But the fact is exercise is vital for your overall health and well-being. It helps minimize your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Additionally, new research shows that regular exercise saves four million lives each year and can help you live longer. So even if you hate it, it’s worth finding a way to learn to love moving. Here’s how to find pleasure in exercising if it doesn’t naturally arouse such feelings.
1. Fake it until you make it
Although lying isn’t usually the answer, in this case go for it. “I lied to myself for years”, physical trainer Katie Austin said. “Tell yourself that you will only move your body for 5 to 10 minutes. After that, if you feel good, keep going, and if not, at least you tried. Either way, when the timer goes off, you’ll feel better just trying.
2. Set a schedule and stick to it
If you are someone who likes routine, this trick may just help you enjoy the exercise more since you will have something to look forward to. “Most of the time people hate their workouts because they don’t really know what they’re doing. A plan is key,” says Austin. “When I’m not feeling particularly motivated during the week, I put my workouts on my calendar so I can schedule them.”
3. Take out your gym clothes the night before
It’s another one of Austin’s favorite moves to get excited about exercising, and she’s not the only one who finds it effective. A 2018 study of 2,000 people who regularly attend gyms found that nine out of 10 respondents agreed that put on your sports clothes has helped them feel motivated to train when they’re not feeling up to it.
4. Don’t do exercises you don’t like
It may seem obvious, but thanks to the “no pain, no gain” mentality that has permeated fitness culture for so long, many people still feel that exercise has to be punitive to be effective, and that is simply not true. You are more likely to stick with the fitness routine long term if you find something you enjoy doing in the first place.
5. Turn your movement practice into a gratitude practice
“When you change the perspective of training to feel good, everything changes — it’s a mindset,” says Austin. Try changing your thought process to “I have to practice” and “I can move my body” instead of “I have to.” Being able to feel gratitude improves our overall happiness, according to science.