Sunday, Jul 12, 2020

How to Find an Exercise You’ll Actually Enjoy

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Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LDhttp://www.healthy-inspiration.com
Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD is a nutrition communications dietitian whose joy and passion is to empower women to live healthy, balanced lives that are fulfilling and free of guilt and shame. She loves sharing real-life strategies to choosing nourishing foods, fitting in fitness and looking beyond the mirror. Jennifer enjoys encouraging women on her blog, Healthy Inspiration, taking walks with her daughter, cooking with her husband and trying out different kinds of physical activity.

You Can Actually Enjoy Exercising

Quickly glancing at the clock, I hurriedly clicked out of all the windows open on my computer screen and logged out.  Practically skipping down the hall, I raced into the bathroom to change into workout gear. My gym was across the street from work – a very strategic move that helps me go consistently.  But, it was 3 classes, that actually got me excited to go. They were fun – each in their own right.

Kickboxing – This class had fun music that had us moving, kicking, and jacking to the cardio beat.  Always sweaty at the end, I found myself channeling my inner boxer and jabbing with power. Lookout Mayweather!

Step – While I was only a baby when step aerobics had its glory days, this workout had been revived at my gym and was totally fun.  With a spring in my step, I did the choreography on the hot pink and purple risers like a champ!

Body Pump – Every Friday I joined men and women varying in ages from their 20’s to well in their 70’s to strengthen and tone. For 50 minutes everyone would lift weights, pop jokes and make silly faces in the wall of mirrors.  At the end of class, everyone left with fatigued muscles and feeling as strong as the Incredible Hulk, well, at least I did.

Finding an exercise you enjoy might seem like an impossible task to some. Not everyone gets a euphoric high.  But, for many who don’t find exercise to be enjoyable or even tolerable, it might warrant a change in our definition.

What is Exercise?

exerciseIs walking exercise?  How about jogging? A fitness class or boot camp? Dancing?  Walking the dog? Roller skating at your niece’s birthday party? A family basketball game every Sunday night?  Yes. Yes. Yes! Exercise is all of this and more.

There are 2 common reasons we don’t exercise regularly:

  1. No fun.
  2. No time.

Interestingly, we often make time for activities that we find fun.  So let’s begin there. These are 3 questions to ask yourself to help you find an exercise you can more than tolerate and actually enjoy:

1. What type of exercise do you prefer?

  • Group fitness
  • Individual
  • Outdoor
  • Indoor
  • Quiet
  • Loud or Upbeat
  • Ladies only
  • At home

Consider your personality and your life schedule. For me, now as a work-at-home mom, just leaving the house for a walk or jog when my husband comes home in the evening is life-giving.  The outdoors are just good for my soul and the movement is good for my body.

If you need a community of people, then maybe a class or a walking/jogging group is a better fit.  There is no one size fits all.

For most of us, the types of exercise we prefer may change with the seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – as well as with changing life seasons.  Toss any preconceived ideas out of your head of what you “should do” OR “should want” and just think about the type of exercise that appeals to you most right now.  

If you could move your body in an enjoyable way, where would you be?  What would you be wearing? Who would be with you OR not? What would you hear or see?

2. What type of support do you desire/need?

How can you thrive?  Do you need a partner? Group or class? Written plan? Trainer?

When developing a new routine or pattern, it can be incredibly helpful to gather some support. We need people to cheer us on, encourage another step and applaud our efforts. Occasionally, we need a true friend or counselor to speak truth – in love.

In order to find an exercise you will enjoy, you must identify the type of support or accountability that will provide the right amount of direction and encouragement you need to stay focused.  

Consider the following:

  • Do you need someone to create a workout plan for you?  
  • Do you like being surrounded by other women or men?  
  • Do you thrive when a friend holds you accountable?  
  • Does a workout buddy sound ideal or awful?
  • Would a trainer or coach help you stay motivated?  

Maybe you enjoy walking alone. That is totally fine. But, scripture is clear that:

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

Don’t forget to invite other people to help you become the best version of you.

3. Have you explored a variety of potentially “fun” activities?

It’s time to think outside the box, Team.  Walking, jogging and the elliptical are great, but, there is so much more to exercise!  How about…

  • Line dancing
  • Ballet
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Hiking
  • Repelling
  • Rollerblading
  • Jazzercise
  • Geocaching
  • Rec League kickball
  • Martial arts
  • Bike riding
  • HIIT
  • Indoor Cycling

Exercise is not limited to the gym or a yoga class or a walking track.  It is as fun, diverse, and interesting as we want it (and need it!) to be.  Don’t get caught up in the lie that it has to be anything dreadful, mundane or boring.  Don’t like it? Don’t do it!

Go find something that makes you come alive!

So, what’s the play call?

God created you with your own preferences, creativity, and motivation. Ask Him to help you discover new, interesting – and I dare say – fun activities that will keep your body healthy, fit, and strong.

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