"I often hear from a lot of people that although they know exercise is good for them, it’s just too difficult to keep up the motivation to do it regularly."
It’s pretty hard, isn’t fun, and is one of those things that is all too easily bypassed on a busy day.
My response to this is: ‘Oh, you’re talking about gruelling physical training, yes I’m not a fan either…’ - which is usually met with surprise, after all, isn’t that what I did every day?
The short answer is NO!
"To many, ‘exercise’ has negative connotations - it is seen as something in addition to their lives, something punishing yet necessary."
If I were to partake in something I hated on a regular basis, my motivation would fizzle out pretty quick too.
To many, ‘exercise’ has negative connotations - it is seen as something in addition to their lives, something punishing yet necessary.
I believe this is not a useful way to look at things. Essentially exercise is anything that requires you to move your body and use your muscles.
That could be ANY activity;
A walk, dancing, playing swingball in your garden, bringing your shopping in from the car….even building IKEA flat-pack furniture!
Whatever takes your fancy, if you’re moving, you’re exercising, full stop.
If viewed in this way, ‘exercise’ doesn’t seem as daunting - after all, who dreads gardening or catching up with friends on a walk? These things are usually anticipated with pleasure, yet rarely are they connected with the idea of exercise.
"Once you’ve found your niche - that activity you just can’t get enough of, ‘exercising’ will be a cinch."
The best advice I’d ever heard was to find something you love, & you’ll never work a day in your life. The same goes for exercise - find something you enjoy, and you’ll never shudder at the thought of it again.
In fact, you’ll look forward to it and make sure you’ve made time for it, regardless of how busy you are.
For me, it’s music: I love moving my body to it & facilitating a space (both mental and physical) for others to do the same. - hello group exercise, where have you been all my life?
As an instructor, I have the best’ job’ in the world. I get to do what I love, release pent up stress and emotions, and create a fun and care-free experience for others.
Once you’ve found your niche - that activity you just can’t get enough of, ‘exercising’ will be a cinch - you won’t even realise you’re exercising - you’ll be living and loving your life. Who wouldn’t want that?
Once you build this activity into a habit, it will become almost hard-wired into your routine, keeping you moving even on those ‘off-days’ when you don’t feel like it.
"The good news is that we live in an ever-connected and advancing world with an endless capacity to surprise and inspire."
Think of all the times in bed when you didn’t feel like getting up for a pee - you didn’t just lay there until you wet yourself because you weren’t ‘feeling a pee today’ - you just got up and went! It’s hard-wired into you and something you don’t avoid.
This is what actively moving and enjoying your body will feel like once you find the activity that’s right for you.
I can genuinely say I’ve never not felt better after a class than before I went in - including those days when I wasn’t ‘feeling it’!
So don’t feel disheartened if you’re not a runner, or if endlessly picking up weights then putting it down just doesn’t appeal to you.
We’re all different.
Maybe the conventional or on-trend exercise fads aren’t for you - no big deal!
The good news is that we live in an ever-connected and advancing world with an endless capacity to surprise and inspire.
The chances are if you haven’t found anything you like yet, there is a special something just waiting to be discovered by you!
I’m confident that when you do, you’ll stop seeing exercise as exercise - You’ll see it for what it is - an enjoyable and fulfilling way to spend your time.
Ana-Maria Barrow is a part-time group exercise instructor and personal trainer of 6 years and a freelance content writer while applying for med school. Her fitness teachings vary from balance, pump, combat, step and attack. She enjoys choreography and music and anything to do with group exercise.