05 Mar Exercise and the F word
And that word is – fun! Yes, really. I truly believe that exercise is fun – or at least it can be. In fact, I’m so passionate about this topic, I’ve written an entire book about it.
I also understand how that might seem like a foreign concept if you’re not someone who’s had that experience to date. If you’ve always found exercise to be hard work, had a less-than-positive experience with exercise in the past, or seen it as a chore or an inconvenience, I get it – that’s not fun at all!
And I also get that you’re not likely to change your opinion just because I’ve said exercise is fun. You need proof, right? Well, to me, the best proof out there is when you experience something first hand.
To start with, the key is picking an activity that you don’t dread doing. Sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many of us choose types of exercise we think we ‘should’ be doing to achieve a particular result, or because they’re things that are traditionally thought of as ‘exercise’, yet we actually dread. At the end of the day, if you don’t like something and it’s not something you’ll eventually find enjoyable, then you’re not likely to keep doing it.
So, if you don’t like running, don’t do it. But if you do like dancing, or feel as though dancing’s always something you wanted to try, research dance classes in your local area. The key is discovering something that you, personally, might enjoy.
Don’t think there’s a type of activity out there that ticks that box for you? I’d honestly encourage you to keep looking, but there is a work around: it’s possible to find fun in all kinds of activities. Sure, that hill climb at the end of your morning walk might not be your idea of a good time, but the fact that it provides the chance to catch up with a friend if you invite them along, or listen to your favourite music, just might be.
Personally, I love listening to podcasts while I exercise, because I like the idea of giving my brain a work out at the same time as my body. My favourite podcast is the ABC’s Conversations with Richard Fidler. It’s been my ‘running buddy’ since it first began – knowing I’ve got that to look forward to when I pull on my trainers makes the prospect of heading out even more enticing.
But regardless of the ‘added extra’ you choose, once you start looking at exercise that way, it’s really liberating. You might not find every single aspect of your chosen activity 100 per cent enjoyable, but there are always positive things to focus on when you’re exercising – and that can help you stay motivated, too. And when you approach it from that angle, it’s much easier to start viewing exercise as a reward rather than a punishment. Why not try it and see for yourself?