When someone mentions exercise, do you feel like the dog in the photo? Does the very thought of pulling your gym kit out of the back of the wardrobe fill you with horror?
Well don't worry, you're not alone!
Many of us just can't stand the thought of physical exercise simply because we have had a bad experience or not enjoyed the type of exercise performed in the past.
But you don't have to be a gym hero to get moving! If you believe you aren't cut out for workouts, then read on!
There are so many ways to make regular activity part of your life – which can help boost your energy levels, deal with stress better, reduce your risk of illness and disease, and look and feel good! It really is a no-brainer.
However, many of us don’t make exercise a regular habit. And many say it’s because they just don’t like it.
So how can you stop being a hater and get over exercise aversion? Here are some tips to help you add physical activity to your life – and maybe even learn to like it!
Find something you enjoy doing
Instead of forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, find ways to exercise that fit your personality. I for one don't enjoy any sport that involves a ball! But I love dancing and am quite well coordinated so enjoy dance/aerobic classes such as Zumba, Les Mills Shbam and Body FX workouts. Your "thing" may just be a walk either alone or with a group with friends. If you enjoy socialising, connecting with people is a great way to stay motivated and avoid working out alone. But if you prefer your own company, running or swimming might be a better fit. And remember it's important to work out when you are most motivated - if you’re not a morning person, you’re not likely to get up at the crack of dawn to make a boot camp class!
It will take a while for a new behaviour to become a habit (on average 2 to 3 months), so give yourself time to get into a regular routine. One way is to try to be active around the same time each day, even if it is only for 10 minutes at first. Try telling yourself that you are going to make this a regular thing (just like eating!) and do it no matter what. Exercise can become addictive in a good way. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll notice when you aren’t doing it.
Change your schedule
Build activity into your schedule and lifestyle so it doesn’t feel like a chore. There are many ways to fit exercise into your life, and it doesn’t mean you have to give up something else, like time with family and friends. Go for a walk together. If you have a dog, take him/her out more often. Instead of using the lift, use the stairs. Walk to the local shops instead of taking the car. Turn up the music loud when doing the housework!
Spread it out
Not all of us can find time to fit in a 45-minute or 1 hour workout session every day. That’s OK! You can split up your activity into 5 or 10 minute sessions. If you're new to exercise, try building it up slowly and aim for 2 to 3 hours a week. And remember some it doesn't all have to be vigorous. Yoga and stretching are excellent forms of exercise and could be right up your street if you are into the more spiritual side of things. It's also great to alternate with cardiovascular activities so that both your body and mind get a full workout. For example, you could do a quick yoga routine when you wake up, take a brisk walk after lunch at work, and if you commute with public transportation, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way home.
Don't give up
If you miss a day or a workout, don’t worry about it. We all have busy lives and some days we struggle to fit everything in. Just make sure you resume again the following day. And if what you’re doing just isn’t working for you, try something else. There are so many options available You may need to try a different activity or a different time of day. Don’t give up!
Just for fun, try this quiz to find out which type of activity suits you best!