What are some suggestions for a person who really dislikes exercise?

David Buer
Though you may not enjoy working out, it's vital to your overall health to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. Watch me explain how finding an activity you like and you are willing to do regularly is key.

If you dislike exercising, we will first remove the word exercise. Researchers have found that you don't really need to exercise. Just any old kind of physical activity is good enough, if you do it regularly. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity (like brisk walking) a day can do you good. Try to find an activity that you actually like doing. The possibilities are endless - walking the dog, swimming, dancing, or even playing with a child or grandchild.

Try to pair that activity with something else you like to do. For example, if you regularly talk to a friend on the phone or over the back fence, go for a walk with that person instead. Or, if it's feasible to walk to work or the store instead of taking the bus or driving, give that a try.

You can also set some activity goals or milestones, and reward yourself as you progress and reach them. You decide on the reward. Eventually, you may find you are feeling better and are actually enjoying the activity, and the activity itself becomes its own reward.

If you dislike exercise find something 'active' you do enjoy and start there. For some people this may take thinking back to childhood. What activity did you enjoy when you were younger? Maybe you really enjoyed freeze tag when you were younger. Silly as it sounds what is the harm in grabbing a group of friends to play freeze tag? Or maybe you enjoyed riding your bicycle when you were younger. Rent a beach cruiser and try it out again...whatever you do try and make it fun.

There are many pro's to exercise besides the physical that many people do not know. For example, exercise allows you to perform daily activities more easily. Exercise helps keep you healthy and strong in body, mind and spirit. Exercise also helps diminish and alleviate existing health conditions. Exercise allows people to sleep better. Its effective for depression, anxiety and helps alter moods to positive levels. Physical activity provide biochemical changes in the brain increasing the concentration of positive neurochemicals such as endorphins and serotonin. Exercise is also positively associated with changes in brain wave activity allowing for a more calm mental state. 

Try and find something active you love to do and then see how that makes you feel mentally and emotionally. Even if you find exercise just helps you sleep better, better sleep supports you to be more productive and better able to deal with stress, frustrations and anxiety when you are awake.
Disliking exercise doesn't have to be a barrier to physical fitness. A lot of people assume that to be fit you must be dedicated to the gym, but there there are tons of activities that can contribute to your overall health that are fun to participate in. Dancing, walking, playing a recreational sport like basketball or softball, and even running around with your children at the park can all get your heart pumping. Try to increase your participation in activities like these on a regular basis and you may find that you like exercising a lot more than you thought.
Find something you like!  There are so many different ways to, walk, bike, swim, rollerblade, even it with a buddy to make even more fun!

Make sure whatever exercises you are choosing is enjoyable for you.  After all, you are the one who is doing the exercises--right?  Going to the gym, lifting, and getting on the treadmill may be enjoyable for some but it may not be what motivates you.  If you find the right exercise routine, one that motivates and inspires you to keep moving, then exercises won't be such a burden.  Keep it enjoyable.  Hope this helps

Think about what you dislike – is it the idea of going to a gym and using the equipment that you dislike, is it the idea of doing something in view of other people, or is it any kind of physical activity no matter where and when? Figuring out exactly what you dislike might give you some hints as to finding something that is considered an activity but doesn’t fall into the definition of “exercise” to you. Maybe you dislike gyms, but enjoy walking in a park. Maybe walking is boring, but you enjoy gardening or walking a dog or with a child. Try to come up with ideas of activities that get you moving. If you want, try new activities that you’ve never tried before, such as group fitness classes, or walking clubs. If you don’t like it after trying it out, there’s no harm done, but you might just find a new activity that you enjoy!

Becoming physically active does not require structured exercise in a gym setting. If you’re the type of person who dislikes exercising in a gym or health club, try adding fun physical activities to your daily routine such as taking your dog for a walk, riding your bicycle, joining a sports team, dancing, or even playing hide-in-go-seek with your kids. Most forms of physical activity can tremendously affect your health and well-being reducing your risk for chronic disease and adding years to your life.

If you’re planning on starting a structured exercise program try the following to give you an extra boost:

  • Invite a friend or loved one to join you.
  • Hire a personal trainer.
  • Listen to your favorite music during exercise.
  • Join an exercise class with people of similar interests and fitness level.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.