More, and more, I see memes and jokes on social media about how people hate exercise and celebrate being lazy. And I’ll admit, I have a bit of a chuckle at photos of pugs kicking back eating pizza and all my friends commenting “this is so me”. But, are we encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle? And why do we hate exercise? Well, I’m writing this to tell you that if you hate exercise, you are doing something wrong.
What mode is for you?
Exercise isn’t a one size fits all model. We all hate something, until about a year or so ago I absolutely despised running. So if that is turning you off exercise and is going to stop you from keeping active, don’t do it!
There are plenty of other ways to get your cardiovascular exercise in. Cycling, hiking, rowing, swimming, and surfing, just to name a few. Not a fan of lifting heavy weights at the gym? Maybe a home exercise routine with resistance bands or a Pilates class is more for you. As long as your exercise regime incorporates musculoskeletal strengthening, balance and proprioception, mobility, stability, and cardiovascular exercise, there is no wrong answer.
Learn to love the feeling.
Most of us have trained ourselves to near exhaustion at some point in our life, and it sucks! But I guarantee, that you felt great that afternoon and for the next few days after that (with the exception of DOMs of course). This is sometimes known as runner’s high and is caused by the release of molecules in our body that give us a euphoric feeling and can also improve performance. In both the long term, and the short term, exercise has been repeatedly shown to increase the quality of life, reduce stress, reduce anxiety/depression, improve mood and decrease the effect of mental health conditions.
Track your results.
Nothing is more motivating than seeing your hard work paying off. Now, this can be something quantitative like losing 5kg or bench pressing 90kg, but often the most rewarding achievements are the simple ones that sometimes go unnoticed like climbing up a set of stairs without being short of breath or enjoying an overseas holiday pain-free. And just as achieving your goals can motivate oneself, not seeing the desired result can also be used to encourage yourself to work even harder.
Get a gym buddy.
Every day I see men and women at the gym, giving each other a ‘spot’ or providing words of encouragement, in between selfies of course. Working as a team and seeing someone you care about reach their goals too is an excellent motivator. So what I’m going to suggest today is that you let us be your gym buddy. As an Exercise Physiologist, we are going to keep you accountable, keep you focused on your goals through regular reviews, and set you up to succeed through individualised programming and dietary advice. And on top of all that, our goal is to help you achieve your goals, which in turn means you are helping us achieve ours!