Exercise and fitness have long been a part of my life; I have a difficult time remembering a time when it wasn’t. I can remember swimming lessons as a child, gym class being my favorite “subject” in school (although it’s everyone’s, isn’t it?), volleyball in college. As an adult in the real world, I needed to find another way to keep fitness in my life and stay physically fit, that’s when exercise videos entered the picture. While staying in shape is one reason why I exercise, it is not the primary reason. I can honestly say it is because I ENJOY EXERCISE. I do. I love the endorphin rush after a great workout; I enjoy the sense of accomplishment when I finish a long run; I love the empowerment of finishing a grueling strength workout. Don’t get me wrong there have been times when I have “fallen off the wagon” whether it was due to illness, pregnancy, or life in general, but I have always gotten back on. Why? Because I can feel the difference when I don’t exercise, whether it is reflected in my mood, my sleeping patterns or my waistline, when I don’t exercise, I miss it.
Unfortunately not many people around me share my passion for fitness. Most recently I had a conversation with somebody who insisted that they hate exercise. It was a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around. So it got me to thinking of ways to help others learn to love exercise.
First and foremost, find something you enjoy. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Yet people don’t do it. Fact is when people decide to start exercising they choose an activity based on what results they hope to achieve instead of doing something they enjoy. What ends up happening? They quit exercising. Why? Because they hate running or whatever activity it is that they chose to do. Exercise becomes a chore not a pleasure. So do yourself a favor and choose something you enjoy doing and you will be more likely to stick with it.
Equally important, don’t start exercising for the sole purpose of achieving a slimmer waistline, smaller hips and thighs or a flat belly. Most people who begin an exercise program do so with weight loss or a similar goal in mind. While an admirable goal, if results don’t come quick enough – after all we are a “microwave society” – many people jump ship. Try to make your goals less about a physical change and more about a physical accomplishment. Set goals that will motivate you and keep you going. Make feeling good your goal. Exercise for the sake of exercising and you are more likely to enjoy it, stick with it and the results will follow!
Another way to ignite your passion for exercise, don’t go it alone. Research shows that individuals who have an exercise partner are more likely to stick to an exercise program. Join a class at the gym; find a local walking or running group; join a fitness forum with like-minded individuals; join a check-in or enter a fitness challenge for accountability.
The more you exercise, the more you will begin to love it. Here are some other suggsetions to keep you motivated. Do you like to exercise? Have you always enjoyed exercise? What tips or tricks do you have to help others enjoy exercise?