It’s an internal struggle: even just the thought of exercise makes you cringe and recoil (kind of like one of those “rolly poly” bugs), but you also know that physical activity is essential to maintaining good health.
So what’s an exercise-hater to do?
We chatted with Donovan Green, celebrity fitness trainer and author of No Excuses Fitness, to find out what sort of strategies and activities he recommends for people who just can’t seem to find that exercise-induced endorphin high.
Green’s Quick Tips:
1. You do not have to visit a gym to exercise; you can exercise anywhere you like.
2. You might not enjoy exercising, but you have to do it if you want to live a healthier life.
3. Exercise does not have to be painful. Find activities you love doing and start doing them.
4. Try watching less TV and walk more instead.
5. Get involved with a partner who has goals similar to your own. This is a great way to be accountable to someone other than yourself.
Instead of traditional workouts, what types of activities should you try?
- Dancing burns calories, and it never feels like working out. You can also do this with your friends, family or spouse.
- Playing some type of sport is also a great way to build social character and burn some fat. You do not have to be good at it; all you have to do is move.
- Riding a bike is not only fun but it puts a lot of tension on your thighs which means that your body’s ability to burn calories is heightened. Your legs have the biggest muscles in the body which means they will burn more calories at a faster rate.
- Find a hiking trail and go hiking. The scenery on hiking trails are amazing. This will help clear your mind from the daily stress of life and connect you a little closer to yourself.
How can you get yourself motivated to start moving more?
“A great way to get motivated to move is by simply taking a short walk at your local park, or find a lake in which you can walk around safely,” Green said. “This may not sound like much, but it gets you moving and inspires you to do a little more each time.”
He explained that the idea is to keep it simple, fun and effective. There’s no real need to put your body through highly intense workouts unless that’s what you want to do.
“As you progress, you will turn that walk into a jog, and eventually you are running,” Green added. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to run if you don’t want to.)
What are some ways you can work out without having to go to a gym?
“Try working out in your own home," Green said. "Not only will you not have to feel intimidated, you will also save a lot of money because you do not have to pay any gym fees, or waste precious gas to get there.”
“You can do tons of different forms of exercises like yoga, Pilates, resistance training, martial arts, or you can even use your chair as a tool to get fit. What's really great about working out at home is you can break your workout into sub parts. For example, my wife does 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon and another 10 minutes in the evening. Try it, you might love it.”
Or, you could try taking your workouts outdoors…
“I personally love exercising in the outdoors,” Green said. “Our bodies are not designed to be trapped inside of a building. [We should] go outside and be free. I use the park bench to do push-ups, step ups, squats, crunches, and many other movements that keep me feeling energized and young.”
“Another way to get in a great workout, especially if you have kids, is to go to the playground with them and actually play with them. They will tire you out in no time.”