Exercise Doesn’t Have To Be A Chore

Exercise has long been proven to have a myriad of health benefits, both physical and psychological. However, most Americans don’t get the recommended amount of exercise, citing lack of time, lack of energy and a host of other excuses. Many people also view exercise as a chore, thinking that they need to buy clothing and equipment and schlep to the gym in order to get in a good workout. This view could not be further from the truth, as there are as many ways for getting fit as there are personality types. By finding exercise methods that you think are fun and well suited to your personality, you are more likely to make your fitness routine stick and reap the benefits of exercising on a daily basis. 

Find an Exercise for Your Personality 

Personalities vary widely, so no one exercise routine is going to work for everyone. For example, if you tend to be more of an introvert, open gym sports like pick up basketball or volleyball will probably send you running for the hills, as they require a lot of interpersonal interaction. If you’re the type of person with a lack of rhythm and two left feet, you’ll probably feel out of place in a Zumba class. The key to finding a workout routine that sticks is to work with your own strengths and stay within your comfort level. This doesn’t mean showing up to the gym and phoning it in for an hour, rather finding a class or a gym that suits your own personal skills. There are plenty of resources available for determining your exercise personality, including this one from CBS News

Start Slowly

Like most things, you can’t just hop off of your couch, go to the gym and expect to be as fit as an Olympic athlete. You have to start small. Mayo Clinic posted a blog post called, “Fitness Programs: 5 Steps to Get Started.” It advises assessing your fitness level before starting an exercise routine. “But assessing and recording baseline fitness scores can give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress.” Most gyms offer these assessments when you start a training program, though they usually cost an additional fee above the initial membership fee. You can also ask your primary care doctor for a physical. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine anyway. 

Take Your New Gym or Class for a Test Drive

If you’re going to commit to a fitness regime, it’s important to ensure that it is something you’ll stick with. Many gyms and studios offer a free trial or class pass so you can try one class before shelling out your money. Others offer guest passes that are good for a certain length of time, so you can assess how the gym will fit into your life. Living on the Cheap author Jenny Willden wrote an article called, “8 Ways to Get a Cheap Gym Membership.” In it, she offers tips on how to take advantage of these free offers: “Don’t sign a contract unless you like the atmosphere, classes and available equipment, and you shouldn’t have to pay to try it out. Most fitness centers offer guest passes on the house, and a site called GymTicket can help you find guest passes in your area.” These guest passes are great, because they allow you to try out different types of exercise without paying for the commitment, and they can help you find the routine that is best suited to you. 

Think Beyond the Traditional

Exercising regularly doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym, running on a treadmill and lifting weights. Anything that pumps up your heartbeat and gets you moving counts. If you hate the gym, consider learning a new sport, taking a dance class such as jazz, tap or ballet or simply take regular walks around your neighborhood. For example, if you’re taking tennis lessons or learning to snowboard, you’re burning as many calories as you would in the gym, if not more. However, you’re more likely to be focused on your posture and taking in the lessons, so the class won’t seem like a burden, rather a fun pastime. 

Working out regularly is a great habit to develop, and it doesn’t have to feel like work. By finding a routine that fits your personality and allows you to have fun and let loose, you’re more likely to stick it out.