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Do you hate to exercise?

Does the word exercise make you cringe?  Does it immediately bring thoughts of blood, sweat and tears?  I know that it can definitely be a word that we associate with some rather unpleasant feelings and memories. 

What does exercise mean to you?  Is it hours of grueling work on a treadmill, perhaps military calisthenics done under an imposing fitness trainer named Sven?  Maybe just the connotation of the word exercise is enough to dissuade you.   

Before we go any further let me ask you one question.  What activities do you like to do?  The key word is ‘active’.  Channel surfing is not really surfing.  Try some brainstorming.  Think of the things you did when you were a kid that were just for fun.  Frisbee, tag, hide and seek, swimming, skipping, cycling, skating, rollerblading (okay roller skating for us dinosaurs) and so on.  Since when did these ‘fun’ activities become exercise?  Since we attached the word exercise to them and we were told that we needed to exercise so that we wouldn’t have heart attacks in our 40’s or succumb to type two diabetes in our 50’s.  As soon as we are told we must do something, it becomes work and we attach it with negativity.

Do you equate cardio with structured workouts on a treadmill in a gym?  Why?  If you like treadmills, then this is a very effective way to achieve cardio goals.  If you hate treadmills why would you want to subject yourself to hours and hours of doing an activity that you hate?  Would this motivate you to come to the gym?  If you like coming to the gym but the treadmill is your arch enemy, step out of your box and try some different machines or activities. 

Do you hate strength training?  Lots of people do and for a variety of reasons.  If you simply don’t like it because you don’t know what you’re doing, hire a trainer and get some direction.  Have you ever considered push ups, squats, lunges and pull ups as strength exercises?  They are and they can be done almost anywhere.

Find a facility that you actually like!  If you like your club and the people in the club you will probably like exercising there.  If you have tried and you just really don’t like gyms, don’t give up on fitness – just re-think what successful exercise looks like for you.  Try dancing, team sports, walking outside, working out in your home, swimming or yoga.  All of these activities can be beneficial to your health.  The treadmill is not your only choice!

If you like exercising to a video in your home by yourself, that’s great!  If you like taking fitness classes, go for it.  If you like running on the beach with your dog, have at er.

Maybe it’s not exercise you hate – maybe it’s the time of day that you are working out.  Try different times to see if you are a morning exerciser or if you have better energy levels later in the afternoon or even after supper.

Keep your workouts to a reasonable time limit.  A lot of people start to hate exercising because they see it as this huge chunk of their day eaten up.  Even short bouts of exercise are very beneficial.  Every workout does not have to be an ordeal! 

Don’t hate exercise.  Hate the activity if you must, but explore different avenues that may have never been considered as exercise.  If it enhances your health, elevates your heart rate, and/or keeps you strong – it’s exercise!  Life is too short to spend your precious time on something you don’t enjoy.  Maybe I should stop vacuuming.

Nina Heyes


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