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11 Ways To Make Exercise More Enjoyable

I’ve heard so many people say that they know they “should” exercise, but they just don’t like it. It’s more of a chore, something to just get over with as quickly as possible (or not do at all!).

But what if I told you that working out could be something that you might actually look forward to, instead of dreading? Sometimes all it takes is a few little switches in our routine, or way of thinking, that can make a huge difference in how we feel about it.

Keep reading for some ideas on how to change your mindset about exercise!

Have fun!

1. Do an activity you love

For most people, the words “workout” or “exercise” brings a certain scenario to mind. You might picture toiling with heavy barbells or running endlessly on a treadmill in a crowded, noisy gym. If that’s something you enjoy, great! But the truth is, many people just aren’t into working out at a gym. And that’s ok!

Or, what if you do like doing traditional types of workouts, but you just don’t care for the gym atmosphere? I quit the gym years ago and started working out at home, and I haven’t looked back since! Read here about how I discovered home fitness and found a routine that I absolutely love.

But if standard workouts aren’t your thing, fortunately, there are so many other activities to choose from. Life’s too short to force yourself to do something you don’t like, just because you think it’s “good for you”!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Dancing (ballet, jazz, folk, belly dancing, square dancing)
  • Skateboarding
  • Rollerblading
  • Bowling
  • Gardening
  • Team sports (baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer)
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Swimming

2. Choose the best time to workout

alarm, clock, time

The time of day you workout can be an important factor, depending on your needs and goals. In one study, it was found that mornings may be the optimal time to exercise for those wanting to lose body fat (particularly women). By contrast, late afternoon or evening workouts seem to allow for more muscular strength and endurance.

The thing is, we aren’t always able to set up our schedule to accommodate exercising at a particular time of day. Also, the fact is that even if we have a flexible schedule, most of us just feel better exercising either in the morning or the afternoon/evening.

I am a “morning person” myself, and I love an early morning workout! It’s the time of day when I feel the most energized and strong, and I can give it my all. When I’m forced to do my workouts in the late afternoon, after working all day, I feel more sluggish and tired. So I feel like I end up not getting as much out of my exercise session.

So, it’s important to figure out what time of day you feel your best and try to fit your workouts into that timeframe. I guarantee that when you have more energy, you will look forward to, and enjoy, your workouts much more!

3. It’s ok to modify!

Sometimes when we’re at the gym, or doing a workout video, it can be easy to compare ourselves to others. We see someone doing an exercise a certain way, or going at a certain speed, and we feel like we should be able to keep up with them.

It’s always better, though, to do any exercise more slowly and with good form than it is to try to match someone else’s speed or ability. There are many ways to modify traditional exercises, or even to substitute one exercise for another one that works the same muscle group.

Honoring our body’s needs, rather than trying to match what anyone else is doing, leads to enjoying our exercise time much more.

4. Set a goal

arrows, target, range

Whether it’s a smaller goal (like starting out at 5 pounds, and giving yourself 2 weeks to work up to 10-pound dumbbells on shoulder presses), or a bigger plan (like training for several months for a marathon), it’s exciting to see ourselves getting closer to that end result!

It can also be fun to set goals for individual workouts. Maybe you’ve only ever done a 30-minute cardio session, but today you set a goal for 40 minutes. Setting that intention, and knowing how awesome it will feel to complete it, adds excitement to the workout, and gives you the energy to keep going!

5. Listen to your body

We can enjoy our workouts more when we are attuned to how we feel physically. Before (and during) a workout, it’s a good idea to take stock of how we feel. Some things you might ask yourself are:

Am I hungry? How about a quick rest after work, before I start exercising? Do I need to stretch out my tight hamstrings? Should I decrease my weight a bit on that next set of bicep curls so I can finish with good form? Did I drink enough water today? Can I go for that HIIT cardio workout today, or do I feel more like a 3-mile walk around the lake?

When we’re aware of what our physical needs are, we’re better able to meet those needs. This leads to enjoying our workout more, because we feel good in our bodies!

6. Notice your progress

When we’ve been doing something for a while, sometimes we can forget how far we’ve come. It can be really motivating to think back to when you first attempted a cardio workout. Maybe the workout was 30 minutes, but you could only make it through 20 minutes. But here it is a few months later, and you’re regularly doing 45-minute workouts like it’s nothing. Well, that’s something!

Or perhaps for quite a while, you were stuck at 8-pound dumbbells on your bicep curls. But now you pass right by those 8-pounders and go for the 10-pound dumbbells. Notice that, and delight in the progress you are seeing in yourself!

7. Stay in the moment

It’s so easy to get distracted, especially when we’ve had a busy day, or we have a crammed schedule in front of us. It’s also easy to get lost in our thoughts, and not really pay attention to what we’re doing.

Just as in other aspects of life, we will get more out of our workout time if we can be fully present for it. Take time to enjoy the feeling of breathing hard during that cardio workout; feel your triceps muscles contracting as you do those overhead presses. Notice the burn in your quads as you do your squats. It really adds to the enjoyment of exercising when we are fully experiencing just how amazing our body is!

8. Focus on the outcome

Let’s face it: there are those days when you just don’t feel like working out. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, or perhaps you had a bad day at work. Whatever the case, you still really want to get a workout in today.

How can you enjoy your workout more, when you’re just not really into it? On days like this, I focus on knowing how great I’m going to feel when I’m finished with my workout. I know that afterward, I’m going to have more energy, and I’m going to feel stronger, and this makes me happy!

9. Reward yourself

It’s nice to have something special to look forward to! I enjoy my meals, and I always look forward to replenishing my nutrients after a hard workout. I usually workout in the morning, so I always know that right after I’m done, I get to sit down to a nice breakfast. On days when I exercise in the afternoon, it’s usually right before dinner, so I have that to look forward to.

It’s also enjoyable to have a nice, hot shower or bath after a workout. After a particularly intense leg day, why not try out that new nice-smelling body lotion you just got? Or how about using that favorite, fluffy bath towel that you love?

Are you proud of how consistent you’ve been with your workouts this month? Maybe it’s time to buy a new pair of leggings or a sports bra, or a cute new shirt!

Even something as simple as setting aside time during the day to read a book you’ve been wanting to get into, or making yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee can be a reward.

10. Take it outside

If you’ve started feeling a little bored with your usual gym routine, how about doing something outside instead? Especially during the warmer months, it can be really enjoyable to go for a long walk.

The thing that’s so nice about walking is that it’s such a great change of scenery. You can walk around your neighborhood, or go to a local park. If you live near a lake or a beach, it’s always refreshing to walk near the water. And if you like hiking, most towns or cities have trails within driving distance.

11. Switch it up

Do you tend to do the same workout routine week in and week out? It can be boring to do the same thing all the time (and you will also stop seeing fitness gains because your body isn’t being challenged).

There are so many different types of workouts to do, so there’s no reason to just stick with one! If you used to feel excited to workout but now you’re feeling unmotivated, trying something new can bring back that spark.

If you always do the same weight-training routine, sometimes doing variations of classic moves can seem like entirely new exercises. You’ll also feel your muscles being challenged differently, which is fun! Read here for some ideas on how to add some variety to your strength training.

When it comes to cardio, there are also many options to choose from. Trying something new can add some fun to your cardio sessions! If you usually go for a walk, why not try a HIIT workout? If you always take an aerobics class at the gym, maybe go cycling at the beach, instead. If the treadmill is your go-to, how about trying the rowing machine for a change?

It’s surprising how just doing something out of the ordinary can give you a whole new perspective, and really increase your workout enjoyment!

Conclusion

Exercise is such an important part of a healthy life. Regular and consistent movement is crucial not only for our physical health, but for our mental and emotional well-being, too! When our body feels good, we naturally feel more energetic and optimistic.

If you put off working out sometimes because you just don’t like it, or you exercise regularly but have recently lost your enthusiasm for it, give some of the tips I’ve discussed here a try. Often all it takes is one little change, and that one thing can make all the difference!

Please comment below, and let me know how your workouts are going. I’d love to hear if any of these ideas helped you to make your exercise time more enjoyable. ?

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