Many people actively avoid exercising or working out because it’s uncomfortable or because they don’t like it – but they’re missing out on immense benefits. People who exercise regularly are less stressed, less susceptible to various conditions and illnesses, and much more likely to live a longer and happier life.
If you genuinely feel like you don’t like exercising, rest easy. Many people feel this at some point in their lives. But with the right positive changes and strategies for the future, you can reshape your mentality and learn to love exercise.
You Should Enjoy Working Out
Working out shouldn’t be a chore – at least, not entirely. There are elements of working out that should be difficult by design; for example, at some point, you should be out of breath and sweating because of how hard you’re working. But that doesn’t mean the entire experience should feel agonizing.
If you actively enjoy working out, you’ll be more likely to do it consistently. You’ll feel better going into your exercise and coming out of it, and the entire quality of your life is going to improve. It may take a bit of effort to get to a place where you do enjoy working out, but you can get there.
Important Changes to Make
If you want to enjoy exercise more, these are some of the most important changes you’ll need to make.
- Hire a personal trainer. One option is to hire a personal trainer. This may or may not be in your budget, but if you can afford it, you should try it. Working with a personal trainer allows you to build a bond with another individual, strengthening your connection to working out and making you feel better as you go through the motions. Personal trainers can also help you identify and overcome the internal challenges preventing you from getting the most out of your exercise routine. They can also introduce you to many new exercises you may not have considered on your own.
- Try a different gym (or build your own). If you hate working out because you hate your gym, try a different gym. A different environment can immediately make you feel more connected to your exercise and ameliorate some of the annoyances that keep you from enjoying working out. Different gyms may have a different selection of equipment, different types of people who attend, and different amounts of space that you can work with. If none of the gyms in your area is acceptable, consider building a home gym with your own equipment.
- Experiment with different exercises. There are hundreds of worthwhile exercises you can try, dozens of which you can do in the comfort of your own home. If you don’t like running, try swimming. If you don’t like conventional barbell bench presses, try dumbbells or a machine. There are thousands of different ways to work out, and almost all of them are beneficial, so keep experimenting until you find something you like.
- Vary your routine. Even if you have a set of exercises that you personally enjoy, try not to do them all the time. Doing the same exercises in the same order every day, or every week, will eventually lead you to feelings of burnout. That’s why it’s important to vary your routine on a regular basis, swapping out old exercises and swapping in new ones.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. Reassess how you talk to yourself about working out. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to work out or making yourself feel guilty for not exercising, treat yourself with more compassion.
- Set smaller, more achievable goals. Don’t try to overload yourself with ambitious goals or impossible expectations. If you’re only focused on losing 100 pounds or setting a new personal weightlifting record every time you go to the gym, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Instead, set smaller and more achievable goals. What can you reasonably accomplish today?
- Enlist the help of friends and social groups. Friends make exercise both easier and more enjoyable. They’ll help you stay accountable to your goals and provide you with support on your toughest days.
- Reframe how you see working out. Try to see exercise as an optional way of treating yourself to something positive. This can be a hard mental transition to undertake, especially if you have a troubled relationship with exercise in the past. But if you can do it, you can learn to see exercise in a whole new light.
Different people struggle with working out for different reasons. Some people don’t like the idea of physical activity, while others feel embarrassed or nervous working out in front of others. It’s a good idea to reflect and determine the root causes for your dislike of working out before you attempt any of these strategies. If you do that, and you actively work to change your mentality, you can get to a place where exercise is enjoyable – or at least tolerable.
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