For many of us, diet and exercise conjures negative thoughts associated with hard work and punishment. We often think “I need to exercise because I ate too much” or “I need to lose all of this weight to look better”. Our society focuses so heavily on “weight” and “physical appearance” that many of us cannot even put “exercise” and “enjoyment” in the same sentence. Walk into a grocery store and you won’t see magazines with celebrities saying “I have a roaring passion for cycling that enhances my entire life”. You’ll see images of “too skinny” or “too fat” etc.
Don't get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with the desire to achieve a certain weight or look attractive. But movement is much more than a “means to an end”. It’s as innate as breathing, eating, and drinking. It’s how our ancestors lived and how our body is meant to function.
Instead of moving and exercising because you “feel like you have to”, you must shift your mind to do it because “you love it and it enhances your life”. It should almost never feel like a drudgery or chore. In fact, it is quite the opposite. There are a plethora of physical activities that go with the grain of your personality, passions, and intentions.
Next time you dismiss the idea of exercising, think: What does exercise mean to me and what do I enjoy doing? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
“I am competitive and like to wield the greatest results in the shortest amount of time”
- Interval workouts: Do 5-10 repeats of intense exercise followed by periods of easy recovery. To increase the intensity of the workout, decrease the recovery time. This type of exercise can be done on a staircase, hill, bike, or pool.
- Take a spin class: Spin classes typically last for one hour and can burn up to 1,000 calories. They integrate slow, heavy climbs, fast intervals, and endurance rides to promote muscle confusion and increase cardiovascular fitness.
- Play soccer, basketball, volleyball or any other sport that will allow you to embrace your competitive nature.
“I am introspective and like exercising because it relaxes and re-centers me.”
- Yoga: Yoga offers a perfect opportunity to stretch, improve strength, and meditate. Take a Vinyasa class (which means “breath synchronized flow”) which is very breath and alignment oriented.
- Wogging: Wogging is a fusion of jogging and walking. Go out on a serene trail and spontaneously mix up intervals of walking and jogging. For company, bring your pup or a buddy along.
- Hiking and Photography: Go for a hike in the mountains and soak in the beauty around you. While your at it, test out your photography skills.
- Play with the kiddos: Exercise doesn’t have to be separate from family time. Organize a hide-and-go-seek or tag game at the park. This will not only be a great time, it will also get your heart rate up!
- Elliptical trainer: Purchase a book that inspires you and watch the time fly as you read it on the elliptical trainer.
“I am a social butterfly and love exercising with a community and/or friends”
- Join a fitness community: There are many communities that regularly gather for exercise. Check out a free running groups at your local running store, join a group fitness class at your gym, or purchase a membership at a fitness studio (cross fit, yoga, pilates, etc)
- Find a committed buddy: Commit to meeting with an exercise buddy every week. Mix up the routine, challenge yourselves, and talk it up!
- Sign up for a race to support a cause: What is a cause that you are fired up about? Organize or sign up for a race supporting your cause and enjoy the fruits of exercise and service.
“I like to have fun and don’t want to get bored while I’m exercising!
- Take a hip hop, swing, or salsa dance class: This will surely keep you entertained while giving you a great workout.
- Go ice skating or horseback riding: Ice skating and horseback riding are fun ways to get moving without getting wrapped up in the minutes, calories and miles.
- Zumba: Zumba classes feature exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats that get your heart pumping.
How do you integrate your passions with exercise? Let us know!