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How to Stay Healthy When You Don’t Like Exercising

Not everyone likes cilantro. In fact, to some, cilantro tastes like a mouth full of soap. And similar can be said about exercise.

While you want to get on that healthy living kick, you just can’t seem to force yourself to exercise. You make plans. You bail on them. You try out a new fitness class and stick with it for a few weeks. A month later, you’ve entirely forgotten about your plan to workout twice a week.

“Why Do I Hate Exercising?”

Harvard Medical School says that you can partially blame your genes for this one.

According to researchers, there is a particular gene that may play a role in your response to physical exertion; However, these studies also point out that your genes can only account for so much.

Researchers indicate that your upbringing and environment also play a huge role in whether or not you enjoy exercising. If your parents were active or encouraged you to be active, you’re more likely to engage in physical activity as an adult. It makes sense.

Consider, what if you weren’t brought up that way? What if your genes work against your desire to be healthy? Lucky for you, there are other ways to get motivated and maintain a healthy lifestyle (and some require no exercise at all!).

Tips For Staying Healthy When You Dislike ExerciseVeggies on a cutting board: cucumber, fresh spinach, celery.

1. Refine your diet

If you’re eating junk food or pre-packaged foods all the time and engaging in no exercise, you begin to feel sluggish. More importantly, your diet plays a significant part in whether or not you get sick, how you feel, and much more.

The nutrients and vitamins in your diet help regulate your body’s systems and when these systems are dysregulated, a whole bunch of things goes wrong. You get sick, feel ‘blah’ and your health is likely anything but optimal.

Take a good hard look at your diet. What’s in your fridge? Or better yet, what’s in your freezer? Do a kitchen and pantry sweep. Get rid of pre-packaged food items (we suggest giving them away) and buy make a plan to purchase more whole foods.

Another tip here - make your grocery list before you head to the store. That way, you’ll know what you’re getting and won’t make impulse decisions on the fly.

Related Article: Healthy Grocery Lists for Tight Budgets

2. Socialize with movement

Do you want to catch up with an old friend? Suggest hiking, a walk, or renting bikes. You can still catch up and talk, and it will make exercising a fun activity you can do together, even if part of it is joking around about how much more you both need to be exercising regularly.

A social exercise buddy makes physical activity less daunting. Before you know it, you’ll have been walking or biking for an hour or so and you’ll have got a good chat in! Try it out.

3. Join a sports team

When people say they don’t like exercise, they’re often referring to the structured exercise that involves going to the gym, but not all exercise has to be intentional. Check out your local adult recreation leagues or ‘beer leagues’ as some call it. If running isn’t your thing, try softball or volleyball - something that doesn’t require a whole lot of running back and forth down a field. If you want a bit more of a motivated sprint, try soccer or football.

You’ll get a bit of movement in and again, there’s a social element here. You may even make new friends. You kill two birds with one stone! Bam!

Person meditating on the end of a doc. The mountains are in the background and the water is so calm it is reflecting their image.

4. Cleanse your mind

Have you ever thought about why you really hate exercise? Do you feel self-conscious at the gym? Is it because you don’t know what to do at the gym? Have you thought about looking inward and changing your mindset instead?

Think about why you associate exercise with negativity. Do you have limiting beliefs that you aren’t challenging? It may be important to start working on your mental health while you work on your physical health. A mindset shift can help by leaps and bounds when it comes to your view of the world (and exercise). Because the truth is that you deserve healthy living and the best life possible. Don’t think any less of yourself!

Some activities you can partake in to help open your mind include meditation, journaling, gratitude, and affirmations. Give yourself time to adopt one of these or all of these. See how you feel. It could be life-changing!

5. Take that extra step towards exercise

This means sneaking it in and tricking your mind and body into doing it. For instance, you could get off your bus a few stops early and walk it. You could take the stairs over the elevator. You could walk to the store instead of driving. You could clean your entire house (trust us - this is exercise). You could walk around while on the phone or in a conference call. You could throw on your favorite song and dance the night or day away!

Find small ways to move throughout your daily activities. They all add up and when you do it this way, it won’t feel like “exercise.”

6. Try different types of physical activity

You might be rolling your eyes at this one, but sometimes it’s all about finding your groove. Maybe you haven’t found it yet. Have you tried cycling, yoga, or Zumba?

If not, there are some new activities to indulge in. Remember that it isn’t about sweating your butt off, it’s about finding something that gets you moving. Find your “thing” and it will become an exciting part of your routine.

Related Article: Self-Care Sunday: Move Your Body

A mother and daughter hold each other an laugh on a park bench. The mother is wearing a blue blouse and the woman is wearing an orange tank top with frills at the top.

7. Nourish the relationships in your life

You might not like exercise, but again, you can work on other healthy living aspects in your life - like relationships. Heck, even go to therapy to make yourself a better wife, husband, friend, sister, or brother. Therapy isn’t taboo anymore! Even if it’s to nourish the relationship you have with yourself, it’s a valuable experience that we should all dive into.

Start reading about how you can improve your communication and spend quality time with your loved ones. When you look back, these meaningful relationships will matter almost more than anything else. You’ll want to nurture them and help them grow.

Exercise Isn’t the End-All Be-All to Health

Remember, there are other aspects too! But don’t trick yourself - you might think you dislike exercise… However, is that really it? Dig deep. Look inward and find your real reasons. Then, challenge them.

This image is linked to an article. Read next: How to Feel Sexy All The Time - It Comes From Within, the image is of a woman smiling and running her hand through her hair. The background is orange.
Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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