You know you need to exercise, you want to exercise. But you keep hitting roadblocks that get in your way or knock you off course.
Humans are motivated by two things: the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure. So to overcome the roadblocks, we need to maximize the pleasure of exercising and minimize the pain.
How to Maximize the Pleasure of Exercise
- Make it fun. Maybe this means joining a class. You can try dancing, or tai chi, or yoga. You can play sports like tennis, racquetball, volleyball, soccer. Maybe you enjoy walking in the woods, or riding your bike around. Perhaps working around the yard or in your garden.
- Set some goals and then achieve them. That gives you a feeling of success which is pleasurable. Goals can be about speed, distance, number of reps, or time done. For example, climbing on the Stairmaster and trying to do 80 floors in 20 minutes. And then feeling like such a beast when you are done.
- Listen to enjoyable music when you exercise, or music that pumps you up (Rocky, Top Gun, Born to be Wild, etc.). There are lots of sources for that these days, and many are free. YouTube, Spotify or Pandora are some of them. And you can use your smartphone and headphones while doing the treadmill, elliptical, bike, or Stairmaster.
- Get an exercise buddy to work out with. The two of you can challenge and encourage each other.
- Reward yourself. Give yourself a healthy pleasurable reward after exercise. A long hot pulsating shower, a mini-massage in one of those electric massage chairs, or get your own hand-held massager. Or grab a serving or two of your favorite fresh and cold fruit. Even a few Hershey’s kisses aren’t a bad idea (unless you can’t stop at 3 of them).
Is Fear Stopping You from Exercising?
Fear of looking stupid or awkward when you exercise? Tell yourself, “Who cares?” You don’t know these people! Remind yourself that this is for the good of YOU.
Or maybe you are afraid because you don’t know how to use certain equipment. So swallow your pride and just ASK someone!
I remember asking a trainer at the health club how to use a certain exercise tool, the Bosu ball, and after he showed me how he could balance on it, I was empowered to do the same thing. Now I can balance on it like crazy, which I didn’t think I could do before that.
Finally, if you think gym memberships are too expensive, then check out Cardinal Fitness or Charter Fitness, or Planet Fitness. They’re all $10/month. C’mon, who can’t afford that?
So go out there and have fun and get fit!
Forum Health Bloomingdale is dedicated to supporting you throughout your health journey. For more information on health coaching, nutrition counseling and more, contact us today.
Dr. William Epperly, Fellow American Academy of Family Practice
Fellow American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy
Member of Christian Medical and Dental Society.