When people say they don’t like exercise, what they really mean is that they haven’t enjoyed the exercises they’ve tried in the past.

You may have gotten sweaty and red-faced or felt embarrassed about doing something that didn’t suit you. You may have worked too hard too early and gotten sore, or perhaps you simply hated the gym environment. It’s likely that most people have had some form of negative experience in exercise.

However, the benefits from exercise are numerous and indisputable. If you have health and fitness goals that are important to you, then physical activity can help you achieve them. So what else is holding you back from moving more?

Examine your attitude

It’s been said that your attitude determines your altitude. If you have a positive attitude and can find ways to make your exercise enjoyable, you will be much more likely to stick to it. Doing what you enjoy doesn’t require generating as much motivation. You’ll feel enthusiastic and look forward to it rather than making excuses not to do it.

Find an activity you are passionate about, and exercise will never seem like a chore. You need to have an open mind when you try new activities or do them in a different way. If you’ve been inactive for a while, it may take a little time to start enjoying the feeling of movement.

So take small steps, and ease into your exercise routine. It takes time to transform yourself from inactive to active. And remember, you don’t have to sweat profusely or go through extreme discomfort to derive a benefit. The phrase “no pain, no gain” doesn’t apply when you first start a new exercise program.

Vary the type of activity

Choose an aerobic activity such as walking, cycling, swimming, or slow jogging as your primary activity. But if you think that doing the same thing every day sounds boring, it may help to try a variety of exercises. This is known as cross-training, where you do a number of different activities on different days.

Cross-training may help you maintain your motivation and interest while also giving you a broader base of fitness. If you focus on a variety of activities that you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to incorporate them into your everyday life.

Being your best

It’s only natural to want to look good, feel great, and perform at your peak. That’s what’s so great about exercise: it helps to bring out the best in you. One of the true joys is achieving a personal best.

What could be better than a journey where you constantly strive to reach a goal, then reach it, set a higher goal, and reach that? You get more fit and lean by going a little faster or a little longer or lifting a little more weight. It’s also a great way to help you focus on the process of exercise, not the results.

If you constantly strive to beat your previous personal best, you will lift your sense of self-worth and get more out of exercise—and you’ll probably lose body fat in the process.

Have an action plan

Get a notebook to write down your exercise details. It can be your diary, a loose-leaf folder, a scrapbook, or your smartphone. To track your progress, write down your long-term goals, your exercise plan, and your actual exercise throughout the week. When you plan your week, be creative and include a good balance between your primary fat--burning exercise and more enjoyable activities.

Fun fitness gadgets

Another way to add enjoyment to your exercise routine is to use some of the available technology, equipment, and gadgetry.

Exercise machines offer convenience and privacy, making it possible to exercise in front of the television and to keep active on a miserable day. Choose machines that mimic the most effective exercises, such as treadmills and elliptical trainers. There are also some great devices to help you monitor your progress, such as heart rate monitors and pedometers. The options are really limited only by your budget.

What’s more, portable music players or your cell phone will allow you to easily put your entire music collection in one place. You can also listen to educational podcasts to make the time go by quicker.

How long?

You have to learn to love exercise, and it will take some people longer than others to achieve that. All good things take time. As exercise becomes more of a habit, you’ll start to feel fitter and more energetic. You might even feel bad if you miss a day of exercise. Eventually, you might find yourself wanting to be active on weekends and vacations instead of hanging around doing nothing.

One of your friends might even call you a health freak. Can you see yourself as this person? Is it possible to unleash the inner athlete inside you? It’s easier when you don’t have to force yourself to exercise—when you actually want to do it. Health and fitness can gradually become a passion. Make it yours.

10 Fun Cross-training Activities

  1. Hiking
  2. Golfing
  3. Swimming
  4. Rollerblading
  5. Surfing, bodyboarding, or bodysurfing
  6. Martial arts
  7. Team sports
  8. Mountain biking
  9. Kayaking or canoeing
  10. Throwing Frisbees or flying kites

Below are several exercise variables that can have a positive or negative influence on your enjoyment—things such as your desire for social interaction, competition, your starting fitness level, coordination, and the cost involved. The impact of these factors will vary from person to person, so use the following quiz to help determine what to look for and what to avoid.

Every time you check yes, consider the solution that’s offered. The more times you check no, the easier it should be for you to find an activity you enjoy.

Discover Your Exercise Personality

Learning to Love Exercise

by Andrew Cate
  
From the July 2017 Signs  

1Is your current state of fitness a concern to you?

Yes: The best start is a gentle walking program. Even ten minutes a day will get you started and build your fitness gradually.

No: Go to 2

2Are you worried that you don’t have enough coordination to exercise?

Yes: Start off with something easy like walking or a stationary bike to establish a base of fitness. Challenge yourself as your confidence grows.

No: Go to 3

3Do you dislike the competitive nature of some types of exercise?

Yes: Avoid team sports or gym membership. Choose activities such as walking, where the only person to compete against and compare yourself to is yourself.

No: Go to 4

4Would you like to include social contact with others as part of your exercise routine?

Yes: Try to find a training partner for your new exercise routine. You could also try a team sport such as basketball, volleyball, touch football, or tennis.

No: Go to 5

5Is the cost of programs or equipment a concern for you?

Yes: A walking program is absolutely free. You may also be able to find free exercise demonstrations on YouTube or borrow an exercise DVD from your local library.

No: Go to 6

6Are you embarrassed to be seen exercising?

Yes: Start off with an indoor activity such as using exercise equipment or an exercise video to build your fitness and confidence.

No: Go to 7

7Do you have any injuries that will make exercise difficult?

Yes: Visit a trainer or physical therapist who can design an exercise program that addresses your injury concerns. Water aerobics may be a good choice.

No: Go to 8

8Would you prefer to exercise indoors?

Yes: Activities you can do inside include exercise machines, exercise videos, and exercising in a gym.

No: Go to 9

9Would you prefer to exercise outdoors?

Yes: You have plenty of options, such as walking, jogging, cycling, hiking, tennis, and team sports.

No: Go to 10

10Do you only have minimal spare time available to exercise?

Yes: Choose activities that are close to home to minimize your travel time. You may also need to accumulate your activity in short bursts.

5 Tips For Making Exercise More Enjoyable

  1. If you are unfit or overweight, don't push yourself too hard. Start out any exercise gently, and build up slowly over several weeks.
  2. Try to find one or two other activities (in addition to walking ot slow jogging) to include in our exercise routine, such as resistance training or a team sport.
  3. Try to included a few activities that are more about fun than about exercise, such as flying a kite, throwing a Frisbee, or playing tag with your kids.
  4. Once or twice a week, try to push yourself a little harder, in short bursts. This will boost your fitness and fat loss and help you have more energy, making it easier to motivate yourself to exercise next time.
  5. Listening to music while you exercise can add to the enjoyment of the experience, making you want to exercise harder and for longer.