There’s no getting around it: exercise is essential for a long, healthy, happy life. Exercise has a huge number of short-term and long-term health benefits, including improved sleep and energy levels, weight management, and enhanced physical and mental health. Aside from the occasional injury, there are no real downsides to exercise—except that many people don’t enjoy it.
Let’s face it: getting sweaty and working hard in the gym often doesn’t sound as fun as sitting in front of the TV. But to maintain your health and well-being, it’s important to get into the habit of working out as soon as you can. People who develop a love of exercise at a young age will be healthier later in life and might even live longer.
So how can you make exercise something you actually look forward to? Try these tips.
Take the Work Out of Working Out
We often buy into the myth that exercise doesn’t really “count” unless you’re struggling with strength training reps or pushing through that last painful mile. But that’s absolutely not true—all physical activity counts as far as your health is concerned.
If you want to learn to love exercising, then it’s time to take the work out of working out. Activities you already enjoy, like biking outside on a nice day, gardening, and even walking around the mall, are all valid forms of exercise. You can even burn calories by giving your house a good scrubbing!
Incorporating more exercise and activity into your life doesn’t have to mean logging more hours at the gym. If you’re mindful of prioritizing activities that naturally get you moving, you’ll need fewer formal workouts and you’ll likely start to enjoy exercising a lot more.
Consider Yoga or Other Relaxing Forms of Exercise
Repeat after me: exercise doesn’t have to be intense and fast-paced. If you don’t love the grueling nature of CrossFit or spin class, you’re in luck: there are lots of different options for exercise that don’t involve making you feel like you’re going to pass out.
More relaxing forms of exercise, like yoga, can give you extra benefits like increased stress reduction that can help you manage your mental health and improve your overall well-being. The emphasis of the mind-body connection and focusing on breath can help you calm down and keep you in the present.
If yoga isn’t for you, consider another relaxing type of exercise, like lap swimming or hiking. These activities can help you clear your head and unplug for a little bit, which can be extremely beneficial and might even make you look forward to exercising.
Exercise with Friends!
It’s really hard to find the motivation to hit the gym all by yourself. Even if you watch TV on the elliptical or go to fitness classes, there’s just no accountability to keep you from skipping your workout and saying “tomorrow” over and over again.
That’s why working out with friends is so powerful. Not only will you get to look forward to spending time with your friends, but you’ll be providing each other with accountability.
People get very creative when it comes to holding each other accountable—like swapping shoes so that they’re forced to meet up to exercise—but it’s all up to you and your friend to find out what works. There are so many great reasons to exercise with friends, and social workouts will definitely help you build positive habits and allow you to enjoy the process more.
Set Screen Limits For Yourself – Your Future Self Will Thank You
One of the reasons that it’s so hard to develop a love for exercising is that the screens that surround us are just so compelling. It’s hard to put the phone down or turn off the TV to lace up your sneakers. But if you want to live a happier, healthier life, then it’s time to consider some screen limits for yourself.
We know that too much screen time is bad for us, but it can be hard to set limits for yourself. Apps and software can help you break your screen addiction, and you might want to try some techniques parents use for limiting screen time in their children’s lives.
Breaking the habit is hard, but you’ll find more time for exercising and probably feel better overall. Your future self will thank you!
Music Can Help Spark Your Passion for Moving
If you find exercise to be a chore, even after experimenting with different workout options and formats, then you might want to spend some time creating the perfect playlist. Studies have shown that music can help get you out the door and reduce how difficult the workout feels—even if you’re working harder than ever.
Music pumps you up and makes your workouts more enjoyable. Why wouldn’t you use that power to help you develop a love for exercising?
Don’t Try to Be Perfect—Just Have Fun!
If you want to enjoy exercising, you need to focus on moving more, not on creating a hardcore workout plan that burns you out. Don’t try to be perfect. Just have fun, and you’ll begin to enjoy moving your body!