How to enjoy exercise

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Good Health magazine
How to Enjoy Exercise Image: Thinkstock
How to Enjoy Exercise

If you have to force yourself out the door for every exercise session, it’s time to take the hard work out of your workout.

Make exercise a habit

Even the most sedentary people can build up a physiological desire to exercise just by sticking to a consistent routine, says Gareth Mole, head of sports psychology at Condor Performance.

For instance, you might start by deciding to walk every Friday morning at 7am. If something happens so you can’t walk, it’s better to wait until the following Friday to try again otherwise it won’t stick.

It takes 30 repetitions of a behaviour before it starts to become a habit and you get to that stage where you’re either doing it or thinking about it, and can’t imagine your life without it.

Alternatively, join a team. Everyone has to set a night for regular matches and training so you won’t be able to wing it.

Choose an exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise

Enhance sports you do alone and which don’t require much attention by training with others of a similar level or by making them more stimulating. Try squad or ocean swimming, for instance, or mountain biking, bush walking or trail running.

To make exercise time fly, seek out activities which are absorbing and require complex motor skills. Surfing is one of the best, but golfing, skiing and yoga are all good too – that’s why people look so excited when they set off on a surf/golf/ski/yoga weekend!

Get involved in a team sport that requires complex skills, such as netball, soccer, touch football or Ultimate Frisbee. “You have to harness masses of concentration which directs you away from the physical aspects of the exercise,” says Mole, “plus you have the team and social aspect, which is very motivating.”

Include as much variety as possible

Look at what you could change about your exercise plan. Will your workmates join you for a weekly circuit training session in the park? Has a friend been begging you to play squash? Is it time to enrol in the martial arts class you’re interested in?

Good Health magazine

For more information and exercise tips in the December issue of Good Health magazine or subscribe at

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