Getting in shape and maintaining a healthy weight is simple: Just eat a sensible diet and exercise regularly. The problem is that “simple” doesn’t necessarily mean “easy.” Keeping up with an exercise routine can be downright hard. That’s why it’s so important to find fun exercise that you enjoy and look forward to doing.
Fun means different things to different people, so you have to figure out what works for you. You may need to try several different activities or classes before finding some you enjoy. The important thing is that you find ways to be active while having a good time.
As this article by Dr. Andrew Weil points out, if exercise is not fun or if you do not see benefits from it fairly quickly, you might lose your motivation to continue. He suggests several ways to make aerobic exercise more fun and help the time fly by quickly:
- Walk, run, or bike outdoors in a scenic environment.
- Work out with a friend.
- Exercise to upbeat music.
- Watch TV or read while on exercise equipment.
- Listen to audio books or foreign language lessons.
Here are a few more ideas to make exercise more fun:
- Mix it up by varying your activities so you won’t get bored.
- Keep track of when you work out so you can see your progress.
- Coordinate a good-natured competition with some friends.
- Use technology such as a fitness app to increase your motivation.
Dr. Weil emphasizes the importance of “play” in relation to exercise:
Ideally exercise should be fun, not drudgery, and you should be able to do it without being conscious of the passage of time. If you are always counting the minutes till you can stop, you are not having fun. Young children will wrestle playfully for hours, developing strength, coordination, and agility while getting a terrific aerobic workout and having the time of their lives. It is a pity that more grown-ups don’t do the same.
Exercise does not have to be boring. Remember, you’re much more likely to reach your fitness goals if you can find activities that you enjoy and that make you feel like you’re “playing” rather than “working.”