13 Tips to Actually Enjoy Exercising

A lot of people complain about not having enough time to stay in shape. Are you one of them? Does exercise always get bumped to the bottom of your list of things to do? The problem may have nothing to do with time – it might just be that you hate exercise...

If that’s the case, some of these tips may be just what you need to change your attitude, and in return, exercise might just change your whole life. For the full list of all 13 tips, see the Lifehack link below, but here are a few good ones:

  • Tune Your Challenge Level – Don’t start out by running until you’re winded and dry-heaving into a ditch, and don’t just mess around in the gym without doing anything strenuous at all. Instead, make it your goal to set a workout routine that is challenging, but not overwhelming. Challenge is key to enjoyment.

  • Set Goals – Don‘t just set weight-loss or muscle gain goals, set fitness goals. Set goals to beat your past records in distance, push-ups, or chin-ups you can do, weight you can lift, or degree you can stretch. Make it a game where you strive to beat your previous high-score.

  • Music – This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but music can enhance a workout, making it far more enjoyable and less like “work.”

  • Short Workouts – Don’t have time or enthusiasm to last an hour? Just go for twenty or thirty minutes. Shorter, but higher-intensity workouts can be better than longer ones and you can become more focused as a result.

  • Make Exercise Your Stress Relief – Many swear by using the gym to relieve stress. Exercising can be cathartic and release negative feelings if you get used to using it that way. Then instead of avoiding the gym because of a stressful day, it will be your reason to go.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Figuring out what type of exercise you actually enjoy doing is the best way to get yourself into a regular exercise routine – the last thing anyone wants to add to an already stressful day is yet another dreaded, no-fun activity. 

And, the great news is it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time!  

In fact, one of the most effective forms of exercise is short bursts of high-level exertion, followed by periods of rest. This is also the best form of exercise to strengthen and protect your heart. 

The main problems with long-duration, aerobic exercise is that: 

  1. It can actually encourage your body to store fat under certain circumstances
  2. And, if you aren’t careful and use other methods of training, you can actually shrink your heart and lungs, rather than boosting their performance 

One of my favorite sources for practical exercise assistance is Ryan Lee. I began supplementing my own cardio workouts with his four-minute exercise program a while back, with impressive results. The only caution I would give you is that you must start out slow. Although some of his exercises seem deceptively easy, don’t make the mistake I did and do the entire four minutes with a significant weight. Start with a very small weight and only do it for one minute. 

This could save you much pain and muscle soreness. Progress slowly and in no time you will be up to the full four minutes, shaving hours a week from your workout regimen and getting healthier than when you were doing aerobics for five hours a week. 

The trend in exercise is indeed leaning toward developing regimens where you use burst-type workouts, which will give you anaerobic challenges that can stimulate your body to higher levels of health, in shorter amounts of time. 

As you experiment to find the exercise that you enjoy doing on a regular basis, keep in mind these three variables: 

  1. Length of time
  2. Frequency
  3. Intensity 

To make sure the intensity is high enough (without going overboard for your current level of fitness), exercise to the point that it’s difficult – but not impossible – to talk to someone next to you.

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