Sometimes, it is hard to find the joy in exercise. That line between pleasure and pain gets blurred pretty darn easily. But a few small adjustments or additions could make exercise seem more like a fun new hobby.
Studies have shown that people who listen to music while exercising run harder, swim faster, or complete more repetitions than those who don't. It doesn't have to be hard club beats, it just has to be whatever invigorates and inspires you, says Costas Karageorghis, PhD, of Brunel University London, author of the most recent study on music and exercise. Other research suggests that matching the rhythm of the music to the cadence of your workout will also help.
If that one isn't enough to help you along, here are 5 more ways to enjoy your workout:
A study from Aarhus University in Denmark, shows that adding an element of competition to your workout can 'flip a switch' in your head that leads to more enjoyment. It could be something like trying to hit 5,000 steps a day or running a particular distance faster than you did last week. Whatever it is, scoring your exercise can help you stay focused and motivated.
Shake It Up
You don't eat the exact same meal for lunch every single day so why do you do the exact same workout every single day? So maybe yoga today, swimming tomorrow, spinning perhaps. Variety will keep you motivated and it will also help you enjoy what you are doing. Nothing worse than boredom.
Channel Your Inner Hippie
A study at the University of Exeter has shown that people who exercise in parks, nature trails or other 'green spaces' report more enjoyment while working out and are more likely to exercise again soon. So, get outdoors. It may change the way you feel about your exercise. Spring is here, no excuse now!
Guilt A Friend Into Coming With You
Studies have shown you are more likely to stick to your exercise and more likely to enjoy it if you have a friend with you. Try to pick a friend whose fitness levels match your own. Working out with someone in better or worse shape than you doesn't do much to for you as suggested by research from the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology
Walk, Don't Run
According to research in Preventative Medicine
, only 5 percent of women successfully adopt running as a regular exercise habit. The research also showed that women are 7 times more likely to take up moderate exercise like walking. Walking briskly can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for diabetes as effectively as running, shows research in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
. If you've tried to run but were unable to stick with it for whatever reason, slow things down and try walking. It is my exercise of choice and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
How do you make your workout fun? Share your thoughts in a comment.