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How to Fall in Love with Exercise

It’s a vicious cycle: First, in a whirlwind of both desperation and motivation, you decide this is it. Then, you run out and purchase some new workout gear, join the trendiest new gym, and set your alarm for the crack of dawn. For the first few weeks, or maybe months, you’re really into it. You willingly get out of bed every morning and go for a run. You hit Barre class after work. You walk with your co-workers on your lunch break. You’re even looking forward to your next workout session! However, as it tends to, life gets in the way and your workouts eventually take a backseat to the rest of your life. Soon there afterwards, exercise becomes something you ‘have’ to do rather than something you ‘want’ to do. Frustrating, right? Know that you’re not alone in your struggle!

You may be saying to yourself, falling in love with exercise is impossible! You either like it or you don’t. So, how exactly do you fall in love with exercise? Continue reading to find out how.

Find Meaning

People have a hard time sticking to fitness plans for two reasons. One is because the motivation just isn’t there. The second reason? They don’t give themselves permission to prioritize self-care.

The first step in revolutionizing your exercise routine is to determine what working out actually means to you. Positive motivation and reinforcement are key here. You need to look for the positives associated with exercise (there are so many), specifically the positives that are unique to you that will create an insatiable workout craving.

If your brain links the stimulus of exercise with positive feelings, your motivation to exercise and stay committed will be higher than ever! There are so many positive aspects to exercising. Here are just a few:

• Helps manages stress

• Boosts your immune system

• Alleviates back pain

• Makes you feel energized

• Enhances your mood

• Lowers blood pressure

• Improves heart function

• Improves brain function

• Boosts confidence

• Improves body image

• Reduces anxiety

• Helps manage depression

• Increases libido

• Aids sleep

• Improves balance and coordination

• Improves posture, strength, stability and endurance

• Maintains bone density

• Maintains/Increases Lean Muscle

• Lowers risk of some cancers

• Reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes

Start Slow

Walking on your lunch break or taking the stairs instead of the elevator may not have you shedding the pounds, but low-intensity activities such as these are still considered exercise. Especially when you are doing them every day. If you start off slowly you will be more likely to stick with it. Instead of looking at exercise as just another thing you have to check off your list of ‘things to do’ throughout the day, you will look forward to it.

Give Yourself Permission

Chances are you put your job, your family, and your friends needs ahead of your own. You’re probably the type of person that feels guilty every time you do something for yourself. I congratulate you for your selflessness, but what about your needs? Remember you have to take care of YOU in order to give your all to everything you care about. Once you see the day-to-day effects exercise has on your mood, happiness, and overall ability to get things done you won’t feel so guilty about giving yourself permission to put yourself first. Just a thirty-minute sweat session three to four times a week will be enough to see the many positive benefits and you will feel like a million bucks afterwards.

Plan for Success

A goal without a plan is just a dream. Stop dreaming and start doing! Once you establish your exercise goals, you need a bullet-proof plan for success. Especially if you want to be successful in the long-term. Start by figuring out the logistics of negotiating exercise within your complex life. Part of your strategy needs to be accepting no excuses and overcoming whatever obstacles they may potentially stand in your way.

Spice It Up

Find an exercise you actually enjoy doing and don’t be afraid to try something new.  Adding variety will keep you interested and coming back for more. There are so many different ways to stay active, so take the time to think about what would be perfect for you. Do you like to dance? Try a Zumba or Barre class. Do you love being outdoors? Take up skiing, hiking, or cycling. Are you looking to unwind at the end of a busy work week? Try a Yoga class. Experiment until you find something you really enjoy.

Find Your Exercise “Why”

Why is it so important that you incorporate exercise into your life? What makes it so important to you? Find your exercise ‘why’ and make sure it has nothing to do with your weight or your appearance. When exercise is used only as a means to burn calories and change your appearance, it can become something you dread. When exercise becomes a chore, it can lead to reoccurring feelings of disappointment, frustration, and failure.

In Conclusion:

To really build a long-term exercise habit and make fitness a part of your life, you need to find a way to love it! If you enjoy doing something, you’ll be motivated to do it and stay inspired to keep at it.

Learning to love exercise is a process, but the payoff is so worth it. It’s not selfish to love yourself, to take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. I hope you fall in love with being alive and I hope you fall in love with taking care of yourself body, mind, and soul. Good luck to you.

Jamie Wallace