Have you noticed that when you love to do something, you don’t have to put too much effort into making it happen? Harvey MacKay, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author, and syndicated columnist says it best when he says, “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Creating a healthy and balanced lifestyle is about figuring out what makes you happy. The problem is, we forget to give ourselves permission to be happy and joyful. We lose ourselves in all of the advice and get easily confused about who we truly are. Getting to know yourself is key in making exercise and movement a life-long habit. And this is a key you want to hold.
What Does Finding an Exercise You Enjoy Really Mean?
Finding an exercise you like and enjoy simply means you’re having fun doing it! One question you may want to ask yourself is: “What type of fitness can I see myself doing for the rest of my life?”
For those of you who have already found it, this answer may come easy. For others, it may be time to tap into your creative self and affirm your answer to this very question.
Don’t be afraid to open yourself up and try something new. Fear is there to protect us but it can also keep us stuck. Take time to look at your fears and ask yourself what may be keeping you stuck.
Maybe your fear is “I’m afraid I can’t keep up” or “I don’t know how to use the machines” or “I ended up hurting myself last time.”
Keep in mind that fitness is a journey, not a destination. If you’re afraid you can’t keep up, do the moves slower until you get stronger. Safety comes first in any situation. Many people have this preconceived notion that the gym is filled with people with perfect bodies. This simply isn’t true. People visiting the gym and even those holding gym memberships are just like everyone else and everyone’s goal is to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Even if you’re really out of shape, don’t worry about it and don’t obsess over your appearance. You’ll find many supportive people every place you go.
The bottom line is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and be the real you. Never forget that you’re not alone. Most importantly, go at your own pace and be safe! Asking for help and assistance is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Don’t hesitate to ask a gym employee or trainer for help. That’s what these people are there for and they are happy to assist you. Most likely, they’re cheering you on each step of the way!
Exercising regularly has many benefits. Some of these may include:
- Improving your mood
- Boosting your energy
- Falling asleep faster (Tip: Don’t exercise too closely to bedtime or it may inhibit you from falling asleep because of increased energy!)
- Reducing LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol
- Kickstarting weight loss
- Strengthening and defining muscles
- Building stronger bones
- Lowering your heart rate and blood pressure
- Improving self-esteem
- Reducing levels of anxiety and depression
Kicking Excuses to the Curb
If you find yourself making excuses not to exercise and move, you may not have found your exercise joy. Take notice of when you find yourself making excuses about your exercise routine. Some of your excuses may include:
- I’m too tired to exercise
- I have too many things to do, I don’t have time
- I’m too old to start exercising
- I’m not athletic enough
- I don’t have the right outfits or clothes to start exercising
- Exercise is boring
- The kids have homework
If you find yourself making excuses, look for ways to turn them around. For example, if one of your excuses is that exercise is boring, find activities you love to do. If the gym makes you feel confined to small spaces, try taking a walk in nature. If you find yourself saying that you’re too tired, go for shorter, lower impact intervals. This is a great way to motivate yourself and fit some exercise into your daily routine.
It’s true that our children oftentimes have a bountiful amount of homework in hand when they hit the door after a long day at school. Children, however, need a break too. Taking a fifteen minute family break and playing tag or walking outside a great way to spend time together as a family and get in some much needed movement. Enjoy your time together and find creative ways to get your bodies moving.
Focus on What You Love to Do
If you hate going to the gym, most likely you won’t be able to get the most value for your money, no matter how good it may be for you. And that’s ok! If you love nature and being outdoors, hiking, biking and playing tennis may be the exact exercise program you’re looking for. Design your life and build your exercise routine around the activities and places you love and enjoy.
The Bottom Line
Exercise and physical activity is a great path to feeling better and finding balance. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each and every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for quite some time, have chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any other health concerns.