Most Americans hate to exercise. I am not one of them. I love to exercise. In fact, I do it everyday. But, if you are among the millions of people who actually dread the very thought of exercising, I will ask, why do you think you “have to” exercise?
If you hate to exercise, let me ask you this question, do you hate having good health too? This is an important question because it is almost impossible to maintain good health without regular physical activity.
Notice I didn’t say exercise. I said regular physical activity. What’s the difference?
Most people associate exercise with things they consider boring, painful or requiring too much effort. Like lifting weights, going to the dreaded gym, or enduring the torture of being on the treadmill and other cardio machines. If that were the case, why on earth would you want to waste your time doing these things that are boring, painful and take too much out of you?
Physical activity, on the other hand, is anything that gets your body moving. Do you like to dance? Then dance. Do you like sports? Then play sports. Do you like sex? Then have sex. Whatever you like to do that gets you moving, if done regularly, can replace any boring form of exercise that you don’t like.
But, let me get back to this question about your health. Do you hate having good health? I ask because if you hate to exercise or doing any form of physical activity, then your health must not be a priority to you. In this case, there’s nothing for you to worry about because if your health is not a priority, you won’t have it for very long. Problem solved.
Anyway, since I did promise you three reasons why you don’t “have to” workout if you hate to exercise, here they are.
1. If you really hate to exercise, then don’t
You don’t “have to” exercise. Whatever you’re thinking that exercise is, you don’t have to do it. Find some activity that you enjoy doing and do that instead. Are the traditional exercises like weight training, jogging and other exercise classes good for your health? Absolutely. But, any form of movement is just as good for you.
Did you know that an hour of vigorous sex could burn just as many calories as jogging? Oh, now I’ve got your attention. So, if you hate to exercise, but love sex, why not sexercise? It’s good for your health and if you get off your back, you could burn five to ten calories a minute. How’s that for exercise you can actually fall in love with?
I mentioned earlier that any form of physical activity is just as good for your health as any other. So, if you really hate to exercise, why not get in the habit of trying a new form of physical activity each month. The secret, however, is to stick with it for at least a month before moving on.
This is a great way to possibly fall in love with a new sport or physical activity that you probably didn’t think you would like. Case in point: twenty years ago, before I started playing tennis, I thought it was a boring and uninteresting sport. But, then my roommate at the time introduced me to it. He gave me my first few lessons.
As I started playing tennis with my roommate and his friends on a regular basis, I got very angry that they were so much better than I was. So, what did I do? I started practicing everyday. Fast forward to twenty years later. I am now completely addicted to playing tennis. I play for two hours, three to four times a week, and I don’t even consider it exercise. It’s just something I do because I love it.
The point is, if you hate to exercise, then don’t exercise. Find something that you love to do and do it. Or learn to fall in love with something new.
If you hate to exercise, then don't exercise. Find something that you love to do and do it. Click To Tweet
2. If you hate to exercise, build your social network while getting active instead
Did you know that strong social relationships affect all aspects of your health? Numerous studies confirm that social relationships have both short and long-term effects on your immune, metabolic, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.
As I wrote in my new book, Energize Your Life, studies show that “individuals who are more socially connected are healthier and may live longer than their more isolated peers.”
So, if you really hate to exercise, why not use your physical activity as a time to build your social network. Invite three friends to do different activities with you on a weekly basis. Go for a hike with one friend. On another day, take a bike ride with a different friend. Invite your third friend to play a sport you both love or take lessons to learn a new activity together.
This is a great way to get healthy without “exercising” because physical activity and socializing are both good for your health.Physical activity and socializing are both good for your health. Click To Tweet
3. You’re an adult, if you hate to exercise suck it up and do it or don’t
I don’t think there’s a single person alive who doesn’t know that exercise and physical activity is good for their health.
Having said that, you’re an adult. As an adult, you already do a lot of things you don’t necessarily enjoy doing. Yet, you do them because you need to. I’m sure you don’t enjoy going to work everyday, yet you do it because you need to earn a living. If you have kids, I’m sure you don’t enjoy doing their homework, school projects, birthday parties and all the many activities they participate in, yet you suck it up and do them.
“You already do a lot of things you don’t necessarily enjoy doing. Why is exercise any different?”
Why is exercise any different? You’re an adult. Nobody is going to make you do anything you don’t want to do. So either find something you love to do and do that or suck it up and find the most tolerable activity and do that. Or not.
Either way, stop your whining and have the discipline to do what you need to do whether you feel like it or not – if your health and family are important to you that is. If they’re not, then forget about exercise. Go find something more enjoyable to do with your time.
What to do if you hate to exercise but value your health?
There are a million reasons why exercise and physical activity are good for you. But the most important question to ask yourself isn’t whether you love or hate exercise. The most important question to ask is whether you value yourself.
When you have a baby it doesn’t matter that you have to endure many sleepless nights, dirty diapers and baby puke all over your clothes. You do whatever is necessary for the wellbeing of your baby.
Why should your own self-care be any different? If you truly value your health, your mind, your emotions and your spirit, you would stop your whining and get active; whether you like it or not.
Like I said before, if you hate the gym, don’t go. If you hate the treadmill, stay off it. Get active by doing something that you enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy doing anything, then the fact that you hate to exercise is the least of your problems.If you hate the gym, don't go. If you hate the treadmill, stay off it. Just get active. Click To Tweet
A word of encouragement for those who hate to exercise
Get specific and think about exactly what it is about exercise or physical activity that you hate. Instead of focusing on the things that you hate, find something to do that makes you feel good about yourself. Try yoga, tai chi, Pilates or other activities that keep you active.
Remember, in order to live your best life, an energized life, you must first build a solid physical foundation with good health. Without good health, you’ll simply spend all your time, energy and money trying desperately to get back the health that you had and didn’t appreciate in the first place.
Over the past twenty years, I’ve coached hundreds of previously sedentary clients who used to hate exercise. Today, some still hate to exercise, but they do it anyway. Others, however, have completely transformed their lifestyles. Some are now just as active as I am.
This is also possible for you. You may not think it’s possible for you to live a healthy active lifestyle, but it is. I’ve seen it happen. All you have to do is take a leap of faith and believe that you can create a new reality. Then force yourself to take the first step in the direction of that new reality, whether you feel like it or not.
You don’t need to be motivated. All you need is a BIG enough reason (your BIG WHY) why it’s important to you. Your BIG WHY is what’s going to keep you going when you lack motivation and feel like quitting.You don't need to be motivated. All you need is a BIG enough reason (your BIG WHY). Click To Tweet
Remember, we are only on this earth for a very short time, so why not ignite your fire, energize your life and come alive? The world needs what you’ve got.
If you hate to exercise, leave a comment below and let me know how you stay physically active.