Strategies to get fit when you hate exercise

Techniques to get fit – even if that wasn’t your New Year’s resolution.

How to get fit when you hate exercise

Exercise? I just don’t get it.

I’m over 50 and I’ve done a few fun runs and bought a few gym memberships over the past decade, but I don’t enjoy exercise.

My husband, the son of an Olympian, loves it. When I get home from the gym, he always asks, “How was it?” My answer is always the same, “It was the gym”. 

For me exercise is a chore – like cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn – but I know that if I do that chore for two hours a week, the other 166 hours in the week will be much more enjoyable. I will sleep better, feel less tired, be more comfortable in my clothes and my mental health will be greatly improved. 

The Health Direct website says that if you exercise regularly, it can reduce your stress and  increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory.

Exercise lovers often tell me I just need to find the exercise that’s right for me, something I enjoy. If you’re like me, you just need to accept you don’t enjoy exercise but do it anyway.

Here’s my advice on how to get started: 

Set a time
Dedicate a 30-minute block to exercise three to four times a week.  Health professionals advocate 30 minutes seven days per week, but this may be an unrealistic goal – initially at least. By creating set days and times, you’re more likely to commit. 

Start slowly
If you can manage only 15 minutes in your first session, then stick to that for a few weeks and gradually build.  Even 15 minutes four times a week is an extra hour of exercise. 

Footwear
Cushioned footwear is a must to reduce the impact and stress on your joints and limbs.  Remember, these are shoes for exercise; you’re not wearing them out for dinner, so it doesn’t matter what they look like. New year  sales are a great time to buy good sports footwear – like cars the colour/style changes every year and last year’s colour will be half the price. 

What to wear
It doesn’t matter what you wear so long as you are comfortable.  As Shannon Ponton (of Biggest Loser fame said: “You look outside to decide what to wear – not whether to go.” And remember to be sun-smart. 

Want to lose weight as well?
The easiest solution for me is to cut out my three worst indulgences between Sunday and Thursday – Friday night and Saturday are for fun!  For me this is wine, bread and potatoes. You will know what yours are:  Maybe, soft drink, ice-cream, biscuits, fruit juice, cheese, chocolate?  This way, there is no weighing or calorie counting, you just have to hold out until the weekend for your next fix. 

Commit
Start with a four-week trial, which should be enough time to start to feel the benefits and get into a routine.

This worked for me, but once you make a start you’ll soon work out your own routine.  Remember, you may not enjoy the exercise, but you’ll enjoy the results.

Have you got your own get-fit strategies? What worked for you? 

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    COMMENTS

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    2nd Jan 2018
    11:33am
    Exercise?

    What's that????
    Tib
    2nd Jan 2018
    12:00pm
    It's important to have the right shoes and clothes.... Ha ha was this written by a woman. I exercise a lot , I think about training plans and weight routines.... Not about what I am wearing.
    Troubadour
    2nd Jan 2018
    12:24pm
    Of course it's written by a woman, the name is ROSEMARY BLACKNEY !! What a typical egotistical male response.
    It is important to wear something that is comfortable and especially the shoes - comes under common sense.
    For those of us who do not take well to regimented exercise this seems a good plan to me.
    Triss
    2nd Jan 2018
    12:43pm
    That's just Tib being Tib, Troubadour, you'll get used to his little ways.
    Tib
    2nd Jan 2018
    3:25pm
    Troubadour I'm sure every time you exercise you must spend half an hour wondering......which pair of shoes should I wear. Or even worse heaven forbid ...I should exercise today but I can't because I haven't got a thing to wear. Ha ha
    Rosret
    3rd Jan 2018
    8:59am
    Actually, Tib, as you get older the right clothes and shoes are absolutely essential.
    I have just been painting the house. I am a fan of old socks so my shoes and carpet don't get ruined. However up and down that ladder x number of times without the proper footwear and my feet are in agony and have been for weeks now. So the rest of the house will be painted with rubber soled shoes on.
    I am like Rosemary - exercise is a waste of valuable hours. However now all my joints are in a mess proper exercises and movement is just the most magical cure for ailments. The trainers and physios are so very good at telling you how to correct poor movement.
    The cost of gyms and physios is the most limiting factor for retirees however the internet is a great trainer these days too.
    Tib
    3rd Jan 2018
    9:23am
    Rosret actually I find the whole female world of $300 joggers and pink running outfits ridiculous. It's more about being a shopaholic than any real need for specialist equipment.
    Exercise is one of the most valuable things you can do and is never a time waster , watching tv and time on social media is a waste of time.
    No gyms or physio are required , thats just a con to take your money and an excuse. The problem is most people don't know what healthy means or the difference it makes to your quality of life. It's sooo expensive they can't possibly get fit without that gym membership or those pink joggers.ha ha.
    anna
    2nd Jan 2018
    12:26pm
    The only way I can make myself exercise is by doing a group session at the gym. So it's Pilates for an hour Wednesday, then Body Balance - a mix of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates on Thursday. Just remember, with Pilates you're lying down! Not much stress and strain on the joints and doesn't matter if you're overweight or skinny, everyone can do it and I have to say, you can really feel the change . Apart from that , a walk each morning. I have a Fitbit so I try to do my 10,000 over the day and put the Fitbit on as soon as you get up! Every step counts. Try to make your walk about 5-6,000 steps, then you'll rack up the rest over the course of a day just by walking around the house, garden, shops etc. If not, that number on the Fitbit makes you think,"I'll just go for a quick 10 minute walk and do the last 1,000 steps. Do the walk early if you can. Then it's done and out of the way. That sounds like it's a chore. It often is but you feel so virtuous when you've finished!
    Rosret
    3rd Jan 2018
    9:09am
    Hehe - sounds like you are way too fit for an oldies site!
    Triss
    2nd Jan 2018
    12:53pm
    Procrastination is my downfall so I tell myself I will exercise for one minute only which is easy to do and, once I've started I'm good for 15 minutes at least.
    Hasbeen
    2nd Jan 2018
    2:20pm
    Forget all this rubbish about going to the gym, walking around for hours, & all the other stuff.

    Find something moderately strenuous, that you really like doing, & have some fun, while keeping fit accidentally.

    For me at one time it was sailing. Saturday afternoon & Wednesday evening I'd be out in a race, hiking a dinghy, & pulling on ropes. When a mate invited me to go to the gym with him, I'd done 20 sit ups, 20 chin ups & 20 push ups while he struggled through 15 sit ups. He decided to go sailing with me.

    Then it was show jumping. By the time you had gone & got the horse, groomed them, ridden them, getting off & back on 20 times to pick up the jumps you knocked down, then groomed them & put them away, you'd had a good work out. Ever noticed what small tight backsides lady horse riders have?

    Yep you can have "exercise" I'd rather have fun.
    Old Geezer
    2nd Jan 2018
    2:43pm
    Sounds like a decent workout just deciding on what shoes and clothes to wear without actually doing any exercise.
    roy
    2nd Jan 2018
    4:38pm
    Were's MICK, he's an expert on everything.
    anna
    2nd Jan 2018
    3:08pm
    I agree with you absolutely, Has been, but the telling phrase was "at one time".I'd much rather do that fun stuff but it's getting kind of limited but it has made me think about something other that I would actually love to do.
    CHARLIE
    2nd Jan 2018
    3:48pm
    I walk my dog Scamp every day for approx 1 hour. I make sure I wear those jogger type shoes for common sense reasons.My dog is coming on in years and when we get to a steep area, he stops,looks at me pathetically ,so I carry him .Fortunately he weighs only 5.7 kilos It's like weight training.It is a win win situation.
    Tib
    2nd Jan 2018
    3:57pm
    Sounds a good plan Charlie well done.
    CHARLIE
    2nd Jan 2018
    4:44pm
    Thanks Tib ! Walking is free and you can do it when it suits you, weather permitting of course! Cheers
    Tib
    2nd Jan 2018
    5:13pm
    Charlie I think dogs are great , I'm sure he appreciates his walk and the lift :)

    2nd Jan 2018
    4:28pm
    If you dont enjoy exercise , then you havent got a hope in hell of maintaining it in the long term

    So don't waste your time
    MB
    2nd Jan 2018
    4:52pm
    What a disappointing article. The title offered the holy grail - fitness, but no need to do exercise. And not just one alternative to exercise, but five. Not five ways, but five strategies. Strategies, the things that are used to win wars and suchlike! I must admit that deep down it was an offer too good to be real. Just as with any pyramid or multi-level selling scheme, it has only resulted in disappointment. There are no choices with YourLifeChoices, just disappointments and betrayals.
    kathiew
    2nd Jan 2018
    11:15pm
    I'm the competitive type - but NOT "sociable" There are lots of sport-based games which you can play with one of the DVD devices. I play, tennis, ten-pin bowling, baseball and a little soccer. There are often practice/skill-training exercises included, so you don't have to know everything about the game. There are also "fun" exercise activity DVDs which help keep track of time spent, weight tracking, etc e.g the "old" WiiFit Plus. If "new" video games are too expensive - there are often systems /components available from Cash Converters, Pawn shops, etc. OR lots of families have this older technology lying around unused.
    Rosret
    3rd Jan 2018
    9:16am
    I am remember chatting to a farmer who had just finished milking the cows after a 5 a.m. rise as he lent on the farm gate at the front of his property. A new generation Lycra bicyclist whizzed passed head down and filled with virtue. The farmer just shock his head in dismay and headed back to the farmhouse for breakfast.
    Just imagine in people actually put all their strength and energy into being productive instead of riding a bike on the road at 5 a.m. in the morning.
    Tib
    3rd Jan 2018
    9:39am
    Rosret are you suggesting we all buy cows. That cyclist is out early to get fit while you are lying in bed working on your ever increasing waistline and health issues.
    Anonymous
    3rd Jan 2018
    4:34pm
    The cyclist is doing what he/she enjoys.
    Tib's is right - you're probably one of those negative nellies and a big obviously unfit

    A lot of women tend to have this sort of venomous personality for some reason
    PlanB
    3rd Jan 2018
    11:47am
    I was always very active -- walking/swimming/diving/sailing/skiing/and also painting the home inside AND out as well as all the work in the garden etc -- a Friend is a Gym junkie and wanted me to go to a gym with her -- I did go for 3 sessions --what a waste of time, when I could -- and was -- twice as fit and kill 2 birds with one stone by doing what I did AND enjoying it.
    KIAH
    5th Jan 2018
    11:53am
    There is a misconception in equating strength workouts to fitness. Being strong doesn’t make you fit : similarly being fit doesn’t make you strong. A great number of people feel that being “fit” means you are healthy, but that’s not quite true. Many “fit” athletes whom we believe are fit do suffer heart attacks and other physical drawbacks.

    To be on the right track, a person needs both strength and fitness training. Aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming or cycling, but in order to sustain your full fitness and prevent muscle strength loss especially as we get older, a certain amount of weight lifting should be added to a routine. This doesn’t have to be in a gym atmosphere, just some light weights at home, a few bar bells etc will help.

    In addition, diet is as important as exercise, maybe more so.
    PlanB
    5th Jan 2018
    12:03pm
    I agree KIAH
    KIAH
    5th Jan 2018
    12:12pm
    PS: a good article if anyone is interested and shows some really good exercises that is if you like gyms, have a home gym, but one doesn't have to go as far as these young ladies, you can achieve some pretty good results with improvisation!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2016-05-27/strength-training-in-old-age-benefits-muscle-mass-ageing/7396464

    Thanks PlanB
    Daz
    6th Jan 2018
    12:16pm
    I can't see anything wrong with coaxing yourself into an exercise regime with bribes such as snazzy workout shoes, gym membership etc. To move from inertia to regular training will take some obvious inducements. But once the regime is in place, like anything else, the intrinsic benefits should become more powerful and the need for those sorts of rewards diminish.
    I am a reformed morning exerciser. When young I hated morning activity but then leaving the workout to the end of the day meant my mind building up resistance and all sorts of excuses not to do. If I exercise first thing...no mental resistance build up. And the key to that is a gentle warm up. After 15 mins W'Up of muscles, tendons & joints my body demands more... no matter how stiff I felt. Try Youtube - Spartan Dynamic Stretch Routine for some loosening up.
    Ebrigitte
    3rd Mar 2018
    12:03am
    This is a great post! I completely agree that a routine is crucial for being vital.
    Ebrigitte
    5th Mar 2018
    11:00pm
    Great post! I actually hate exercising, too! But I go to some long walks with my hubby. I gain some weight last summer, and I cant get it off...
    This annoys me so much, that I am thinking to go for some nonsurgical procedure, such as fat freezing treatment https://www.bodycatalyst.com.au/cryolipolysis-fat-freezing/

    Would love to hear your opinion about it.
    Cheers, Brigitte


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