Do you hate working out? Does the thought of running make your whole body tense up with anxiety? Do you dread the feeling of sweating and breathing hard? You are not alone.
Our brains are wired for homeostasis, meaning we generally are more comfortable when things stay just as they are. For those who are not in the habit of daily exercise, the thought of pushing ourselves to those limits seems just too difficult or undesirable. But I’m here to let you in on a secret of those who love to exercise.
The secret to making exercise a daily habit is to make it your grown-up playtime. Fitness should be fun, like when we were kids and used to play tag or ride our bikes with friends for hours on end.
I love watching my kids play in the front yard with their friends; soccer or basketball or swings or scooters. They come in with red faces and heavy breathing, but they can’t wait to get back out there for more. They don’t even notice the changes in their bodies from the physical activity, and that is because to them, it is just part of playing. As adults, we need to get back to this.
Making Exercise Fun Again
Do you hate to run? Don’t run! There are a bazillion different ways to get in physical activity. I do a different form of exercise every single day – from interval training to plyometrics to walking. I hate being bored, and changing my exercise routine daily is much more fun for me. When something isn’t fun anymore, try something new.
If you enjoy only one form of exercise and look forward to it everyday, do it everyday. The possibilities are endless, and exercise is not supposed to make you miserable. We are supposed to receive joy from it, just like our children do.
How to Find The Exercise You Love
In order to find what you enjoy, you have to be willing to have an open mind and try new things. My husband once talked me into giving rock climbing a shot. I dreaded it. It seemed really hard. But the first time I made it up a really difficult wall and touched the top, then rappelled back down, it was so thrilling that I didn’t want to stop.
It didn’t feel like exercise to me, because I was too busy having fun. The next day I knew it was definitely exercise, as I was sore from head to toe!
I once read on a blog about someone who collected coupons and discounts for as many different fitness classes that she could find. She tried every single one of them until something stuck. I thought this was such a fantastic idea!
Pilates, martial arts, yoga, dance, aerobics, kick boxing, gymnastics–the possibilities are endless, and most studios offer a trial class for free. You may even remember a sport that you played as a child or teen that you’d like to play again. There are adult leagues for every sport, from beginner to highly advanced.
Think back to your childhood and try to remember what you loved to do that was physical, and do it again! You will be surprised at the warm fuzzies you get when you’re “playing”, and you’ll wake up each morning EXCITED to do it.
If nothing else, after you exercise, really notice how great you feel. Notice the release of stress and anxiety, the endorphins that make you feel good, the better sleep every night. Write it down. Think about it a lot. Get addicted to that feeling.