How to exercise when you hate exercising

28 May 2021

Young couple dancing with their childExercise is not the enemy. It’s not punishment for having a couple of extra biscuits. It’s not about getting slim or killer abs or guns of steel. Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do.

But how to exercise when you don’t enjoy it? Here are a few ways you can celebrate your body without even realising you’re doing it:

  • Move more – Your body was made for moving, so let it. Stand up and stretch out. Don’t walk, shimmy! Use the stairs more. Dance while the kettle boils, and pull out your air guitar when you’re singing in the shower.
  • Don’t force yourself into exercise you don’t enjoy – Exercise should be fun, if it doesn’t feel good, it’s not the one for you. Move on to the next one.
  • Activation comes before motivation – Sometimes you simply have to be your own motivation.
  • Play with your children or pets – If you have someone you can mess around with and run like there’s no tomorrow with, then go and have some fun together.
  • Are you a lone wolf or social gatherer? – If you are someone that likes to work out with other people, look for online groups, get willing household members to join you or video call a friend to exercise together. If you work out better alone, find a quiet spot and go for it.
  • Do not aim for perfection – While we don’t want you to hurt yourself doing an exercise wrong, it’s better to do something imperfectly than do nothing perfectly.
  • Learn self-defence – There’s plenty of online self-defence videos out there to teach you how to keep yourself safe while building up a sweat.
  • Let go of aiming for the perfect body – Use exercise to relax your mind, work out tension in your muscles and set the happy hormones free. The more you feel good while exercising, the happier you’ll feel in your body.
  • Exercise doesn’t always have to be rigorous – Rigorous exercise is good for your heart, but a walk outside (or in if you can’t get out) can be just as good at reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Get cleaning – Hoovering, carrying wash loads, cleaning windows, putting shopping away, scrubbing the bathroom, making the bed, mowing the lawn or pruning back overgrown bushes – if you’re moving, it counts.
  • Change it up – Doing the same form of exercise over and over again is boring even for the most astute exercise guru. Regularly chop and change the way you exercise, and you’ll soon find you can’t keep your body from moving to its own rhythm!