Recently, I was trying to determine why certain people were faithful in attending my classes, while others worked out for awhile and then were seldom seen again. Was it that the regulars were more disciplined and dedicated to fitness? Yes, partly. But, even more than that, I realized that the regulars were having fun while exercising. And because they enjoy it so much, they return day after day. So, let's examine the different ways we can have fun while exercising.
Music can make a huge impact on your enjoyment of exercise.
Whether you are working out at home or at the gym; Walking, running, or jogging outside; Or taking part in a group fitness class, background music can enhance or even destroy the enjoyment of your workout. When a group of class participants was asked what they felt was the most important feature of an exercise class, the major answered, "The music." We all have our favorite type of music, so in my classes I use texts that offer variety and come from different time periods. I find that tapes and CDs with well defined beats and vocals are the most popular – participants like to move to the rhythm and sing along when they recognize a song.
When many of the students come up to me at the end of a class and exclaim how much they liked the music, I make sure that I use that tape of CD often. I play the tapes loudly enough to motivate, yet not so loud that they cause damage to the eardrums. If you work out individually, I suggest that you invest in some high-energy tapes with music you enjoy. There is nothing harder than exercising to no music. Time that usually is speeding by slows to a halt, and you will feel that you have put in an hour that turns out to be only five or ten minutes when you look at the clock.
Choose your exercise partner and / or partners with care.
If you crave time alone because of a hectic life schedule, or you just enjoy being on your own, then exercise on your own – your exercise partner is you. Even if you go to a gym, you can work on machines, with weights, or on a track without contact with others. If, however, you enjoy group interaction, choose a class or a time at the gym when others you enjoy are in attendance. Even though there is some distracting conversation, I notice that when class participants enjoy each other, there is a lot more fun and energy generated during the class. Those working out are laughing and smiling, singing and calling out, and motivating each other.
Quite a few of my students tend to stay around for a time after the class to ask questions, talk with me and / or each other, and encourage each other. Another alternative is to run or walk with or to go to the gym with a friend or family member. It will make the exercising more enjoyable and more regular. There may be a day when one of you does not feel like working out, but the other will exert some pressure to do it anyway. And I generally find that even on the days when I wake up far from enthusiastic about exercising, once I start, I have fun!
Pick your form of exercise with care.
Very few people have the discipline to stay with an exercise program that they do not enjoy and have fun doing. I'm not saying that pushing and challenging your body is always "fun and games" – you will experience resistance from your body, mind, and muscles. I am suggesting, for example, that if you do not like group activities, do not force yourself to take a crowded fitness class – you will not have fun and you will not stick with it.
If you enjoy competitive sports, you can find others who will play tennis, racquet ball, squash, basketball, volley ball, or any other sport you enjoy. Other great and fun forms of exercise include ice skating, roller skating, walking, bicycling, hiking, swimming, and dancing. All of these can be practiced alone or with others and all of these forms of exercise are readily available in the Cleveland area and can be pursued by all ages.
Ask yourself if you are having fun when exercising. If you are not, that may be why you are not exercising much or at all. Make it happen!