Finding The Joy In Exercise
Sometimes, it can be tough to hype yourself up for a workout. Even when you know exercise would make you feel great, life is busy and workout motivation can ebb and flow. In need of a little workout inspiration today? We’ve got you—keep reading for three tips from In-Shape coaches on how to find more joy in exercise.
Coach Andy’s Tip: Do the exercise that feels like a gift.
“We often treat exercise and movement as a chore—and quite frankly, many times it is. We watch the clock, counting down until it’s over, finding little ways here and there to take shortcuts. When we choose exercises that feel like a chore, it will be a chore. The key to finding joy in exercise is to do more activities that bring you gratification. These activities might include going for a run while listening to your favorite podcast, lifting outside, doing a virtual dance class, swimming a few laps, playing pickleball or taking a HIIT class with a friend. Whatever the activity – as long as you’re moving, getting your heart pumping, and smiling, you are on the right track.”
Coach Jacqueline’s Tip: Be present.
“I find we lose the joy in exercise when our minds wander to the never-ending to-do list, or to the clock (we’ve all been there when it feels like the seconds turn to minutes) or to the inner critic saying you can’t do it. Once you’ve found a workout you love, a great way to find joy while working out is to come back to what you’re doing (whether you’re running, lifting, dancing, or practicing yoga) – you can begin by noticing the sensations you’re experiencing. Is the sun shining on your back? Is your breath deep or shallow? How does it feel when your feet hit the pavement/treadmill/yoga mat? Start to bring your mind back to your movement and appreciate how awesome it is to be able to do what you’re doing. From this place of gratitude, joy is just around the corner. Oh, and if you’re really stuck, turn the corner of your lips up and smile – it’s proven to produce those feel-good chemicals in the brain!”
Coach Josh’s Tip: Take your family with you on your fitness journey.
“At this point in my life, I’ve worked out more years than I haven’t. I’ve been a heavy lifter; I’ve found joy in completing Spartan and Tough Mudder races; I battled plantar fasciitis and tore my pec, which led me to find joy in the comeback from surgery. All of these I did in solitude, thinking my family was a distraction from my goals.
Then COVID happened, and I found myself needing to find joy—not just in my fitness journey, but in general. I was burnt out, feeling the pressure to stay in shape, when it dawned on me: my family gives me more joy than anything I’ve ever experienced. I realized this when I was filming a segment for our Run Club on how to get your family involved in your workouts. My wife and I took turns pulling my son in a wagon while the other one ran. My daughter joined us riding her bike and setting the pace. For the first time, I wasn’t alone in my fitness journey.
When I think about the joy I experience with my family on hikes, runs, family bike rides, family fitness nights and garage workouts, it will always outshine anything I have done so far in my fitness journey.
I encourage you to find your “why” – and I don’t mean a certain amount of weight you want to lose or getting a six pack (those are great short-term goals), but to find something that gives you joy beyond the scale. I found mine in my family. Where will you find yours?