How To Exercise When You Don’t Like Exercise
I don’t think there’s any argument that exercise is good for you.
I’m grateful that I’m someone who enjoys exercise and definitely feels the effects of not being able to work at full capacity for two months. I enjoy trying new ways to sweat and I’ve made it part of my career by working as a personal trainer. I have lots of friends who are either instructors or passionate about fitness themselves, so surrounding myself around them sometimes gives me the warped view that everyone LOVES FITNESS.
I had the idea for this post after hearing twice in one day that some people simply don’t like exercise. One was from a client who told me that he liked me, but still didn’t like exercising with me. The other was from my husband who, despite having access to a fitness center in our Chicago building, simply wasn’t able to go downstairs and use it.
Since I crave and enjoy exercise, it’s sometimes hard for me to comprehend what people WOULDN’T like about it. For those people, these tips are for you.
Sometimes, the more steps it takes to work out, the easier it is to become dissuaded. Signing up for a gym membership away from your house means that you will either have to walk or take some sort of transportation to get there. If the weather is less than ideal or you don’t have the extra commute time to get there one day, the likelihood of making the trip decreases.
While I had to wear my boot for my stress fracture, I cut back exercising to about two days a week. I could have kept it higher by doing low impact workouts like swimming, but for me the thought of putting on a suit, cap, goggles, showering, then being left with everything wet stressed me out too much and swimming lost all its appeal. This is with an indoor pool in my building.
For people who don’t like exercise, keep obstacles at a minimum. The best way to do that is to set up a home gym or at least have some equipment in your home so that there’s no excuse. There are tons of resources for workouts you can do at home as well as online videos to guide you through a routine right in your living room.
Find something you like (or tolerate)
A lot of fitness advice says that the workout you will continue to do will be one you like, and it’s true. For those who don’t like anything, however, this can be tricky. In those cases I’d say go with the workout you hate the least so that it’s still somewhat tolerable. 🙂
Set small goals
If you don’t like exercise, the thought of jumping on a treadmill for 30 minutes or suddenly working out five days a week sounds horrible. Just like anyone starting out on an exercise journey, it’s important to keep your goals small and expectations reasonable.
Set small goals such as walking on a treadmill on an incline for 5 or 10 minutes. Try to work out once a week. As you start to make it more of a habit, increase your duration and the number of times you are active during the week. Focus on what you can do right now and not what you think you should do.
Find your why
For me, sometimes when I think about exercise as something I should do, it’s not as enjoyable. It feels like a chore — a part of getting older. I like to think about exercise as something I GET to do, a fact that I’m more easily reminded of when I can’t due to an injury. I think about the fact that I’m getting stronger and I can do more than I could a month previously. I think about it as something that will help keep me in good health.
Everyone’s “why” is different, but try and think about a reason that motivates you rather than disincentives you.
Even for people who enjoy exercise, sometimes the hardest part is just starting. There are some days when I wake up early and don’t want to get out of bed for a 6 am workout. Some days I listen, but most days I wait a couple minutes and then get myself out of bed. There has never been a workout that I’ve regretted getting up and doing.
This is the case with at least one of my clients. He is able to do all the moves and doesn’t technically need me with him to exercise, but is self-aware enough to know that without hiring me as a trainer and having a monetary accountability factor, he simply won’t do it on his own.
There’s no shame in understanding that you’re not going to be motivated enough to work out on your own. If you need to hire a trainer just so that you can get yourself moving, by all means do!