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Matthew Burgin. Picture: Robert Duncan/The West Australian

Community exercise events, such as the HBF Run for a Reason, are a great opportunity for people to enjoy the positive benefits of exercise.

More people take part in this event every year. So with its popularity booming, a key question for exercise psychologists is: why do so many of us find it difficult to exercise?

A critical factor is motivation. For the lay person, part of the answer to why some people can roll out of bed at 5am on a cold and dark morning for a walk or run, while others pull the doona over their head and go back to sleep, simply comes down to decision making.

Some people, like the 5am exerciser, don't wait for the ideal set of circumstances. They just do it. But if you're the type to hit the snooze button, all is not lost. It is about understanding your mindset and making the most of it - working out strategies to get you going.

Reluctant exercisers can be motivated to exercise because they value the activity (so find a sport you love), they feel it's important to take part and not let people down (this is why group sports or exercising with others helps) or because of health concerns.

When it comes to starting - and sticking - with exercise, use whatever helps you change your mindset from wanting to do it, to doing it. A 5am run may not be the thing for you but a mixed netball game with friends at 6pm may fit the bill.

Goal-setting is important. Martin Hagger, a Curtin University professor and leading researcher in the exercise psychology field, says that "implementation" goals are the most effective.

Rather than a goal like "I will lose weight and start exercising", make an implementation goal like "I will exercise after work on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5.30pm to 6.30pm at my local park".

Implementation goals provide the steps to realising the good intentions.

One of the great enjoyments for athletes in team sports is training and competing with mates. The same is true of participants in events such as the HBF Run for a Reason.

If you've enjoyed your preparation, you'll enjoy the event. Be sure to share your experience with friends and family.

Matthew Burgin is team psychologist for the Hockeyroos and lecturer in sport psychology at Murdoch University.