The Secret To Enjoying Exercise

Photo by shapecharge/iStock / Getty Images

Exercise is often associated with torturous hours on the treadmill or tripping over one's own feet in a step class. It is no wonder so many people wince at the thought of working out. Sure we know it's good for us, but clearly that's not enough to motivate us, or everyone would be doing it already. Reframing and expanding how we see exercise can make it a joyful part of our daily life.  

Staying active has little to do with subjecting ourselves to feeling like a lab rat on the treadmill, riding a bike that goes nowhere, or testosterone-filled, rank-smelling gyms. Exercise has many forms and can be done just about anywhere; walking through your neighborhood, a bike ride along the ocean, hiking in the redwoods, martial arts, swimming, a round of golf by foot, yoga, and paddle boarding are all legitimate forms of exercise. Your "workouts" can be a time to catch up with friends while walking, let your hair down in a dance class, or find some solitude while running through the forest. Ask yourself a few questions... What do I love to do? Where do I love to be? What do I need from my workouts? When you connect with the right activity, exercise can be the best part of your day.

Yes, yes, you already know that exercise is good for you, but do you really know the incredible impact it can have on your life? Here are just a few benefits of being physically active: increases happiness, relieves stress, boosts energy, improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, lowers resting heart rate, strengthens muscles and bones, improves quality of sleep, boosts immune system, improves brain health and memory, improves focus, improves insulin sensitivity, and boosts sex drive. If there were a pill that did all of this, it would be considered a miracle drug and people would pay anything for it. Good news- many forms of exercise are free and available to everyone.  

When you associate exercise with enjoyable activities which promote balance in your life, motivation will come naturally and you will find yourself cherishing this time. Set a goal to be active for at least 20 minutes everyday. Gift this time to yourself, even if it simply means going for a 20-minute walk or a 20-minute morning yoga session in your living room. This is not a selfish act- when you are less stressed, healthier and happier, everyone around you benefits. It is about improving your quality of life.