It’s no wonder the majority of people find it hard to love exercise when we have been programmed to think of it as something we ‘should be doing’ whether we like it or not to ‘look better.’ We’ve been told no pain, no gain, so it’s got to be painful for it to work, right? Sore muscles are a badge of honour so if you’re not aching maybe you’re not doing it right? Maybe you should try something harder or more intense? If you’re enjoying it, isn’t it probably too easy?
It seems we are always on the lookout for a bigger and better workout with fitness class trends changing as fast as fashion trends. But what if the exercise you enjoy doing isn’t the best at burning calories or of the highest intensity? Does it make you feel guilty or lazy that you prefer yoga or Pilates to a hard-core gym session?
Our society’s obsession with weight loss seems to force us into trying exercise we feel like we should be doing for results. There is a feeling of ‘what’s the point?’ if you’re not going to end up dropping a dress size or gaining a six pack. Exercise is now being used as a punishment for putting on weight or for having a bad diet.
Trying to stick at something you don’t enjoy ultimately leads to falling out with exercise all together. Also, when weight loss is the primary reason for exercising, if the pounds don’t come off quick enough you are liable to give up.
There are so many arguments about what you should be doing for fat loss, for a more toned bum, for killer abs, the list goes on. Some now think if it doesn’t involve going to the gym and lifting weights it’s not a real workout.
These myths surrounding what exercise should look and feel like can result in an all or nothing approach whereby it’s easy to give up when you feel like you can’t do what you ‘should’ be doing.
But there is no need to write off low intensity exercise as pointless if you enjoy it and there is no need to write off a whole week for missing one workout. There is no need to feel guilty for not fitting in those x number of steps per day or x number of hours of exercise per week.
It’s far better to focus on doing what you can and when you can.
It can be hard at first to see how the recommended amount and type of exercise we should be doing per week can fit into our busy lives. Of course, we are told that to get maximum benefits from our workouts we should be getting our hearts pumping and getting out of breath. This is of course important for weight loss. I have mentioned many times before, I support weight loss where it is required for better health.
However, we shouldn’t just be focusing on exercising for weight loss. There are so many other benefits and if we shift our focus on to these it can shift the way we view exercise and change our relationship with it.
It could be as simple as the reason you enjoy going to a certain class is because you get to see your friend. You might find a certain type of exercise more fun or more relaxing. Exercise can help with mood, stress, health problems, and mobility. You name it, it can probably help! You will find yourself exercising more and more regularly when you change your focus.
Learn to love exercise for all the positive reasons.