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Battle of the Bored: Making Exercise Enjoyable

We all know that the keys to a healthy lifestyle are eating right and staying active.

Maybe you love eating right, but what do you do if you hate exercising? Fear not. You have options even if you hate hitting the treadmill or picking up some weights.

Get Your Mind Right

OK, so you hate exercise. No big deal. But rather than simply list activities you may really enjoy, let’s first take a look at some the reasons you may hate busting a move.

Focusing on Weight Loss—Dropping some pounds may seem like a powerful motivator to get active, but the opposite may in fact be true. Research has shown that individuals who exercise to feel better or reduce stress are more likely to stick to their workout plans.

Making the Wrong Choice—Just like a healthy diet, a workout plan should be tailored to your physiological or mental needs. Adhering to mass-marketed workout plans might seem like a step in the right direction when, in fact, you might be setting yourself up for failure.

Overdoing It—You usually only hear the word “moderation” used in reference to bad things, like alcohol, fatty foods, or chocolate. In the case of exercise, however, too much can actually have an adverse impact on your mental and physical health—especially if you’re transitioning into a more active state. Too much exercise too soon can leave you disenchanted and frustrated.

Making the Moves

Before you start working out, you may think you have to “learn to like exercise.” Not so fast. Instead of incorporating displeasurable activities into your life, adopting an exercise regimen should involve combining some things you already enjoy with the activities that will make you healthier.

And, just as with diet, there is no one-size-fits-all workout plan that will do this. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to lay out a list of exercises that will make all people healthy and more importantly happy.

That being said, there are things you can do to find what exercises work for you. Try these tips:

Start Small—Look for smaller, easy-to-implement changes you can make in your everyday life. Got a dog? Take him or her for a longer walk. Or try bonding with the family by taking a stroll around the neighborhood. Doing so will reinforce these healthy activities and they will become habit before you know it. Getting outside is a great motivator to mix things up and to get moving again.

Talk to Your Doc—Have an honest conversation with your physician prior to getting active. He or she may have recommendations on exercises specific to your health state, which may be more enjoyable and effective.

Team Up—You’re not alone in your efforts to get healthier. Find a friend or family member who is interested in getting active and work together. Go hiking, join a class, take a walk and chat. Holding one another accountable can make certain you don’t give up, and sharing your progress can be a lot of fun!