Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Fitness expert Sarah Cowley looks at ways to find joy in movement.
When we enjoy something we are far more likely to want to do it again. The same applies to exercise.
You need to find your thing. That’s your thing, not my thing, because it’s highly likely that’s not the same thing. Whether it’s dancing, yoga, hiking, hill sprints or tennis, research tells us when we enjoy a physical activity, we are far more consistent at sticking with it long term.
It doesn’t have to fit the traditional model of exercise (for example, gym, running, swimming, cycling). If that’s not your gig, you have plenty of other options to move your body. In our busy lives, participating in physical activities that we enjoy, rather than punishing ourselves in order to be fit or be a particular shape, is the way to find joy in exercise. You will progress so much faster to any goal when you have a sense of enjoyment through the challenge of fitness.
When you find what you love doing, exercise-wise, try to do it with people you love, to add even more fun to the mix. We’re a sociable nation, with physical activity woven through our DNA, so creating social options around exercise is a recipe for success.
Be courageous in trying some new physical activities because you might surprise yourself with what you end up liking. This was certainly the case for me when I randomly did a kung fu class a few years ago, when I was overseas.
Having never done a martial art before and not really being a fighter, I wasn’t initially keen. But I found I thoroughly enjoyed the class and moving my body in a different way. It made me realise the benefit of giving something a go before totally writing it off.
We know exercise gives tremendous physical health benefits. But, more and more, the mental health gains have become my reason to make exercise a priority in my day.
Feeling good is far more than a measurement on the scales or your jeans size. It’s about feeling great in your own skin and feeling strong and energised mentally and physically. Make it your mission to do what you enjoy, and you’ll reach your goals a whole lot faster.
1 Start in a plank position with your heels up against the wall.
1 On hands and feet in press-up position, switch on your lower abdominals by drawing your belly button towards your spine. An alternative position would be on your knees, as you develop your strength.