Updated: Jan 12
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It's natural, preventive medicine literally at your fingertips. It can help ease chronic illnesses and disorders, improve mental health, decrease anxiety and depression, and much more! So why does it often fall to the bottom of your to-do list? Perhaps it's time to reevaluate your thoughts about exercise, what you typically do for exercise, and how you prioritize your life so you can turn your workouts from "blah" to "awesome" in no time!
How You Feel About Exercise Matters
American health and wellness often tout calorie and fat burning as the primary functions of regular exercise. If you feel ho-hum about stepping on a treadmill in an attempt to burn fat, it's time to change your thinking. Viewing exercise as a punishment for what your body looks like or what you eat creates a highly negative relationship between you and exercise. After all, your main motivation for exercising is because you're not happy with yourself. How long do you think a relationship like that can last? Instead, remind yourself of how good exercising makes you feel! You've probably heard that exercise increases endorphins, but it also increases many more brain chemicals that make you feel happy, such as dopamine, adrenaline, and endocannabinoid. Besides feeling happier, these brain chemicals are also associated with feeling confident, capable, and energized while reducing anxiety and stress. In addition, exercise is also shown to ease depression, which experts say could be due to an increase in nerve cell growth in the brain that happens when you exercise. Exercise also increases muscular strength and bone density, decreasing your risk of developing osteoporosis and reducing chronic pain often associated with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. These are just a few of the many benefits of exercise that have nothing to do with fat-burning or calorie-torching!
What Exercise Activities you Choose Matters
Even if you can reframe exercise as a tool to help you feel better, you're still going to dread it if you're dragging yourself to workouts that you hate. There's a lot of advice out there about the "best workouts" for you, but the only person who can decide the "best workout" for you, is you. The only requirement is you get moving. Take out all the external factors regarding exercise and look inward to discover activities you enjoy. Choosing the exercise you want to do instead of what you think you should do can significantly impact your motivation.
What you Prioritize on Your To-Do List Matters
Exercise is a form of self-care, and just like many other self-care activities, it can often get pushed off due to competing priorities. To edge exercise closer to the top of your to-do list, you'll have to sit down and decide a minimum amount of exercise you can realistically do daily and give yourself a wide variety of options to choose from (10 minutes is a great minimum). Plan on hitting your minimum with a wide variety of options, including (but not limited to): a quick walk, a light yoga session at the end of the day, or some squats while playing with your kids or grandkids. If you can squeeze in more exercise that you enjoy, do it! The main point is not to stress or make yourself feel guilty by setting your expectations too high. Those feelings only create negative feedback loops that make it increasingly harder to take care of yourself.
Final Tips and Thoughts
Exercising shouldn't feel like a chore! To help you turn your workouts from blah to awesome, follow these tips:
Find something you enjoy: Whether it's running, biking, swimming, or playing a sport, it's essential to choose an activity that you enjoy. That way, you'll be more likely to stick with it and make working out something to look forward to.
Mix it up: Try to vary your routine to keep things interesting. Choose different types of workouts and switch up your sets and reps. That way, your body won't get too used to the same routine, and you won't get bored.
Get motivated: Find a source of motivation that works for you. It could be a workout buddy, a personal trainer, a playlist of your favorite songs, or a vision board to remind you of your goals.
Set realistic goals: Don't set yourself up for failure by expecting too much too soon. Set realistic and achievable goals that will help you stay motivated and committed to your fitness journey.
Take it slow: When starting a new workout routine, it's important to work up to it. Don't overdo it and give your body time to rest and recover.
Following these tips can help you make exercising fun and turn your workouts from blah to awesome! If you want more help creating awesome, sustainable workouts, please fill out our online Starting Point Questionnaire. A member of our Fitness Team will be in touch shortly to set up your FREE fitness consultation known as our Starting Point Session.