Have you noticed that it seems like the whole world is on an exercise kick these days? There are new kinds of aerobics classes popping up everywhere, and everyone seems to be wearing some kind of activity tracker. Everyone’s very excited about it all – everyone but you.
You’ve tried. You really have. But you still hate working out. What’s a couch potato supposed to do in a world gone exercise crazy?
We’re not going to lecture you on the necessity of exercise. You know you need exercise, your doctor told you to exercise, and you’ve gotten plenty of lectures from your tracker-wearing friends and co-workers. Instead, we’re offering you eight steps to help you find exercise you actually enjoy.
- Figure out what you hate. The general school of thought tends to be “just do it.” That’s fine and good, but it’s not happening. So think about what you hate about exercise. Is it the gym? The time? Working out alone, or in a crowd? The sweat? Once you know what you hate, it’s easier to find what you love.
- Change your mindset. No one likes to be told they have to do something. Instead, think “I’m choosing not to have osteoporosis” or “I’m avoiding heart disease.” Putting the focus on what you’re gaining, rather than the part you hate, keeps the goal in sight.
- Forget the gym. Redefine what you think of as exercise. Dance classes count, and most studios don’t even require you have a partner. Golf counts, so long as you don’t use a cart. Even housecleaning counts, if you’ll keep moving.
- Try a new class. One of the best things about all these new classes popping up is that you have more options to choose from. From barre to Zumba, high-intensity training to yoga, there are a ton of classes for every interest and every fitness level.
- Walk the dog. Every single day, twice a day. Walk 15 minutes out, and turn around and come back. Or circle the block twice, morning and evening. Your dog needs to go out, and could use the exercise, too, so don’t just open the back door and let him into the yard. Don’t have a dog? Pretend you do, every single day, twice a day. It’s just as easy and there’s less poop to pick up.
- Don’t worry about form. It doesn’t matter if you’re uncoordinated, or slouch when you try to do a push-up. So long as you aren’t actually injuring yourself, you don’t have to wait until you have perfect form – or know the choreography, or can lift the “right” amount, or look a certain way – in order to work out. A bad push up is better than no push up. Do just one before each meal for a week. Then, 2, 3 and so on. Your strength will start improving exponentially.
- Embrace distraction. Work out during your favorite television show. You’re going to watch it anyway. Put the time to good use by putting the treadmill or stationary bike in front of the TV. Even march in place or shadow box if space is an issue. Fall into the story and forget what your body’s doing.
- Focus on activity, rather than exercise. Sure, ideally, you’ll get 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. For now, though, anything is better than nothing. So instead of putting pressure on yourself to participate in scheduled, organized exercise, focus more on being active. Go ahead and get yourself a tracker, or even an old fashioned pedometer, and shoot for 10,000 steps every day, with or without breaking a sweat.
It’s okay to hate exercise, once you know your way around it. The next time the subject of exercise comes up, you don’t have to hide. Chime in, and talk about your new love of exercising your way.