Do you fell like exercise is a punishment but do it anyway because you know it’s good for you? Don’t worry, we hear that a lot 😀 . So let me help you get started by showing you that it can be easy as 1, 2, 3 to learn how to enjoy exercise.
Exercising doesn’t have to be running on a treadmill or lifting weights. You need to figure out what’s right for you. My mantra is that exercising has to give you energy, not take it away. Exercise can be playing, a time to focus on yourself, and the best part of your day if you do something you enjoy.
Of course, if you want to be a fitness model, you have to hit the weights and do the cardio, but if you just want to be healthy (and look good), the options for what kind of exercise to do are almost endless.
How to enjoy exercise by identifying what you enjoy
What was your favorite activity as a kid and what gives you energy? Was it riding your bike around the neighborhood, dancing to your favorite tunes, jump roping in the yard or hanging upside down in a three branch enjoying the silence? Playing basketball, tennis, soccer or whatever? I know there is something. Or maybe you have a dream of doing something specific, like learning to play tennis, learning to swim, rock climbing, you name it. Find the root of your inner kid and I promise you, you’ll find a kind of exercise you enjoy.
As for me, here’s a shocker: I’m actually an introvert. Being introvert doesn’t mean I don’t like people or that I’m not extremely chatty, but rather that I recharge and get energy from solitude. That solitude and energy boost is what I’ve found in the gym while lifting weights. I put on my headphones, turn on whatever music I’m in the mood for that day and I focus inward. Instead of socializing in the gym, I focus on my mind/muscle connection and I always leave the gym feeling energized.
How to enjoy exercise by identifying your dislikes
What is it that you don’t like about exercise? Is it that you hate running, spinning, the gym? My guess is that it’s something specific you dislike or even hate, and my answer always is: “then don’t do it!”. Do something else or ease into it. What I mean by easing into it is that if you really want to go to the gym but find it intimidating, go with a friend or maybe start with an exercise class until you get more comfortable. You don’t have to start at the top of the mountain or even halfway up, start at the bottom.
I know running is said to be fantastic for weight loss and everything else but I am not big on running. You might even say it’s my biggest cardio dislike. I’ll do it once in a blue moon when the weather is just right and the beach is calling me but aside from that, I don’t like running. So I don’t. There are plenty other ways to get that cardio in.
My preferred indoor options are the Stairmaster and the elliptical (because I can watch Netflix on the iPad while I train). If the weather is nice, I go for a good hike in the Malibu Mountains or run the Santa Monica stairs. Finding those types of cardio that I enjoy actually makes me look forward to my sessions
How to enjoy exercise by eliminating your dislikes and doing what you enjoy!
So now let’s put the two together so you can get started and actually have fun working out. I’ll try and give you some ideas on what you can do to get your heart rate up and build up a sweat, but obviously, I won’t hit on every option out there. If you have other ideas or think mine are lame, please feel free to add some of your own ideas in the comment field below.
- Do like me and go for a hike with your spouse or a friend. That takes care of cardio. Then tune out the world a few times a week in the gym while you focus on working your different muscle groups
- Dislike the gym but love to shake your booty? Get out the old boom box, find a dance video (you can stream some online) or do a Wii/PlayStation dance-off at home. I’ve done some of the Wii dance games, and believe me, you can get your sweat on without even noticing you are exercising
- Do you have knee issues making it hard to do any real walking or hiking? Go for a swim or dust off your bike and start out by going around the block a few times. You don’t have to own a racing bike or bike up mountains to build up a sweat. Even if you can’t swim (I am a terrible swimmer) you can use the pool for exercise. There are water aerobics classes, but you can also just walk, kick and jump your way to a workout by yourself. If you can’t swim though, please stay in the low end and make sure there is a lifeguard on duty.
My last piece of advice is to give it a chance and have fun with it. The first time you do something, it might feel overwhelming, but as your body adapts and you get stronger, it will become easier and more fun. I promise 😀