This is the question that popped up on my personal Facebook feed. It was from a former co-worker who is a busy mom with two kids… and she sounded frustrated. I thought about chiming in to give her some encouragement, but a quick Facebook response didn’t feel appropriate.
It didn’t feel appropriate because I saw that others had tried. And while their efforts were well intentioned, it didn’t make her feel any better.
4 Ways to Make Exercise Enjoyable
Those who offered encouragement said that she would feel better after her workout was done, but she shared that it wasn’t the case for her. I’m paraphrasing a bit here, but she responded that she would sweat up a storm, feel like crap and still didn’t fit into her clothes.
So why should she exercise if that was the result? Because exercise doesn’t have to be a form of torture and ideally it’s not something that causes you negative stress. If it does, it might be time to try a new approach. So below, I did my best to offer 4 ideas that I think can make fitness more enjoyable for all of us!
Think Of It As An Opportunity to Play
It may sound silly, butI actually don’t like the words exercise or workout. I feel like those words have negative connotations for so many. It’s really about movement. And in my opinion, movement is a form of play. So rather than doing a workout that you hate, but feel like you “should” be doing, try to move more. Think about what you liked to do as a kid. Did you like to dance, skip, swim, walk, run, bike, jump rope, climb, etc? Add more of that into your day!
If that doesn’t help, try something new and play with new ways of moving in order to discover what makes you feel good, healthy and strong. If all else fails, take some time to put on your favorite tunes and have a dance party!!
Take a Growth Oriented Approach
In the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, she discusses a growth oriented mindset. “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
Personally, I find this useful when thinking about fitness. I’ve been in the position where I was FAR from where I wanted to be in terms of my fitness level. It can be so frustrating! But rather than getting down on my abilities, I try to remind myself that it’s about the process. It’s a journey that will most certainly have some good and bad days.
I feel this requires a significant amount of love and patience. It’s not easy to accept yourself where you are now. A useful mantra may be…. “I’m on my way!” or “One step at a time”.
Focus On How You Want to Feel
I think this is especially important! Consider the motivation behind your choices when it comes to fitness. Do you think about how you want to feel in your body? Or do you focus on what you want to look like? While many of us may do both, I would encourage you to focus more on how you want to feel.
Exercise will feel like torture when you’re doing it to fit into a smaller jean size. But if you choose to exercise and move your body in order to feel energized, strong, limber, agile and confident in your skin, it takes on a new meaning and becomes a form of self-care.
Make It a Part Of Your Lifestyle
We all have errands to run and tv shows or podcast we want to catch up on. Not to mention friends we want to see. It’s wonderful when we can schedule our time to be fit and/or visit with friends, run errands, listen to a book or podcast or even watch tv.
A great way to connect with others is by taking a class or by scheduling time for a walk, run or bike ride with a friend. It’s so much better than catching up on the phone! I love to catch up with my boyfriend by taking a walk in the neighborhood at the end of the day.
Need to go grocery shopping for a few items? Hop on your bike or walk over with a backpack. If that’s not an option, you may be able to bike, run or row while you listen to you favorite podcasts or watch your favorite guilty pleasure tv show.
Feel Good – Look Good
If what you’re doing right now to feel healthy – feels crappy, it’s time to try a new approach. While it may not always be easy, living a healthy lifestyle should feel good! Please try to remember that we all have days where we can get down on ourselves. But if you find that you’re having a hard time getting into a fitness routine, consider trying one of the above tips.
What about You?
What do you do to make fitness a part of your lifestyle? How do you make it fun? I’d love to hear about it!