Posted by: Daisy | February 19, 2009

4 Quick Tips for Making Fitness Fun

mydogFetching helps you and Fido get fitter

Many of us have this misconception that leading a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and exercise routine means that there must be sacrifices to be made – from cutting out the fattening foods, to grudging visits to the gym – the word “healthy” has downright negative connotations. With that thought in the back of our mind, it’s no wonder that many people struggle with their weight loss goals.

I hear many people who have been prompted into a diet and exercise regime due to scare tactics: “I know of a 41 year old who died of a heart attack and left behind 2 kids” or “my parents are ill and I don’t want to become like them”. These scare tactics only work to prompt your short-term action – they may have gotten you physically into the gym, however, they are a difficult way to motivate you longer term.

If you’re serious about making it stick this time around, think beyond the external factors that drove you to action in the first place, and now focus on the internal factors – focus on the moment and the what you are enjoying right now while you’re exercising.

I discovered this only a few short years ago and my journey began when I found myself with post-pregnancy “body-issues”. I found myself with a few more pounds and in areas I never had bulges in. I kept saying to my friends with distress – “I’m not the same shape anymore”. And they told me I should stop whining and get used to it.

My husband and I joined the gym – I got on the treadmill, the bike, and the ellipticals and I felt like one of those hamsters in the wheel. I watched TV whilst I worked at this, and tried to focus on the goal – “this must be hard work, or else, I won’t get any better”.

I stayed away from the fitness classes because I had an impression they were “girly” and not serious about getting results. At the time, I guess I was stuck in the 80’s thinking fitness classes were more about wearing the right outfit, looking co-ordinated and beautiful without sweating too much. Hey – I kid you not – I remember seeing women in classes who would put on make-up before walking into a fitness class! Alas, that was another time, and in another world I suppose.

I finally tried a class – it was the least ‘girly’ one described – a martial arts inspired class with punches and kicks set to music – even some of my favourite music from the 80’s. It was a great start as I learned the moves, and discovered that sticking with a routine is much easier when you’re having fun. Back then, you could see me kicking, punching and singing my favourite songs while getting fitter. I was clearly enjoying this much more than my previous dealings while on the bike, treadmill, or elliptical.

I found what my body and mind enjoyed and that made the trips to the gym that much more likely, that much more fun and helped me get closer to my goals without really ‘working at it’. How’s that for positive motivation?

4 Quick Tips for making it fun

  • Find an activity you enjoy doing or try an activity you have not tried before. You won’t know what you’ll like until you try it. Give it a whirl, and try at least 2-3 times before deciding whether you enjoy it or not. I’d like to try belly dancing. What’s on your list?
  • Find additional ways to enjoy that activity – from favourite music to socializing with your friends – allow the activity to be multi-purpose
  • Smile and Laugh. You can always find something to be cheerful about. Remember that smiles are contagious so be a leader and start giving them out. You’ll get back smiles in spades and perhaps meet new like-minded people as well
  • Be in the moment – focus on what it feels like using all five of your senses and enjoy the endorphin rush.

I have loads of fun making my fitness classes fun and goofy – tell me how you make your fitness activities fun and enjoyable.

– Daisy

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Responses

  1. Alas, I’m one of those philistines that find exercise painful and irritating! I admire anyone who actually gets great enjoyment from it, and can stick with it too! My wife is one of those people who gets great benefit from her exercise regime. She never misses a day!

    The way I get exercise is to walk. A lot. I have to because I don’t drive. We don’t even own a car! This forces me to rely on public transport and my own feet to get me places. I’m actually grateful for this as I know I just wouldn’t stick with any kind of exercise routine… so walking does the trick because I have to do a lot of it. Besides, it’s more interesting seeing what’s around me when I’m out and about! 🙂

    I know others who walk as well. In fact, one person used to walk all the time, until she moved and had to get a car. Then she found she had to find alternate ways to get exercise again. So, keep walking! – Daisy

  2. Hey Daisy, I think I finally get this….’working out’ just to lose weight, improve my cholesterol level, cope with ‘body issues’ hasn’t and won’t work. Moreover, I’ve always been a team sport guy — never liked gyms/machines — unless it was part of team sport conditioning. A buddy who is an only child loves gyms…and disliked team sports. That could be part of it. But beyond that what I hear you saying is that you really have to ‘feel’ what you’re doing ‘in your body’….like a dancer.

    Keep me posted on how it’s going. 🙂 – Daisy


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