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. 

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. 

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? 

Related articles:
How to get healthy
Strength training
Fitness apps

Written by RoseeB


How to get healthy with minimal effort

Sometimes getting fit seems too much like hard work. What if there was an easier way?

How to strength train safely

Learn how to do strength training safely and effectively.

Five best free fitness apps

Amelia's top five free fitness and health apps.