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For some of us, understanding the physical and health benefits of regular exercise isn’t sufficient to help us overcome our deep hatred of the process. A person can know that exercise is important, but still hate it.

Every hurdle to overcome is nearly insurmountable to this kind of exercise-hater. The drive to the gym? Finding the time? Getting up early? Buying the right equipment? Spending the money? Working hard? Physical discomfort? It can all make you want to give up if you’re not having fun.

Can You Find Your Follow Through?

Perhaps your distaste for exercise is so deep-seated that you don’t even know why you hate it so much. You may have a history of starting and stopping new routines, of gym memberships you wasted your money on, and of exercise DVDs left unopened on the shelf. Maybe exercise sounds like a dreaded task for you, and you’ve never even been to a gym because the whole thing sounds both intimidating and miserable.

If you’re someone who hates exercising, it can be hard to find the motivation to try again. So what can you do? Is there any way to exercise without dreading it?

The first thing you need to know is this: you can learn to tolerate exercise–and even enjoy it! At Elite Training Tulsa, we have seen countless clients who have major hesitations about regular exercise because they’ve had such unpleasant experiences before joining us. So how can it be done? What are the steps to becoming someone who doesn’t just tolerate exercise, but who actually enjoys it?

Tip #1: BABY STEPS!

This one is important. All too often, people try to go from inactive to super active without enough time to build a good habit. If you don’t pace yourself, you can end up discouraged, frustrated, and worst of all, injured. Small, consistent improvements to your physical activity levels will be more sustainable over time.

Tip #2: Create accountability.

There are so many different ways to create opportunities for accountability! You may want to start working out with a friend–someone who cares about you and won’t judge you, but will keep you in check. You may also benefit from setting a goal, like signing up for a 5K race as a goal. Knowing that there is a specific event on a specific date in the near future can help you stay accountable long enough to build some new habits, rather than quitting right when things get tough.

Some people even recommend getting a dog as a great way to guarantee that you start getting more exercise. When an animal depends on you, you have a great reason to go walking, running, and hiking, and it can be far more enjoyable. Obviously, this isn’t something to do on a whim, but if you have been considering a new pet, their needs can definitely help keep you accountable to regular physical activity.

Tip #3: Don’t do it alone.

Whether it’s a friend, a partner, a family member, a trainer, an online support group, or a group class that you commit to, social connections during exercise can help so much. It’s not just about accountability, either!

This is about making friends, giving yourself time to build new relationships or strengthen existing ones, and feeling supported during this challenge. Knowing that you’re going to get to hang out with someone you enjoy can be enough to give you a boost from not wanting to go to really enjoying yourself when you’re there.

Tip #4: Figure out what makes it fun for you.

Not everybody loves the same things. One reason that people can get the idea that they hate exercise is that they have always tried to force themselves to like something that isn’t a good match. Some people love running; others need group cardio classes. There are people who love treadmills, and others who find them tedious and awful. People intimidated by weight machines and free weights may have avoided them, not realizing they would really enjoy it if they tried.

You’ve got to make sure that you’re trying out a variety of activities and taking note of what you enjoy. Don’t forget to incorporate things you enjoy in other parts of life, too. If you love music, you’ll probably do best with music during exercise. If you thrive on being outdoors, then exercising outside will probably be easier to sustain than just using exercise machines. If you like challenging yourself, then repeating the same workout DVD every day isn’t going to be your path to success. Figure out what makes exercise fun for you, and then stick with that

Tip #5: Keep track of your goals and successes.

At Elite Training Tulsa, we recommend making goals. Short-term and long-term goals are helpful in their own ways. Making goals allows you to recognize where you want to improve and then take the actions that will help you get there. Goals tracking also gives you small and large milestones to celebrate along your journey. Everybody loves a celebration, so keeping track of your successful goals will make exercise much more fun!

We hope these five tips keep you feeling good while you’re learning exercise without dreading it!

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