Day 13 – Loving Exercise

women exercising together

After the talk we had yesterday, about the various benefits of exercising, today will be all about LOVING to exercise.

We all have different things that motivate us to do something, but there’s no better motivator than loving what you do and enjoying it – so, although you have probably already found something that you like about physical activity, now we’re going to focus on how you can expand that feeling and truly accept it as a part of who you are.

We’ll list a few ways you can reflect upon, and what you need to do is to think hard about each of them, and see how much they resonate with you personally. Probably many of them will, so don’t skip or discard any – the more ways to enjoy exercising you discover, the faster and easier you will adopt the routine. Ready?

Make It Fun

If you aren’t feeling comfortable when you think about exercises because the first thing that comes to your mind is gym – then it’s the gym you don’t like, not the physical activity. The good news: remember when we recommended walking? It’s a physical activity as well, and so are: running, swimming, climbing, riding a bicycle…

It’s perfectly all right if you don’t want to go anywhere near the gym – there are many other things you can do. Make a list of all sports or outdoor activities (you can use Google to help you) and see what appeals to you the most.

Take Advantage of Any External Pressure to Exercise You Can Think Of

dog with a leash in mouth ready for a walk

If you have a dog, don’t turn your head away from the leash in his mouth and the look he’s giving you (if you don’t have a dog, here’s a good reason to get one). If you can afford it, find a strict personal trainer or get enrolled in a boot camp where everyone will notice if you skip a class; persuade a friend who hates exercising to go to the gym with you, and you won’t dare to fail to meet him there.

Now, this one is only for the hard core exercise haters – the external motivators should only come as a first step with the ultimate goal to develop your internal motivation, something that makes you enjoy exercising – which brings us to…

Forget about Weight Loss

Yes, we said it. Weight loss, or even health, as motivators are either too long term or too vague goals. If you focus on losing weight, it will be weeks or months before you see any significant results; exercises for weight loss can’t give you an instant fix, and that’s why most people see them as a chore that gets them nowhere and only “eats their time”, not to mention the “must do” mindset that we are trying to change here.

We are humans after all, and we need to get something out of every single run or spinning class we take in order to keep doing it.

So instead, find out what motivates you personally here and now: every time you’re exercising, get into “the flow” – try to live in that moment, feel it with all of your body, and allow yourself to enjoy it, it’s only a matter of perspective shift which you can make. Exercising makes your brain release endorphin, the happiness hormone, and all you have to do is let yourself feel happy. Then, the next time your exercise time is coming, get into that emotional state and, instead of looking at it as a drag, you will be looking forward to it.

Monitor Your Improvement

Your goal is to develop a real passion for exercise, and, as passion comes from achieving positive reinforcement, you should learn to always progress (adopt exercise at a pace that is only somewhat uncomfortable, and when it becomes comfortable, move on to the next challenge) and to monitor improvements in your own performance.

For example, if you could run only 5 miles last week, running 7 or 10 this week is something that will make you feel good about yourself, which will then make you try harder and endure more, because you will have a clear image of the progress you made.

Enjoy the Changes

Regular exercising will – and this is a fact – make some changes to your body. After only a few weeks you will be able to notice that you have lost some weight, gained and defined some muscles, that you’re more flexible. Your posture will improve fast, walking will become easier and probably faster, you will be less stiff in the morning… basically, every activity that you do will be easier and more enjoyable. So pay attention to the changes to your body, become aware of them. Feeling proud of yourself is another great motivator.

You know, the people who really continue to exercise and live an active life (and live longer) are those who love exercising, not those who keep seeing it as “not something I’m good at but I have to do it anyway” kind of thing, so work on becoming an exercise-lover.
Tomorrow we will expand on this and talk about pushing your boundaries!