Exercise is a reward for the body and never a punishment.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. Go to any gym and witness all those unhappy sweaty people on their torture machines of choice trying to burn off last night’s indulgence.

That’s no fun, and ultimately this leads to a road of heartache and failure. Want proof?  More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese , but it’s not like Americans are taking their heath for granted.

According to data by Marketdata Enterprises, Americans spend $60 billion annually to try to lose pounds, on everything from paying for gym memberships and joining weight-loss programs to drinking diet soda. Something is out of whack.

Rather than continuing down the path of punishment, put the fun back into your fitness. According to Michelle Segar, author of No Sweat, enjoyment is the best motivator for exercise.

“Logic doesn’t motivate us; emotions do,” says Segar. In other words, people who exercise for enjoyment stick with it more than those who do so for medical reasons.  When you enjoy something, you’re more likely to do it again and exercise can be one of those things.

If exercise has become a chore or you need some extra oomph to stay on the fitness path, use the following strategies to put the enjoyment back into your fitness.

1. Play your favorite sport again

Think back to when you were a child.  What sports did you play? Was it baseball, football, soccer, track and field, basketball or hockey? Hopefully, it wasn’t that long ago. J

Now is the time to dust off those smooth moves. Take your fitness and moves to a recreation league or your local YMCA. Now you can base your exercise routine around your sport and exercise with a purpose.

 

2. Have a change of scenery and bring a friend

Going to the same gym, using the same equipment, doing the same exercises and seeing the same people slaving away will get stale in a hurry.

Instead, go train at a friend’s gym or take your training outside with resistance bands or your own bodyweight. Run sprints at your local park or try a group exercise class that you’ve never done before.

These are only a few suggestions. Please go and get creative.

3. Play

 Play seems like a foreign concept as we grow older and have the added responsibility of being an adult. Instead, I want you to think back to when you were a child, when you moved and played in ways that made you happy.

Do you think children needs to go to the gym and bore themselves to death on a treadmill? I think not.

Instead, jump rope, play catch with a friend (or with your child), insert yourself in one of your kids’ games or take your dogs for a walk and throw them a ball. Before you know it, you’ll be sweating, smiling and having fun without realizing it’s exercise. Who would have thought?

4. Friendly competition

Exercising with a partner has been shown to increase exercise adherence. Use these fun drills will a friend and you’ll be sweating and smiling in no time.

Stability ball wrestle

ball

You and your partner will be too busy trying to knock each other off balance, rather than realizing that you’re working on your ankle stability/mobility, balance and core stability.

Set up – Put one foot on top the ball making sure your knee is bent 90 degrees. Your partner puts the opposite foot on the ball.

Rules– Both people are trying to knock the other one off balance by rolling the ball aggressively with their feet.

This exercise can be done as a timed warm-up, for 30 seconds or so on each foot.  Or you can turn this into a friendly competition. Every time some loses his/her balance it results in a point for the opponent. First to 5 or 10 wins. J

The boxer

This exercise with work on your power, muscular endurance and hand-to-eye coordination. You’ll be too busy hitting your partner’s hands to realize any of this.

Set up– Use a resistance band with handles looped round a solid anchor point. Bring hands to shoulder level and keep the resistance band tight.  Your partner puts hands up, open palms facing forward and away from the face.

Rules- Hit the open palm (with a clinched fist), one hand at a time. Your partner can change his/her hand position up, down or left and right to increase the challenge.

Do this for time (30 seconds) and record the amount of hits, and then your partner can try to beat it. Winner takes all, baby.

Wrapping up

Rather than slaving away and exercise becoming some kind of chore, insert some fun into your routine to keep on the fitness straight and narrow.

 

 

 

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