An Easy Way to Fall in Love with Exercise

The key is to start by finding something that’s genuinely fun.

Middle aged woman smiling while paddling a kayak in late afternoon

Updated on February 11, 2022.

You probably know that being physically active is crucial for your health. And you may have good intentions about making the effort to move more than you do. But that isn’t necessarily the same as wanting to get moving. It can be tough to get up off a comfortable couch, after all.

Here’s a tip that might help: When you plan physical activities, be choosy.

Sounds like a small thing, but the effect that choice has on the way you feel about exercise is significant. Fitness experts say that people are likelier to try—and continue—activities that they think are enjoyable. And, in fact, research published in 2020 in the Journal of Sport and Health Science suggests that your motivation, commitment, and persistence when it comes to working out are all related to how much you like the workout you’re doing.

More movement motivators

When you're enjoying yourself, you get distracted from the fact that you are even exerting yourself and doing work. Fatigue is less prevalent and you may even exercise longer. So choose something that activates your happy trigger and you'll be looking forward to exercise instead of dreading it. Better yet, enhance the fun factor by setting your chosen activity to music.

Mix things up

If you haven't found an activity you love, don't give up. Be brave in your search. Consider outside-the-box activities, like roller skating, salsa dancing, body surfing, jumping rope, or water skiing—to name a few. Or maybe all you need to do is make that daily walk you take a little more interesting by bringing along a friend

Article sources open article sources

Teques P, Calmeiro L, Silva C, Borrego C. Validation and adaptation of the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) in fitness group exercisers. J Sport Health Sci. 2020;9(4):352-357.
Williams DM, Papandonatos GD, Napolitano MA, Lewis BA, Whiteley JA, Marcus BH. Perceived enjoyment moderates the efficacy of an individually tailored physical activity intervention. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 2006;28(3):300-309.
Gordon B. American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM's Resources for the Exercise Physiologist. 3rd edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2021.
Better Health Channel. Victoria State Government Department of Health. Physical activity – choosing the one for you. Reviewed on June 30, 2015.
Harvard Health Publishing. Why we should exercise - and why we don't. August 26, 2019.

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