How many times have you started, stopped, then restarted and stopped, then rerestarted and stopped an exercise program? For most people, probably more times than they can count. Now ask yourself this, “When was the last time you had fun exercising”? Silly question, right? Sadly, for most people the answer is probably never.
It’s an unfortunate misconception about the fitness industry that exercise and fun can’t be one in the same. Exercising DOES NOT have to suck. People need to get away from the notion that “exercising” has to involve gym memberships, skin-tight neon-colored workout clothes and personal trainers who’s idea of a good workout is making you puke.
The reality is most people won’t start a workout program, and certainly won’t stick to a workout program, if they hate it. I certainly wouldn’t. It’s time to redefine what exercise is and what you need to do to get and stay physically fit.
The American College of Sports Medicine gives us this definition for exercise:
“Exercise is planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movement done to improve or maintain one or more physical fitness components. Progressive overloading is necessary to improve specific fitness components. Exercise, conditioning, and physical training are terms that are used interchangeably.”
Quick quiz: can you find the words gym, weights, treadmill, puke, dumbbells, personal trainer, boring, painful in that definition? Feel free to reread that it a few times if you need to.
Exercise, according to this definition, can be anything involving repetitive bodily movement done to improve or maintain one or more physical fitness components. Right? Nowhere in that definition does it say exercise has to be something you hate. It doesn’t! So find something you love to do that requires repetitive bodily movement. Let’s put some fun back into exercise! I’ve been in the fitness industry for over a decade and even I get sick of the gym sometimes. So what’s the solution? I get my butt outside and go play! I pretend that I’m still an athlete and play beach volleyball or flag football or I’ll go to a park and make up a workout with sprints, resistance bands or use the best piece of equipment on the planet- my body weight.
Think about the activities you enjoy that require movement and apply them to this definition. Go swim, bike, surf, hike, rock climb, run, dance, play tennis, play rec. sports, yoga, chase your kids. Grab some friends and a football, soccer ball, baseball, softball, dodge ball or Frisbee and go play. If you’re one of those people that enjoy going to the gym and working out, or doing boot camps, group exercise or Crossfit, knock yourself out! I guarantee that if you can have fun exercising you won’t have any trouble sticking with it long-term.