Let’s be honest, if we are carrying a few, or even a lot of extra weight it is because we are eating too much and not moving enough. And, now let’s get really honest. We see all the photos of people loving exercise like above, and we hear people talk about the ‘runners high’ or the post exercise endorphin rush. But the reality for you is that you don’t enjoy exercise that much, and that ‘runners high’ seems a bit kookoo to you!
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Research suggests that part of the reason we don’t enjoy exercise is because of the way we think about it. Many women exercise primarily to lose weight, which leads to a vicious cycle of using exercise as a punishment. So rather than looking to enjoy exercise, many of us view it as a price to pay for other actions, such as overeating!
If that is the case, do you really think you’ll keep exercise up over the long term. Do you really think you’ll make lasting changes to your lifestyle? At Active8me, we’re passionate about you embracing healthy, active living – not because you have to, but because you want to!
So then, how can you learn to enjoy exercise?
1.Make it routine
It sounds counterintuitive that making something ‘routine’ can actually lead to enjoyment. But we are creatures of habit and feel most content when life flows along easily. It’s the path of least resistance. You already know the benefits of regular exercise, so to make it a regular routine, schedule it in and make it a part of your day. By creating a habit of healthy living, you will enjoy exercise for both the physical and mental benefits. Trust us – this is true. Because when you finish a workout you don’t just feel better – you feel better about yourself!
Tip – Habits require cues, time and consistency. Get out your diary and schedule your workout for the next two weeks. Use an alarm or lay out your workout gear as a cue that you will ‘automatically’ think its exercise day!
2. Support and commitment make you enjoy exercise
Have you ever noticed that if you are accountable to someone else, you try a little harder? Whether you are meeting up with someone or delivering on a promise, when you make a commitment you are more likely to follow through. This ticks the little achievement box in your head, and that, in turn, gives you an endorphin rush, sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. Apart from improving your motivation to exercise, you then begin to associate exercise with socialising which changes your perspective from chore to fun. Win!
3. Get out of your comfort zone
Don’t dread the thought of the treadmill. Experiment with a variety of exercise. Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be for pure exercise sake, and it doesn’t have to come in one way, shape or form. Consider joining a team. Try a new sport. Do an adventure race. Try a dance class. Go rock-climbing. Try aerial yoga. Join a runner’s group or enter a race. Get out of your comfort zone and shift your focus of exercise to participation or team work.
Tip – Create your own exercise challenge among friends. Move for 20min per day for a month. You can do this in any way possible – swim, cycle, run, dance, walk, climb stairs…
4. Let yourself enjoy it
Your preconceived ideas of why and what you can get from exercise may be holding you back. Do you view exercise as a chore and as purely a means to an end? Yes, it’s true, it isn’t always easy, comfortable or instantly gratifying. But, if you try looking at exercise as a process to ‘jump start’ you to an active lifestyle then your relationship with exercise and your ability to stick to a fitness plan will improve.
Be the boss of your thoughts. Consider exercise as your own conscious, empowered choice. Something you want to do – for the endorphins, the self-pride, the self-confidence, the stress outlet, the me-time and so on. A choice that you’ve made to look and feel better. Forever.
Tip – Try a 2-minute visualisation exercise before you get into the physical stuff. Visualise yourself during a workout – you feel strong; you’re smiling; you experience a sense of satisfaction and achievement; you’re proud of yourself; and you enjoyed the exercise.
Music before and during exercise can help motivate you to get moving and really amp up your ability to enjoy exercise. The rhythm, beat, harmony and your associations with music feed into your motivational drive. That then affects your level of arousal, the perception of how hard you are working and finally your mood. Put simply, research shows that there’s no doubt that music can have a positive and motivating effect on how you exercise and ultimately how you’re feeling while you’re exercising. Cue the music to enjoy exercise!
Tip – Do an Active8me workout. The high intensity exercise and high tempo music will motivate you and take your enjoyment levels up a notch.
6. Appreciate small steps
Change happens in smaller steps than we realise. So, stop expecting to get that ‘runners high’ from exercise every single time you move. Stop thinking that you will enjoy every single workout. Just like in life, we don’t automatically love a lot of things – we grow to enjoy them. For example, think about certain foods that you never liked as a child but can’t get enough of now…it is the same for exercise. Take small steps that add up and find small elements that you enjoy and build from there.
Tip – Reward yourself with positive words, a massage or new workout gear for completing exercise on a regular basis. This positive recognition will have you looking forward to your workout and help you enjoy exercise!
So what’s the No. 1 mind trick for Losing Weight – Learn to enjoy exercise!
Your ability to successfully enjoy exercise is dependent on the way you think about it. Your mindset can unlock your enjoyment. It’s why we focus not just on exercise or nutrition, but also on Mindset – which includes fun. Find an Active8me program that suits your needs today.