How to Actually Enjoy Exercise
We know that diet and exercise work together to create weight loss, and we know that a goal of 30 minutes of exercise a day will help us lose an idea amount of weight each week. But that’s easier said than done. For every person who leaps out of bed every day at 5 am to jog, there are a dozen more real people who struggle to find the time and motivation. Often, people exercise with a “tough love” attitude. We’ve heard all the mantras, “No pain, no gain,” being the most popular.
Exercise can feel like a chore, and sometimes it seems like it has to be. But what if you didn’t have to hate exercise? What’s the best way to approach a goal of 30+ minutes a day without becoming overwhelmed and giving up? These tips will help you exercise without dreading it on a daily basis.
1. Start small
You don’t need to jump into 30 minutes of exercise right away. In fact, making this big of a leap will probably frustrate you, and you might even injure yourself. Instead, start with five minutes. Set a timer and tell yourself it’s only five minutes. You can do anything for five minutes! Gradually increase the time, minute by minute every day, and soon 30 minutes will fly by.
2. Make exercise a regular accident.
Sometimes, we have to schedule exercise like its something else. Maybe a long walk every day isn’t appealing. If you make a date to catch up with friends (while you happen to be walking), the exercise will happen while you’re doing something else you enjoy. Other ways to exercise “accidentally” might include a dance class with your partner or weekly excursions to explore new parts of the city on your bike. You don’t need to spend an hour in the gym to workout- make it happen the best way for you.
3. Exercise from home.
If exercise doesn’t seem as bad as the effort it takes to get ready, maybe an at-home workout is your best bet. One of my favorite at-home exercises is to watch TV and do something different during every commercial break. This means I might do lunges, squats, planks, and push-ups all during one show. It’s an easy way to make exercise feel no more painful than an episode of Scandal.
4. Don’t think about weight loss.
At first, this seems counterintuitive. Isn’t setting a goal a good way to stay motivated? It’s true that goals help us stay committed, but sometimes they keep us from simply enjoying the moment. When you’re exercising, think about how good it feels to move your body, how nice it is to play with your kids or spend time with your spouse, or how peaceful it is to have a moment alone. Exercise should make you feel good! It helps to find an exercise that seems more like a game than a chore- going for a swim, walking outside with your dog, or playing a sport you loved as a kid. Focusing on enjoying yourself, instead of the big picture of the weight you want to lose, can help making exercise a reward instead of a punishment.
5. Don’t guilt yourself!
The easiest way to unmotivated yourself is to get frustrated. Don’t be upset if you forget one day, or if a workout doesn’t go as planned. Be patient with yourself, and appreciate the time that you have to do something fun and active with your day. It’s also easy to feel guilty when you DO exercise- maybe you feel like you should be spending time on work, chores, or family. Think of exercise as a special time you set aside to make yourself happier. In turn, a happier you can be a better employee, parent, spouse, and friend. Once you see exercise as a fun and enjoyable investment in yourself, it’s easier let negative feelings go.
You started this BeWell journey because you wanted to invest in yourself. There will always be days when you feel tired and busy, and exercise is the last thing on your mind. If you approach exercise as a way to commit to yourself, to feel more energized and to be healthier you, maybe it won’t feel as daunting. Remember- you’re worth all the time and energy exercise takes! For more tips on how to be well, contact us and start your health and fitness journey.
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