24 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: I’ve lost the motivation to exercise

A traumatic event can leave psychological scars that last long after the body has healed

Russell Hemmings.
8 Jan 2016 | 12:00 am

I’ve always been a fit and healthy person. This changed two years ago when I had a serious accident where I was knocked down by a truck while riding my racing bicycle. Since then, I have lost interest in my bicycle, my fitness and my health. Now, I’ve become overweight and feel like I’ve lost touch with the person that I used to be. How can I regain my motivation to look good and stay fit?

A traumatic event can leave psychological scars that last long after the body has healed. This is not uncommon and there are 
a number of gentle strategies you can employ to re-engage with fitness and all of the positive mind and body benefits it brings.

What you are suffering from is a form of post-traumatic stress. It’s likely that deep in your subconscious you fear this might happen again and that it will be connected to the act of riding your cycle.

You’re a motivated person; you’re just not motivated right now. Your aim should be to reignite the passion for fitness you have already experienced, and this will in itself lead you back to that positive mental state you were in before the accident happened.

You should focus on a completely new type of exercise in order to rebuild both your confidence and core fitness. Try to find a sport or activity that brings you in contact with other people and that refuels your passion for exercise.

Inevitably, you’ve been comparing your pre-accident self to the person you are now and always coming up short. This is demotivating and you need to reassess where you are now and take this as your starting point for a fresh challenge and a new chapter in your life.

Since cycling was something you loved, naturally at some point you would like to go back to it. Having a traumatic experience while doing something you love is always more difficult to come to terms with, so once you have regained your confidence elsewhere, you could take steady steps to getting back on two wheels. By seeking new and exciting challenges you’ll become stronger, with a more rounded outlook for the future.

Got a problem?

Email your queries to

Russell Hemmings.

Russell Hemmings

Life coach, and clinical and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist. More info: / 04 4273627 / 055 2867275.