Make Exercise Fun Again

Finding Exercise you Love

I think it’s safe to say everyone knows that exercise is a key component to good health and wellness. We know we should exercise but it can be hard to motivate ourselves to do it. When you hear the word exercise what do you envision? Is it boot camp style with someone yelling for you to do push-ups, burpees, and run sprints? Maybe that’s why exercise has become a bad word. Exercise doesn’t have to be an exhausting painful experience. The key to making exercise a habit is finding exercise you love or at least like.

If you suffer from an autoimmune disease or your weight makes movement painful, it might be better to address your nutrition and sleep first. You can’t exercise away a poor diet. Once your nutrition and sleep are better, you can add in exercise. Start with slow and gentle exercise.

Exercise can be a blessing instead of a chore. Be grateful for what your body can do.

Why Exercise

When you want to create a habit, the first step is to know why you want to. Why do you want to start exercising? When you don’t feel like it, you need to have that why ingrained in you so you do it anyway. The motivational speaker Mel Robbins has a hashtag of #doitanyway. She counts down 54321 and does what she knows she wants to do. Counting down gives her space to get rid of the excuses. She thinks about how great she’ll feel after the exercise is over.

Over the years, I have become one of those crazy people who loves exercise. Not the boot camp, heavy weight lifting exercise.

My reasons for exercising are
1. To be healthier
2. Make life easier- stronger muscles & bones and better breathing means I’m ready for any adventure that comes my way.
3. Better sleep
4. More energy- Even when I’m tired and exercise, I feel better after it.
5. Self-care- it’s something I do for me
6. Stress reliever- Getting my mind focused on my exercise instead of my stress with my blood pumping is the best stress reliever I know.

Finding your exercise style

Figuring out exercise that you like or love or at least don’t hate is important to creating your habit. Think about what you did as a kid to play. Did you play any sports, or did you wish you had? What have you enjoyed in the past?

I was on drill team and loved to dance. Over the years, aerobics (hello 80’s), jazzercise, and Zumba have filled that role for me. I love dancing to the loud music with a class full of people. I have to be in the moment so I’m moving with those beside me. In my head, I can be a dancing queen. I get energy from the music. I get energy from the group. I get energy from getting out of my comfort zone and trying new moves.

Brady was a high school athlete. He loved football, baseball and especially basketball. Playing pick up games of basketball at the gym doesn’t seem like he’s exercising. It’s a game. He’s gotten his heart rate up, sweat a ton, been in the moment, and gotten stronger.

Start with one type of exercise that you like. Is it a game? Is it dancing? Is it walking outside? Is it riding bikes? Once you make it a habit, you can start adding other styles. I like to switch up my workouts to keep it from getting boring. I love being a member of a gym where there are lots of options of classes to take. There are endless possibilities for exercise. Your local gym, your community center, the YMCA, or even YouTube in the privacy of your home. Do your research and find something you want to try.

Exercise Ideas

If you need ideas:
1. Zumba/ Jazzercise
2. Walking / Running
3. Strength training
4. Kickboxing class
5. Yoga
6. Pilates
7. Biking
8. Basketball
9. Tennis
10. Racquetball /Handball
11. Swimming
12. Water Aerobics

Some of my favorite YouTube workouts are
1. Blogilates There are tons of workouts that are 15 minutes are less and Cassey Ho is super positive instructor.
2. Pop Sugar Fitness  This channel has a variety of styles. It’s fun to try different types of workouts.
3.  Yoga with Adriene Adriene has yoga videos for any level.

Start Small

Every year I see the gym full of people in January and by the 3rd week it’s back to normal. New Years Resolutions to work out often don’t last. I think most people start out too strong that it’s hard to maintain.

Have you been all gung-ho to exercise and tried to go from 0-100? Jumping all in can make you super sore. It takes you time to recover then makes you question if you want to do it again.

I think a better way to start is to gradually get moving. Set some micro-goals. Try exercising for 10-15 minutes at a time. It still beats no exercise and helps you to create a habit. It also takes away the excuse that you don’t have time.
In 15 minutes, you can have dance party for one in your bedroom. You can shoot hoops in the driveway. You can walk around the block. You could do some squats, pushups, and sit ups.

As this becomes a habit, notice the progress in how you feel. Focusing on the benefits will help you increase that time. You might start to crave that feeling after a work out is done. There is a feeling of accomplishment that you kept the commitment to yourself. You feel stronger. You feel less stressed.

You don’t have to go fast. You just have to go!

Find a workout partner

Hustle for the Muscle

Staying the course is always easier when you have someone to keep you accountable. I love seeing my gym friends when I go to group classes. I do a lot better getting to the gym before work when Brady and I go together. Why is it that we cancel on ourselves a lot easier than canceling on a friend? When your starting out use this to your advantage. Walk in the neighborhood with a friend. Meet someone at the gym to play a game. You don’t want to disappoint them, so you have more motivation to go.

It’s more fun with someone. I get energy from working out with other people. The days I don’t feel as motivated they push me to do more. I use peer pressure to my advantage! I also like to compare soreness with someone the next day. It’s like a badge of honor that we did the workout and got stronger together.

If it’s been a while since your last workout, I encourage you to just start. Start slow, start fun, but just start. I believe you can do it! The big question is do YOU believe you can do it?

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