How to Turn Exercise Into Something You Love


Exercise. Not the most alluring word in the world, is it? (I think “chocolate” is a lot more enticing, myself…)

Perhaps you know you should be doing some exercise – all those hours sitting at a desk are taking their toll on your health – but it’s really hard to get motivated. You might have tried the gym in the past, only to fork over a lot of cash for a membership you barely used.

The truth is, exercise can be a lot of fun.

It’s just a case of tweaking a few things to suit you.
  1. The Type of Exercise You Do
    I hate jogging. So I don’t jog.

    I know that sounds like an absolute no-brainer, but so many people seem to think that they “should” do a particular form of exercise – even if they really don’t like it.

    Sure, some types of activity are “better” than others in certain ways: perhaps they burn more calories or use more muscles. But what’s most crucial is that you find an enjoyable way to be active – you want to stick with it over time, and the whole point of exercise is to live a richer life, not a more miserable one!

    There are hundreds of different types of exercise. Dancing around the room to a great song counts. So does walking, swimming, cycling, fencing, jumping on a trampoline, playing football with your kids…

    Even if you think that you hate exercise, I’d reckon you can find some sort of activity that you’ll actually look forward to doing.


  2. The Time of Day That You Exercise
    If you’re aiming to exercise at 6am, but struggling to get out of bed before 7.30am, then you’re probably not getting much closer to your goals.

    If you have to force yourself to go out in the evenings when it’s cold and dark, and you hate that, then you’re not going to stick with exercising for long.

    Truth is, most of us can find a time of day when we actively enjoy exercising. You might use your lunch hour, for instance, so that your exercise becomes a much-needed escape from the office. Or you might find a way to use your daily routine to stay active – walking or cycling to work, for instance, instead of driving.

    Look for a time of day when exercise feels like time you take just for you, rather than a chore that you have to squeeze in.


  3. The Place Where You Exercise
    Have you tried going to a gym, only to feel it’s not you? Maybe you’ve never even tried – you know you won’t be comfortable there.

    Some folks love the gym environment: they enjoy the music and the range of high-quality equipment. The presence of instructors and fellow exercisers makes them feel more motivated.

    Other people (me included!) feel intimidated in gyms. Perhaps you feel the same way – you worry about what the fitness nuts might be thinking about you, or you hate the music, or the artificial lighting.

    You don’t have to hit the gym to get a great workout. There are plenty of other options, like:

    • Using a workout DVD at home
    • Buying home gym equipment (you can often pick up barely-used machines second-hand)
    • Walking, running or cycling outside
  4. Who You Exercise With (if Anyone)
    The final factor in enjoying exercise is the company you have.

    That might just be your own company: many people end up loving exercise because it gives them much-needed “me time” to unwind.

    But exercising with friends can be a lot of fun too. You’ll have more of a reason to show up – and you can take part in sports which wouldn’t be possible alone.

    Pick the right people to exercise with: you’ll want others with a similar level of fitness to yours, and you probably don’t want super-competitive types.

Exercise can be great fun. It’s all about finding a way that you enjoy being active. Experiment with the factors above until you find a combination which works for you. And if you’ve got any extra tips or ideas to add, let us know in the comments.

Written on 11/23/2010 by Ali Luke. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing. Photo Credit: boltron-
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