How To Learn To Love Exercise – Not Just Suffer Through It

We all know regular exercise is key to boosting physical and mental health, but sometimes, the idea of actually doing it feels too much like hard work. But re-framing your mindset around working out, shaking up your routine or establishing a new one, can transform exercise from chore to treat (yes, really).

You can learn to discover the joy of working out. Here’s how:

1. Don’t be Ashamed

Personal trainer Joe Edmonds sees this all the time: people who want to exercise more, but are terrified to venture into the gym because they are worried that regular users will laugh at them. The reality, he says, “is that, generally speaking, other people don’t care. They’re doing their own thing.”

Edmonds advises people to push past the discomfort for a few sessions. “I find that if people can just get in for one or two weeks, they soon change their perception of the gym space, and themselves within the gym space. They just need to get in in the first place.”

2. Find Your Personal Incentive

If you’re naturally inclined to be sedentary, or don’t particularly enjoy working out, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to lace on a pair of trainers and exercise. “I would try to encourage that person to find another reason for them to exercise,” says Zahir Akram. “For me a huge motivation to continue training and get healthier isn’t aesthetics, but because of my son. I like to remind clients that there are people who rely on them and they need them to be strong. If you can’t exercise for yourself, do it for the people who rely on you to be healthy.”

3. Don’t Overdo It

Although it’s tempting to embark on a full-throttle fitness kick when you feel that you’ve been slacking, it’s actually counterproductive. “When I work with clients who are getting back into things, I tell them not to go from doing nothing to being Jet from Gladiator by the end of the week,” says the London-based personal trainer Hannah Lewin. “I know it’s super-tempting when you are in a down phase to amp it up to the max, but it’s not realistic.”

3. Identify Something You Enjoy

If you hate running or find yoga boring – don’t do it. “If you start with something you really dislike, it won’t help you get back into anything,” says Lewin. “Finding something you don’t hate is a good place to start, and it will also help build your confidence level. Confidence and motivation go hand in hand, so if you are finding something makes you feel bad, exercise will be even more stressful, and your motivation will decline even further.”

4. Don’t Obsess About the Gym

There are many ways to exercise that don’t include gyms. Skating in the park with friends; a dip in the lido; a long walk down the beach: all get the blood circulating, and, more importantly, are enjoyable (providing you don’t fall over on the skates). “You don’t have to think of exercise as going to the gym or for a 5km run,” says Akram. “

Just going for a 15-minute walk every day will contribute to health, make your joints feel better, and loosen you up. Lots of people have a mistaken idea of what exercise is. If you go walking regularly, that’s exercise. So if you don’t want to go to a gym, at least get up and move around more.”

5. Consider Measuring Your Progress

“Incremental gains can be really motivating,” says Edmonds. Fitness apps such as Strava have free-to-use versions, and are great for monitoring your progress. “A lot of people are numbers-based,” says Edmonds, “and being able to write down and see their progress and logging it can be very beneficial for them. Others will be motivated by training with someone else. You have to understand what motivates you.”

6. Be Consistent- and Kind To Yourself

“It’s better to have a few shorter sessions a week that are manageable than packing in lots of classes, and then dropping out,” says Lewin. “The more consistent you are, the higher your motivation levels will stay. But consistency needs you to be realistic. Otherwise, it gets overwhelming.”

Lewin would encourage people to be kind to themselves. “Compare where you are now with where you were a year ago,” she says. “My God, we have all gone through such a lot since then. And instead of thinking: ‘Oh, I was fitter last year’, think about how this year you’re going to build back better.”

7. Create a Mental Picture of the Healthier You

Create a detailed mental picture of the healthier you – looking fab, feeling strong and vital, having a huge smile, wearing something you always wanted to wear, whatever works for you. Whenever you don’t feel like exercising, focus on that image and have her invite you for a workout.

8. Make exercise a Social Event.

Using exercise as an excuse to catch up with friends is always better than riding solo – unless you’re training for an event, says Thorpe. “Granted, you may lower the intensity of the workout because you’ll be having a natter, but a friend is one form of accountability which will ensure that you get out of bed for it in the morning,” he says.

“And if gyms don’t suit you, try a class with a good social aspect. Plenty of small gyms or classes meet with their members for regular socials.”

Article Credit:

Published by SULV Foundation

Build and Repeat is our Mission and Purpose, we strive to make the world a better place while creating inter-generational wealth.

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