Exercise is often seen as a chore, something we have to do to stay healthy and fit. But what if we changed our mindset and started seeing exercise as fun? Not only would it make working out more enjoyable, but it could also lead to long-lasting positive changes in our lives. When we think of exercise as fun, we are more likely to look forward to our workout sessions rather than dread them. We might even find ourselves trying new activities and exploring different ways to get moving.
One way to make exercise fun is to find an activity you genuinely enjoy. Whether it’s dancing, playing a sport, or going for a hike, choose something that makes you happy and excited. Doing so makes you feel motivated to engage in physical activity regularly because it doesn’t feel like a burden. Instead of forcing yourself to exercise just for the sake of doing it, finding joy in the process will make all the difference.
Another way to change your mindset about exercise is by reframing how you think about physical activity. Instead of focusing on the effort involved or the calories burned, focus on how good it feels afterward – both physically and mentally. Exercise releases endorphins that boost your mood and give you a sense of well-being. By associating these positive feelings with working out rather than seeing it as a necessary evil, you’ll be more inclined to regularly incorporate exercise into your routine.
To sum up, do this:
If you have only negative associations with exercise, use these tips to change your mindset:
- Find the fun in movement. If you hate running, basketball or Zumba, that’s ok. You don’t have to do them. Keep trying other activities with an open mind. Whether it’s a fitness class, beer-league sports teams, or just playing on the beach with your dog, there is an activity for you.
- Reframe your mindset about exercise; it should not be seen as punishment. When attending a fitness class near Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s common to hear instructors urging you to work off that gravy or earn your pie. However, do not succumb to these negative messages. Food is necessary for sustenance, and movement is vital for our health. Engage in physical activity because you genuinely enjoy it and your body requires it – not as a way to repent or penalize yourself.
- Accept that you are worthy of health. Many people, especially busy parents and caregivers, don’t make time for the gym because they feel it’s selfish to take time for themselves. Yet, if your goal is to be there for others, taking care of yourself must be a priority. Evidence shows that exercise and eating well is the key to staying healthy, happy, and energetic well into old age. If you care about your friends and family, remember that they care about you, too. Get yourself to the gym and think about everyone who cares about you, cheering you on.