How to love exercise when you hate working out

Fitness is easier with companyYou know you need to exercise. You know it helps you sleep better, gives you more energy, improves your mood and helps maintain your weight. But you can’t stand working out!

That feeling is understandable. There are many reasons why keeping a workout regimen is difficult —beyond simply not liking it.

Are any of these scenarios familiar to you?

Where do I find the time?
“I have a house that needs tidying, two kids in school and a 45+ hour a week job with a long commute. Getting to the gym for an hour-long workout just isn’t my priority.”

All of us with full, busy lives can relate to this. Where do you find the time? Have you considered options besides a gym membership?

You can engage in a wide variety of workout routines in your own living room, from tai-chi to yoga to aerobics. In fact, thousands of free workout videos are available right on YouTube, just a search away.*

You can also go to online bookstores and search the fitness books for “no-equipment workouts” or “workouts you can do anywhere,” for other creative ideas for getting your heart pumping.

I couldn’t make it through the first day!
“I went for the 12-week, ‘feel the burn’ boot camp. Up every day at 5 a.m. for a 3 mile run before 45 minutes of calisthenics and 30 lb. kettle bell swings. I couldn’t make it through the first day, and my ankle pain came back.”

A high-intensity program with an instructor can be enticing, and it could certainly get you in shape.  Just be sure that you haven’t overestimated your abilities. You may want to consider a program that is more your speed. Instead of a 12-week boot camp, how about a twice-a-week, high intensity interval training (HIIT) class?

In addition, if you have pain when you work out, make sure you are not trying to train with an injury. Check with your doctor. You may need treatment or physical therapy before going back to regular exercise.

I’m bored out of my mind.
“I have a basic gym membership. When I arrive, I climb on the stair machine, or sit on the stationary bike or get on the treadmill and run – for a solid 45 minutes. It is SO BOR-ing!”

Combat boring exercise with a good dose of variety. If you are a member at a gym that offers classes, you are in luck! Do body-weight workouts with bands or circuit training sound interesting? Turn up the intensity by challenging yourself to get more out of your workout by adding variety and gradually increasing your reps, weight, or distance.

I feel awkward.
“I know exercise will make me feel healthier, but I I’m not comfortable in exercise clothing, and often I don’t know where to start with the gym equipment.”

  • It’s not easy to push aside insecurities in order to exercise. If you’re paying for a gym membership, ask a trainer to give you a tour of the equipment and show you how to use it. We know gyms are not for everyone. Nor is lifting heavy weights or wearing spandex.
  • Think of other activities you like to do that are physical in nature. Do you have a dog? Dogs love being outside. Try gradually increasing the length of your walks.
  • How about hiking, swing dance, or playing outside with your children (hop scotch or jump rope).
  • Some of your video games may include physical movement (think Wii Sports).

As long as you’re increasing your heart rate and getting your body moving on a regular basis, there’s no need for a gym membership or detailed workout regimen.

When you enjoy exercise, you’ll excel!
The excuses to not exercise can pile up fast. The challenge is to find activities that you are comfortable with, are at your ability level, and can be done at a convenient location so you can excel at and enjoy them.

Here’s to you exercising and actually liking it!

*Always consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.




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Lisa Engber-Shomo