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4 Reasons You Hate to Exercise and What to Do About It

Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.   ~ Lou Holtz

Ok, let’s be honest here. Most of us aren’t exercise warriors who live to sweat on the treadmill, love smelly workout gear and gym bags and look forward to slugging down copious amounts of protein shakes that taste like drywall.

But, you also know that keeping active is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. So, what to do?  How do you chose the gap between hating to exercise and loving to move your body?

Here are four typical barriers to fitness and what you should do about each one.

Four Barriers to Fitness

1. You hate what you’re doing for “exercise.”  Now, this poses a real problem because after all, aren’t we trained to do the opposite of what makes us feel bad? So when you do activities you absolutely abhor, you’re simply not going to stick to it. I know I won’t. I will find all kinds of reasons to procrastinate and probably dramatically burn my gym card (if I had one) and workout clothes in the backyard.

What you should do instead:

Especially when you’re starting out, choose activities you love – not all exercise has to be done in a gym!   Do you love to bike?  Good, go for a bike ride in the neighborhood or find a path in a local park. Enjoy the adventure of a new hiking trail?  Great!  Throw on a backpack (with plenty of water and energy-boosting snacks) and hit the trails (Check out the All Trails app to find one near you). Got a dog? Take them for a power-walk – invite a friend to join you. The more you enjoy an activity (and feel confident in doing it), the more likely you’ll stick with it.  My go to exercise – dancing!

2. Your expectations are not in line with reality. If you’ve been a size 16 all your life, you’re just not going to look like a runway model by the end of the month, no mater what you do! Know your limits and please ignore that “no pain, no gain” silliness!  If you feel terrible after a workout, are too sore to even get out of bed (and opt for falling out of bed instead) or you’re beyond winded while exercising and can’t carry on a conversation, you’re doing it all wrong. Slow down, learn your limits, listen to your body and take it easy.  Rome wasn’t build in a day and your new body isn’t going to be either. Nothing will kill your motivation faster than unrealistic goals.

What you should do instead:

Resist the urge to exercise too quickly, too intensely, or too often. Remember, slow and steady will help keep you injury-free and consistency will get you to your goals. If it’s your first time getting into an exercise program, get an experienced trainer (not your drinking buddy) to help evaluate your current physical condition and set up a safe and effective program for reaching your fitness goals over time.  A few sessions is all you need to get on track.

3. You’re doing it all on your own. Nothing is harder than doing something you’re not used to doing (or maybe you don’t really even know how to do) alone. We are social beings and support from others can mean the difference between success and defeat.

What you should do instead:

Find a workout buddy to keep you on track. When someone is counting on you to show up, it helps keep you accountable. Or join a local team sport. How about a dance class at your local YMCA or community college? Check out your local “meet ups” (www.meetup.com) and get out and get active with other like-minded individuals. You’ll meet new people, make new friends AND be motivated to get, and stay, moving!

4. You’re TOO focused on the exercise.  Yes, you read that right; you’re too focused on the exercise, your discomfort, how bored you are and the unrelenting sweat pouring into your eyes.

What you should do instead:

Distract yourself and stimulate your visual and auditory senses in watching TV or listening to your favorite music. Research has shown that when people do this (while on a stationary bike, treadmill or stair-stepper), they can often push themselves harder and longer (within limits).

Don’t let excuses stop you from moving your body.  Movement is what your body needs to survive.   Do you have a favorite way to get yourself moving?   Share with me in the comments. 

About the Author Corrie Ann

Corrie Ann Gray is a writer, researcher, coach, and cookie enthusiast who lives in Los Angeles, CA. She started the Clean Body Project to share all of her knowledge and resources with others who are interested in running their own experiment into clean holistic living. She is the CEO and founder of Gray Ink Media.

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