Even if you know exercise is good for you, it can be challenging to actually do. Find out some ways to make working out more fun.
The human instinct for energy conservation is strong but not impossible to get over. By implementing the tips below you should enjoy exercise more which can be a good thing in itself and improve consistency.
1. Choose an exercise you like
The first tip is somewhat straightforward but it can be easy to forget. Many people feel like they have to do the exercise that burns the most calories, the exercise that offers the most gains, or the sport that is popular.
However, something that will make your workouts a lot more fun is actually choosing something you would free up time for or at least an exercise you find less boring than others.
Some examples of fun exercises include tennis, golf, swimming, horseback riding, bowling, soccer, basketball, surfing, snowboarding, skiing, etc.
In the gym, you could also choose something like the Arnold press because you find it more interesting than a shoulder press.
2. Listen to music or other audio
Listening to music or other audio like podcasts makes your exercise sessions more fun in two main ways.
First of all, it distracts you from the (likely) uncomfortable feeling of tiring yourself out.
Humans have an instinct to conserve energy which was useful when food was not that available. However, with some distractions, it becomes easier to ignore this feeling.
Secondly, there are likely at least some types of music or some types of audio you enjoy listening to. This adds some extra positive feelings about what you are doing on top of the distraction effect mentioned above.
Two things to remember are that you want to keep things safe and convenient. That means maybe not listening to audio near busy roads and investing in headphones that are suited for your exercise of choice.
3. Do it with friends
Similar to music, there are likely already some people you love hanging out with. By exercising together with them, your workouts should become at least somewhat more enjoyable.
Additionally, people are still social animals. It is easier to not push yourself when nobody is watching. However, by training with one or more friends, you can help each other stay motivated throughout the workout.
One thing to keep in mind with this last benefit is that you don’t want to overdo it either. This can lead to suboptimal workouts and injuries.
On top of that, you want to avoid becoming dependent on your friends to exercise. Just because they skip a workout does not mean you should sit one out too.
4. Vividly imagine all the benefits you will get
While exercise can actually be a fun thing to do, many people also just do it for the health benefits. Even if you don’t enjoy the sessions themselves, you are (considering) training because of these positive effects.
You can experience these benefits from the future in the moment to some extent by vividly imagining them.
How much energy will you have? How good will you look? What other non-scale victories will you experience? How many compliments will you receive? What old clothes will you fit in?
You can even write these things down before every workout or when you feel the urge to skip your exercise session.
Vividly imagining the benefits alone may not entirely trick yourself into liking exercise but realizing all the positive effects it offers does make working out at least somewhat more fun.
5. Measure your progress
You may have a big end fitness goal in mind but there are likely also many smaller weight loss milestones and progress steps along the way.
This may sound unfortunate at first but you can also use these smaller steps to motivate yourself.
For example, you can keep track of how much weight you lift in the gym. Hitting personal records and seeing yourself get stronger over time are definitely fun things.
Additionally, you can also likely not help smiling after seeing a big downward weight loss progress chart.
Other examples include before-after pictures, running speed increases, lung capacity, flexibility goals, hitting your daily steps, sticking to your exercise routine, etc.
One thing you do want to keep in mind with certain progress measurements like body weight and muscle strength is that they can also move for unrelated reasons, for example a night of bad sleep, in the short term.
Don’t always take daily measurements too seriously. Focus on the longer-term trends instead.
6. Move more during fun activities
Instead of bringing the fun to exercise, you can also bring exercise to the fun.
Many people have at least some fun things they do throughout the day that can be combined with moving more.
As an example, you could ride your stationary bike in front of the TV while watching your favorite show. There are also smaller pedal exercisers that are easy to use while sitting on the couch or a chair.
Additionally, office workers could consider using a mini elliptical or walking desk throughout the day. If these don’t interfere with your work, they can help you stay just a bit more active.
7. Switch up your workouts
Even if you start with exercises or sports you enjoy, you may get in a workout rut that does not feel fun if you keep doing the exact same things.
In a situation like that, switching things up could be the solution.
First of all, you can change up your workouts but still stick to the same type of exercise. Instead of running 3 miles at a steady speed, you can do HIIT workouts over shorter distances.
Instead of playing the same partner with the same tendencies in tennis, you can challenge other opponents with completely different playing styles.
Next, you can also give other workouts a try. Instead of walking around the block in your neighborhood, you can go swimming in the local pool. Instead of running, you can try out rock climbing.
Who knows, maybe you will find your new favorite sport by trying out new things. In the worst case, you made your exercise routine a bit more fun by changing things up.