Staying Fit When You Hate to Exercise

 

Do you want to stay fit, but hate to exercise?  Me, too!

The effects of living on this earth for more than half a century has begun to take its toll. But I refuse to believe that accepting “aging” and becoming less active is my only option.

However……no matter how hard I have tried to convince myself I like to exercise, I just don’t enjoy it.  

BUT, now that I am in my ThirdThird (ages 60-90), I know that it is more important than ever to find some way to stay active.  

So, here are 11 ways I convince myself to keep moving.
Maybe one or two will boost you along as well.

1. Know the big why that makes the effort worth it.

Keeping up with grandkids and being able to enjoy their activities requires climbing bleachers, carrying camp chairs and other movement.  I  like to travel and being able to get in and out of a vehicle and making it to an airport gate are easier if you are somewhat fit.  Want to start a business? You’ll need energy and stamina.

2. Be satisfied with reality.

You don’t have to run a marathon or even a 5K to be fit. My husband loves to run. I have tried and tried to love running with him, but I just don’t. Walking, I can do. But walking in an organized event that times me and compares me I don’t think of as fun.  So, reality is that taking a walk alone and listening to podcasts gets me moving, so that is what I do. And, I will do yoga classes or cds.

3. Find something, anything.

Don’t like to run? Swim. Don’t like to be in cold water? Walk. Don’t like to be outside? Find an indoor track. Want to be outdoors? Try a kayak.  Just find some way to keep moving and active that you will do regularly.

4. Get convinced it’s important.  

In my recent reading, I see common information saying 95% of disease is life-style related. Also, I read that the number one reason people enter assisted living is because they need help to get themselves off a toilet.  Those two statistics motivate me to keep moving.  And to eat intentionally to control my weight.

5. Find your motivation.

Mine has changed over the years.  For a while, I was motivated to “look better than my sisters.” (Not the purest motivation, I admit, it worked for me for a long time.)  I have a friend who has a personal rule of “no larger sizes.”  One of my “mantras” for the BEST ThirdThird is, “It’s easier to keep it off, take it off.” [Read more HERE] The older I get, the stronger my motivation needs to be, so searching for “it” is key.

6. Be realistic

Something is better than nothing and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.  If a walk around the block is what you are able to do, then do it…every day. If you used to run marathons and now a 10K is what you are able to do, enjoy a 10K. If Pilates or weight lifting has become too strenuous, find an appropriate yoga or tai chi class or cd. Injuries or aches and pains will de-motivate, so start where you are able.

7. Dress for comfort.

If you are going to walk or run, get shoes that will give you the support. Invest in some non-binding, stretchy clothes that make moving comfortable. If you are joining a class, ask or observe the best clothes to wear.  This is not a place to make fashion too important. Comfort is key.

8. Dress for fun.

But….exercise can also be a great excuse for some fun colors and styles. Try some yoga pants. Get some bright shoes. Find a t-shirt with a slogan you believe in. Move proudly in fun clothing.

9. Take a class.

It is not hard to find a class that will accommodate any level of fitness. In our small community of 150,000, there are multiple gyms and park districts that offer a myriad of classes. Water aerobics, yoga, weights, Pilates, spinning, walking, etc., etc. A class is a good way to try something new and it is a great social outlet.

10. Start somewhere.

Buy the shoes, or get the membership, or find a partner, or walk around the block after dinner. Do something to get yourself moving. Anything. That one step can make a big difference in the quality of your life going forward.

11. Reward yourself.

No chocolate until the walk is complete? An extra half-glass of wine if you’ve had a good bit of movement? A nice soak in the tub with bubbles and a good book? Be sure you pat yourself on the back for making the effort at staying as fit as possible.

 

People are motivated either by avoiding something they fear or by being rewarded by something they enjoy. What works for you? Do you have some good ways to reward yourself for being active? What keeps you moving?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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