Does the thought of hitting the gym fill you with dread? Break out in a cold sweat at the idea of a morning jog? Rather be lifting the TV remote than dumbbells?
We all know that exercise is good for us – it makes us stronger and fitter, reduces our risk of various diseases, energises us, lowers anxiety and depression… and just generally makes us feel great. When we actually do it! But let’s be honest, who hears the word ‘workout’ and thinks ‘yippee!’?!
For many of us, we think of working out as something we SHOULD do, rather than want to do. Look at the difference between these two statements:
‘I know I should workout because it’s good for me’
‘I want to workout because it’s good for me and I care about my wellbeing’
If we can shift our way of thinking about healthy lifestyle changes to one that’s more like the second statement, we are more likely to succeed. So that’s a start. But words can only go so far. We want to actually enjoy our workout not just be more willing to suffer through it!
We’ve all seen kids charging about, jumping, skipping, and climbing in a state of utter joy. So maybe they hold the secret to exercise ecstasy? Perhaps to really enjoy our workouts, we need to embrace our inner child.
In other words, we need to think like a kid.
1. I’m bored of this game
There are so many exercise options outside of the obvious gym, running and cross fit. The key to enjoying your workout and keeping it sustainable might be to mix it up a bit. Get creative! Why not look around for an obscure class, or try a martial art. There are so many weird and wacky workout videos on youtube (check out this gem – Prancercise!) you can try in the safety, and privacy, of your own home! Guaranteed to elevate your heart-rate and give you a good laugh at the same time.
Try new things and get creative! If you get bored of your current workout or class, don’t give up completely, just try something else.
Getting into a routine and sticking with it is key to forming long-lasting, healthy habits. But it’s also great to get in some impromptu exercise whenever you have opportunity throughout the day. Pick up your walking pace, hop on your bike, and dance around the house! Know what I do while I’m writing articles? I play music and dance in my chair, pretty much throughout the day. I’m doing it right now. Seriously. Embrace the playfulness of kids and skip your way through the day!
3. Make believe
Use visualisation to get through a tough workout or stay motivated. Imagine yourself as an Olympian, a prima ballerina or a champion boxer in the ring. Rehearse your moves in your head before doing them, imagine executing them with strength and accuracy. Visualisation is a powerful technique that can help you achieve your goals and make long-term changes to the mind and body. Basically, you are creating through believing.
4. You’re it!
Enlist some like-minded buddies to workout with. It’s a great way to stay motivated, more fun than working out alone, and makes it more difficult to skive off! In fact, studies show that people who workout with a partner are 5 times more likely to exercise. So schedule in some play dates and get moving!
5. Let’s be explorers!
I’ve never seen my kids happier than when they are chasing birds or jumping in muddy puddles. Nature is incredibly therapeutic, get outside and take in the sights. It’s so much more enjoyable than exercising indoors. Plus it has loads of positive effects on the mind including reducing stress, anger, depression, as well as being energising. An hour long woodland ‘bear hunt’ can burn around 500 calories.
Go easy on yourself if you do miss a workout or two. When working out begins to feel like a chore, switch it up to avoid creating a negative association with exercise. And finally, just have fun with it! ‘No pain no gain’ is a load of nonsense.