How to Enjoy Exercise

During health consultations, I often hear people say they have a difficult time establishing an exercise routine because they simply don’t enjoy working out. They don’t find going to the gym appealing, and so they are simply not motivated to exercise. When they do go to the gym, they find that it comes from a place of willpower rather than desire, and this leaves them feeling drained rather than energized.

Movement is so important though. Human beings are meant to move! Exercise relieves stress, helps us stay healthy, and reverses the aging process. If you’re feeling unmotivated to workout, don’t worry at all because there is a way for everyone to love being active. These five steps will help you create a workout routine that fuels you:

1. Move from a place of love rather than fear
Set the intention to move your body from a place of love. Let go of pressure from the media and society to look a certain way or achieve a certain fitness goal. Move for yourself. Move because you love your body, and you want the best for your body. Move with the wisdom that you are worthy of health, vitality, and energy.

2. Listen to your body
There are many strict fitness plans out there. These are good to keep you on track, but know that you are your own guru. You know your body best. You know when you need rest. You know when you need cardio. You know when you need to stretch. Don’t get me wrong, fitness plans are amazing! But know that you can customize a plan based on your own needs. Be honest with yourself, and you’ll know when you authentically need rest versus when you’re making excuses.

3. Do what feels like play
Do what lights you up. Always do what lights you up. So you don’t like going to the gym? That’s okay! There are so many ways to be active: running outside, hiking, walking, kickboxing, sports, yoga, pilates, tai chi, dance, trampolining, ect. Experiment! And tap into your inner child. Children don’t force themselves to move, they do it naturally. Remember the joy that you most likely used to have for movement!

4. Add in some spontaneity
Sometimes people can simply get bored of their usual routine. If you’re a runner, try different routes. If you usually use machines, try bodyweight workouts or go to a fitness class. Or try something completely out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Dancing? Boxing? Tai chi? Sometimes we just need to have a little more adventure in our lives! Trying something new will also activate muscles that you don’t normally use, so this could actually be really good for your fitness levels. And a new activity will naturally get you feeling more present and in the moment since you’ll be focused on what you’re learning rather than wishing your workout was over.

5.  Honour your bio-individual needs
Know that what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. There are many different body types and different forms of exercise that compliment them. This really became evident to me after studying Ayurveda at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. An Ayurvedic quiz can help you discover your personal body constitution and give you some guidance in choosing a form of exercise that works best for you. For example, I am prone to having a “vata” imbalance and realized that I needed to incorporate more grounding exercise such as walking, yoga, tai chi, and dancing into my routine.

6. Exercise with friends
Humans are social creatures. If you turn movement into a social activity, you will form social bonds that will increase the sense of fulfilment you gain the activity you’re doing. This is also great because you and your friends can keep each other accountable to working out. Join a running group, sign up for a fitness class with some friends, or play a team sport! Doing this even once a week can add some extra joy into your entire exercise routine.

It can be easy to get caught up in finding the perfect routine and reaching some specific and planned out fitness goal, but remember that the most important thing is that you're moving, you're enjoying yourself, and you're doing something you love. What is one thing you're going to do this week to find more joy in movement? Let me know in the comments below! And if you’ve ever struggled with finding the motivation to exercise in the past, please let us know what helped you find a love for movement once again!

Lots of love,