how often clients ask me that. My answer is always some variation of: “Whether you are on a solo or family mission to improve your health, becoming healthier doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen by finding ways to set yourself up for exercise success.”

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Obviously the exact formula for success will differ depending on the situation and who is involved, but there is one constant: You have to find ways to establish positive lifestyle habits. Try to plan ahead and become more mindful of your daily food and exercise routines.

The major caveat when you are talking about influencing your partner’s health is that he has to be at least interested in having the conversation. You can’t force better health on anyone. It is a process, and in order for long-term changes to occur, the person must want to be part of the process. That’s why I never take on clients who are only coming because their parents or partner want them to train.

Communicate with your partner. Ask him how you can support his health cause. Maybe he would find it useful if the two of you started playing a sport, or if you bought a piece of gym equipment for home.

Don’t assume you know how you can help him. Once he has confided in you, reciprocate. Tell him how he can support your health mission. That way you can work together to become healthier.

Trainer’s tip: Try putting together a list of 10 to 20 active activities that you and your partner would enjoy together. This is your chance to list things like learning to dance or training for a 5K race. Then, make weekly dates where you try (and check off) something from the list.

Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.

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