“I hate it.”
The benefits of exercise are well established. It affects your physical health, mental functioning, mood, etc., etc. Most of us know we should be doing it, but many are not. Why? We can come up with excuses like, “I don’t have time”, “I don’t have anywhere to do it”, “I don’t have the right equipment”, blah, blah. But most frequently it boils down to something else. Recently a client summed it up nicely, “I hate formal exercise.”
Why do so many people hate exercise? You know I’m going to tell you they have the wrong rhythms, but what are they?
Here’s why you might hate exercise and what to do about it.
Mind Rhythms: You’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
Often we start to exercise, or think we should start, because we are moving away from something painful or negative. Here are some examples.
- I need to lose weight.
- My doctor says I should.
- I have to look good in this dress by the reunion
- I hate the way I look.
- I have to get in shape or lose my job.
- I’m tired of feeling guilty that I’m not doing it.
Our perception determines our experience of reality. If you go into it with attitudes like these is it any wonder that you hate it and don’t keep it up? You’re not doing it because you want to, you’re doing it because you think you have to. Which of the two is the greater motivator?
So then, what if you did it because you were moving towards something positive? Compare these examples to the previous list.
- I deserve to feel good.
- I want to operate at my optimal levels.
- I love the way I look and feel afterwards.
- It’s my way of finding peace and focus.
- I feel like I’m achieving something.
- I enjoy the activities I’m participating in.
These have a different energy and feel, don’t they? How you look at exercise makes all the difference in the world. Simply put, the “why” matters.
Speaking of why, the last example on the positive list brings us to…
Action Rhythms: You’re doing it in the wrong way.
Chances are, if you don’t like exercise you’re simply not doing something you enjoy doing. (Duh, right?) You don’t have to be doing Tabatas, plyo, HIIT, or bodybuilding to get the benefits of exercise. Just because I like burpees and throwing down with martial arts experts (okay, maybe I’m weird) doesn’t mean you have to.
It all starts with simply finding an activity that gets your body moving. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Take a walk
- Put on some music and dance
- Row on the lake
- Hop on a horse
- Throw on some rollerblades and hit a path
- Hit a ball around the tennis court
- Play soccer – pick-up game or recreational league
- Get in a few laps at the pool
- Try Tai Chi or yoga
- Play ping pong (okay, table tennis)
- Climb – in the gym or the great outdoors
- Spend some time in the garden
- LARP (if you have to ask what it is maybe you should find out and try it)
- Go geocaching
- Go bowling
- Goof around with the kids
- Coach a youth sports team
- Play on the playground (hey, adults like to play too)
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Find something you enjoy and do it. Make it a part of your daily or weekly rhythm. Do it not because you have to but because you want to. Find a positive “why” that works for you and run with it. (Unintentional pun, but it works.)