Bringing Back the Joy or Exercise

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Need Motivation To Exercise? Until recently, I had always loved to exercise. I love to feel the sweat. I love feeling the burn. I love feeling sore for days. I know I am doing good things for my body when I can feel all those things. But that all stopped for me. Has it stopped for you?

When I look at how I went from enjoying exercise to not enjoying it anymore, I realized that the idea of it being fun had taken a back seat to something else. I was working out in order to reach a goal. When I was not able to reach that goal by the date I had set, it became a huge disappointment. That disappointment transformed into a mindset of “exercise is not worth it.” Sound familiar?

Regardless of how good I felt after exercising, I did not want to ever have to go through another disappointment like the one I had faced. It wasn’t a failure as much as it was the idea that I could never do it no matter how hard I tried. And this is probably what happens with many people.

Many of us think that exercise should be something that we do in order to reach a goal. That goal could be like mine where I wanted to compete in a sport that requires reaching a certain level of athleticism. For you, it just may be “working out regularly” or completing a marathon or something that everyone wants to do but people get stuck in a rut. And if we are unable to reach that goal no matter how small or how big, then we become discouraged and we just stop.

So how do you bring back the joy of exercise when a goal, even hitting the gym 3 days a week, seems impossible? Maybe we need to view exercise from a different perspective. What if instead of it being a tool to reach a goal, we saw it as something we could have fun with? Maybe the reason isn’t as important as the fun part?

I am SO fortunate to have a 10-year-old who reminds me constantly that exercise should be fun. In fact, having her around has made it easier for me to remember what it was like to exercise when I was a kid. I never exercised, I played – on the monkey bars, the playground, hanging upside down, etc.

Bringing Back the Joy or Exercise
Bringing Back the Joy or Exercise

Because of her, it occurred to me that rather than using the phrase “time to exercise” I use the phrase “time to play.” For some odd reason, using that little phrase has taken the idea of a chore out of my mindset completely.

Thankfully, I practice a discipline that my daughter has fun with too – aerial yoga (on the silks). This fun activity takes me back to my childhood when I used to play on the monkey bars and hang upside down. Now I can put in my calendar, “Time To Play” instead of “EXERCISE” because it makes me feel excited in a new way.

So if you want to benefit from what I am sharing with you, think about what you would be doing if in your calendar it said something like, “Time To Play” or “Time to Have Fun” or anything which would excite you. What would you be doing at that time on that day? Swimming? Riding a trail on a mountain bike? Kickboxing at home with the help of a DVD? Maybe it could be hiking or even going for a walk and stopping to do push-ups and planks?

You could even get a bit more colorful with how you view it and how you put it in your calendar and put “Aquaman Tryouts” if you have fun swimming. Mountain biking could become “Boulder Bouncing” or some other fun description. Kickboxing could become “Kicking A$$ @Home” or whatever fun description you can imagine. Anything to shift the way you view that activity from one of drudgery to one of fun. And the result is joy…and sweat…and fun…and maybe even feeling sore for days!

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