What comes to your mind when you hear exercise?
Fatigue? Grueling pain? Or fun and a deep sense of fulfillment?
The mere thought of the word scares the socks off some people.
Exercise should be fun because it is something you are supposed to be engaged in for the most of your waking hours; your body was made to move.
Over the past decades, medical research has repeatedly cited the consequences of letting our bodies slow down to a halt.
Of the top three causes of sudden death, two are linked to a lack of exercise, and these are heart disease and stroke. So, I take for granted you already know you should exercise more.
Let me make it easier for you by helping you see exercise as fun.
First, as a basis for making this all-important lifestyle change, you need to make these mental shifts:
1. Develop a “move more” mindset.
Asides from setting aside a particular time of the day for a workout session, plan to move more over the course of your day.
Pace the floor when on a call. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stretch while you watch your favorite TV program. In this journey, it’s the little things that count.
2. Commit to an exercise plan.
Schedule your sessions and see them as commitments, not “things you would squeeze in when you have time.”
If your schedule is so clogged that you can only afford 15 minutes at a time, schedule it. Start small, build up intensity.
3. Find an exercise you love.
It would be much easier to commit if you find an exercise you love.
If you love swimming, do you love swimming laps or water aerobics?
I personally forget time on my bike.
Also, do you like exercising alone or in a group setting?
Find the kind and style of exercising you love and you won’t balk at the idea of exercising.
4. Focus on the health benefits.
For people trying to lose weight, the numbers on the scale can be quite distracting.
It is best you focus on how much stronger you are becoming, and how much better you feel.
When you connect with your workouts on an emotional level, results come easier because of the deeper level of commitment.
That is why you should view exercise rightly, as something beneficial that can also be fun.
Now, to the fun ways of exercising:
1. Try group workouts.
It is a great way to hang out with loved ones and increase your motivation with some healthy competition.
2. Speed walk your errands.
Take grocery shopping for example. You can hit two birds with one stone this way. Increase your walking pace enough to work up a sweat. Before you know it, you have had 45 minutes to an hour “blissfully” sweating!
3. Flex your muscles while waiting in line.
Yes, you read that right.
You can flex and relax your belly in cycles while waiting in line at the grocery store or at the ATM line. I personally rock back and forth on my feet.
How’s it fun?
You’re the only one that knows what’s going on!
4. Dance to an upbeat music.
Do a quick workout by dancing to an upbeat music you love before having your shower in the morning. It is quick, but it adds up. Talk about your own private dance party.
5. Do something new.
Break the boredom. Exercising does not have to be long minutes on the treadmill or early morning jogging. Think outside your usual – kickboxing, dance classes like salsa, something that makes your loved one raise an eyebrow at you. You might get to love your new sport, and the new challenge shakes boredom as you keep an open mind.
6. If you have children, play with them!
A tumble in the rug or lawn after school in the evenings will give you a workout and help you bond with your kid(s).
So you see, when you say “I don’t like exercise,” what you are really saying is “I don’t enjoy that particular type of exercise that I have in mind.” I have taken away some excuses, now get on with it!
– Sandra Enyida.
About our guest writer:
Sandra Enyida is a Nigerian-born fitness coach and wellness consultant. She is passionate about helping people get proactive about their health, and she regularly gives wellness tips to over 3000 people on her Facebook page, Sandie Says. She is also a health columnist for different magazines.
I must admit, exercising is one area I fail in but I am working toward improving. I often only think about exercising when I want to lose some weight but that’s a bad idea. Exercise improves your cardiovascular health, keeps you fit, keeps your muscles toned, and leaves you feeling great on the overall.
On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your exercise efficiency. Would you say you are doing excellently, averagely or poorly? What can you do to improve/maintain your current level? Do you have more fun ways of exercising? Please share in the comments.