Consider some activities that you enjoy doing that include movement. Do you like to dance, play tennis, go for a walk, ride a bike, lift weights, tend a garden, play, Foosball, Frisbee or Frisbee golf, run, yoga, badminton…okay, you get the drift. So many people feel they need to engage in high cardio activities that include sweat and muscle aches in order to be “exercising.” What is your goal when you exercise? It can be many things. When I want to run in a 5k or other race my exercise needs to be running, unless of course I just wish to participate in a 5k walk, which is fine too. If my goal is to simply not be sitting for long stretches of time then you can do any number of activities to support this, which could include cooking or making a quilt. I do not like to engage in activity that feels like drudgery. Oh I’ve done this, running miles outside when it’s cold or on a treadmill while training for a marathon in the winter, but we are not always training for a marathon and most people wish to simply not be inert.
If you want to reap the benefits of physical activity and not feel like it’s such hard work, it’s okay to find fun and less time consuming ways of doing it then 45 minutes of intense workout. If you are currently doing nothing in particular for exercise, in other words zero time in exercise, then you could gain benefits from adding 5 or 10 minutes of stretching or seated yoga? Going for a walk around the block takes about this long too. The key is to make something a habit that feels doable, feels good, or that you consider to be fun.
We tend to get this idea that we have to do what all the fitness gurus suggest we do for a set period of time to consider it an exercise routine. We feel judged or we judge ourselves for missing a workout or not spending enough time doing the activity, or we didn’t break a sweat doing it. Each person is different with different goals, capabilities, needs, and desires. If you are unhappy with how you feel and you think that exercise will improve your well-being then you should absolutely kick it up a notch but make sure you are doing something you enjoy or you will not be able to sustain it. I love doing things that get me to exercise when I really don’t even think of it as hard work because it’s fun. I played two hours of tennis last week with some great people. I had no idea how much time I had been doing it. I was having fun, sweating, and got muscle aches afterward but it was all worth it. Go find fun ways to move, don’t be hard on yourself for missing days or not spending the time you thought was enough, and take care of yourself. Find joy in what you do for movement. It is okay if you don’t want to exercise. No one has to live with the results of your decision but you.