woman kayaking towards the mountains

3 Tips To Stop Hating (And Start Loving!) Your Exercise

Life is way too short to hate exercise. Getting healthy and active doesn’t have to be something you dread.

If you are doing types of exercise that you hate, you are suffering needlessly. Even worse, you are probably limiting your progress towards your goals!

[Leans in and whispers] I want to let you in on a dirty little secret of the fitness world. Ready?

Unless you’re an athlete training for a particular sport… you don’t HAVE to do any particular type of exercise.

Yes, you heard me right – you don’t have to run or even lift weights if you don’t want to.

If your goal is weight loss or general health, the list of possible exercise types for you to choose from is nearly endless!

For goals like these, the most important thing is just that you move more, and that you enjoy doing it!

Why It’s Important To Enjoy Exercise

Let’s be real here, if you hate your exercise and have to fight a mental battle to drag yourself to the gym each and every day – odds are that you won’t stick to your goals long-term.

On the other hand, if you do enjoy the type of exercise you are doing then it isn’t a chore or a dreaded task to check off your to do list every day.

Woman paddling a kayak across a lake towards mountains.
Do you enjoy your exercise?

A person who actually enjoys their exercise is much more likely to be consistent with their exercise program and stick to it long-term.

Consistency is THE single most important factor in determining whether or not you will be successful in achieving your fitness and health goals.

If you enjoy your exercise, you’ll be motivated to exercise and make it a priority instead of making excuses to avoid working out at every opportunity.

Enjoyment will also make it easier to adopt exercise as part of your lifestyle and continue doing it long-term so that your hard earned results will last!

How To Stop Hating Exercise

So without further ado, here are some tips to help you find a type of exercise that you will love!

#1: Try New Things!

There are sooooo many types of exercise out there! I find it pretty unlikely that you will hate all of them. 

If you do hate your current exercise, kick it to the curb and keep looking. You just haven’t come across the right type of exercise for you yet!

I challenge you to find a type of exercise you love to do. Keep trying new types until something feels right!

Woman hiking with her dog across a wooden footbridge

For Example:

  • Have you always loved dancing? Why not take a swing dancing class or try Zumba?
  • Do you love great views and appreciate nature? Why not give hiking or paddling a shot?
  • Are you a dog person? Treat those pups to some extra walks!
  • Do you need to take out some frustration after a rough day at work? What about trying a kickboxing class?
  • Feeling cooped up in the winter months? Snowshoeing and cross country skiing burn tons of calories!
  • Is it raining outside? Maybe hit the local rock climbing gym. (If you have kids, take them with you!)

#2: Train For Something!

Some people like to have something to train for rather than just exercising to lose weight or get healthier. 

As an added bonus training for something might give you a little motivation to do some of those exercise types that might be a little less enjoyable to you, for example strength training. If training for your event requires it, at least you will have a meaningful reason to do it which can make it a little more bearable. 

If you are the type that likes to train for something, consider some of the following options to keep yourself motivated and enjoying exercise.

Sign Up For A Race Or Challenge

If you are a competitive person, maybe consider signing up for a race or challenge of some type. There are so many different types of events out there these days. If you are into running or cycling there are tons of options. 

If that’s not quite your style, maybe an obstacle race like Spartan or Tough Mudder etc. would be more fun. They even have foam runs now (what?!).

Female runner covered in mud

If hiking is more your cup of tea, check your local area for hiking events which are becoming more popular. For example, I participated in the very first Sky Islands Summit Challenge a number of years ago and had a blast! You could choose to complete 1, 2, or 3 summits all in one day for this thrilling challenge.

Finally, one of my very favorite challenges is the 52 Hike Challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to motivate you to take one hike per week for a whole year! This way you get to combine the benefits of being out in nature and having an active lifestyle, win-win! Plus the 52 Hike Challenge has built a super supportive and encouraging community that you can be a part of on their social media pages.

Plan An Adventure Or Active Vacation

If fitness was not a limiting factor – what would you do? Dust off your bucket list, and see if there is something on there that you could start training for. 

For example, you could hike or bike a national park you’ve always wanted to visit or train for a whale watching kayak trip. The possibilities here are endless! 

Exercise For a Cause!

If you’re the kind of person that feels strongly about a cause, there are many charitable fund raisers out there that involve exercise. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Bike the US for MS – Cross country bicycle trips for multiple sclerosis research and awareness.
  • Relay for Life – a 24 hour walking fundraiser to raise money for cancer research.
  • Over the Edge –  exciting urban rappelling fundraising events for nonprofits.

These are just a few options, check out others in your local area for added work out motivation! 

#3 Find An Exercise Buddy

Having someone to workout with can be really fun! Plus, you’re a lot less likely to bail on a workout if that means also cancelling on a friend.

Consider:

  • Inviting a friend/significant other to workout with you.
  • Joining an activity group (running, cycling, hiking clubs are very common).
  • Signing up for a bootcamp/small group workout class.

If you don’t know of any groups in your area, check out Meetup. They have tons of member run groups for every kind of activity you can think of. When I first moved to Phoenix, this is how I found hiking and climbing buddies.

Two male hikers enjoying the view of a beautiful waterfall.

Conclusion

I really believe that there is a type (or multiple types) of exercise out there for everyone! Keep trying until you find something that is right for you. 

And remember:

If you are doing types of exercise that you hate, you are suffering needlessly. Even worse, you are probably limiting your progress towards your goals! Click To Tweet

The most important thing, especially when you are first becoming active, is just to move more. So feel free to explore – life is too short to hate your exercise!

Your Turn!

Do you currently have a favorite type of exercise? If so, what is it?

What is at least one type of exercise that you would like to try or do more regularly?

Do you have any tips for enjoying exercise more?

Let me know in the comments! Or share some photos of you doing your favorite type of exercise/adventure in our Get Adventure Fit Facebook Group!

Share the knowledge!

Author: clarissa.cabbage

Clarissa is a teacher, a coach, and an avid adventurer! Armed with a master's degree in Exercise and Wellness, she is on a mission to teach people how to build healthier habits that support the adventurous lifestyle of their dreams. There is nothing Clarissa is more passionate about than helping people get active and live their lives to the fullest!

38 Replies to “3 Tips To Stop Hating (And Start Loving!) Your Exercise

    1. Thank you Hannah! My sister loves the Zumba thing. I’m so uncoordinated it’s painful (for my pride). ?‍♀️? Just goes to show everybody’s different. Good luck with the Zumba videos!

  1. Such a great post! I love to dance, so I usually do that at home (the benefit of living alone) And I love slacklining, which is great with friends. I totally agree that you shouldn’t hate it. I am not an active person at all, but I’ve found some things I love!

    1. Haha yes Lisa! My dog is the only one that gets to see me dance, and she always looks extremely concerned… Probably not a ringing endorsement for my moves? ?‍♀️
      And slacklining is way harder and a much better workout than I ever would have thought! Thanks so much for the read and the comment!

    1. It really does help, doesn’t it Lucy? Life is so much easier when you enjoy it! I’m missing the adventures big time too. Hopefully soon we’ll be back at them! ?????? Thank you for the comment!

  2. These are all great tips but to be honest I’ve yet to find anything that can inspire me to get off the sofa after a day glued to my laptop! I do enjoy gardening at the weekend though, but I know that’s not enough. A local dance class sounds fun, although I’m not sure I’d have commitment! Lisa 🙂

    1. Oh gardening, I do miss that! I have been finding myself wishing I had space for a garden at my place during all of this.
      A dance class sounds like it might be a good option for you when you are ready to start, especially if you can drag a friend with you!

  3. These are definitely some great suggestions!

    For me setting a goal and having my boyfriend as an exercise buddy keeps me accountable and consistent with my training!

    How about you?

    1. That’s awesome Lily! I miss having a solid workout buddy. It does help a lot. I used to enjoy training just to train, but now I find it much more motivating to have something to train for!

  4. I’ve always loved doing weights, so I’m missing the gym big time! I actually went out and bought kettlebells and a home kit but I don’t think it’s quite the same feeling haha

    I was also about to train for the world’s toughest half marathon (have absolutely zero experience!) that’s normally held in November, but that went out of the window too :'(

    I absolutely need to get back into some exercise soon. I think taking the doggo for more walks will be the way to go ^_^

    1. I hear you there Claire. It’s a bummer that all the events are getting cancelled. I paddle competitively for an outrigger canoe team here on Hawaii. We had such big goals for this season. But unfortunately, the whole season has been cancelled. I’m pretty bummed about that, and trying to shift my goals towards training for a big adventure when this is all over.

    1. Yes, I love active vacations! Hopefully we will be back to taking them soon. For now I’m focusing on training for a big backpacking trip and a paddling trip that I’ve always wanted to do closer to home, but haven’t got the chance to yet. I figure we’ll be able to do those first.

  5. I love these tips! It’s so true that enjoying your chosen thing makes the world of difference. I know most people don’t like cardio, but I love running. And I hate weight training, so I avoid it and settle for some short bodyweight routines just to mix my runs up every now and then. I definitely think having time set goals really helps in terms of motivation, as does having a workout partner. I normally go to the gym with my mum (when they were open, obviously not right now) and not wanting to cancel on the other definitely pushes us both into going if one of us isn’t feeling it x

    Sophie

    1. Thank you Sophie, I’m glad you enjoyed the tips! I hate cardio if I have to just run on a treadmill or machine, or even on the road. But I love it if you put me out on the ocean in my canoe and I can enjoy the ocean and the sunshine and watch for turtles, whales, dolphins and manta rays! I could go all day like that, and get a great workout in the process!

  6. I like these tips! I used to feel like I had to jog because that’s a common form of exercising, but here’s the thing, I’m not a fan of running. Recently, I’ve taken to dancing, which is an amazing form of cardio.

    1. Thank you Harumi! I used to feel like I had to run too – I think that’s a pretty common thought. Now I hike or paddle instead, and I don’t hate cardio anymore. I am glad you found a form of cardio you can enjoy as well!

  7. I completely agree with the fact that if you don’t like the exercise you probably aren’t going to stick with it. I’ve tried so many different things over the years just because sometimes things get boring, or I just don’t like them, etc. I’ve never heard of the 52 hike challenge, and I don’t think I could commit to it, but it sounds so awesome. I love hiking! Training for something is really neat. I like having a goal in mind. It keeps me focused.

    1. Thank you for the comment Natasha! I’m with you, I love to have something to train for. The 52 hike challenge is amazing! It was perfect when I lived in Phoenix – there were tons of trails close to the city to hit after work, and you could hike pretty much year round (if you got up really early in the summer). It obviously has its drawbacks for some regions though, especially those where it snows. If I moved back to Washington I think I would tweak the challenge for myself to include any outdoor adventure for 52 weeks of the year. That way I could snowshoe or XC ski in the winter or hike, backpack, rock climb, rappel, stand up paddle, or kayak the other months!

  8. My two favourite types of exercise are long distance walking and aerobic workouts. I totally agree with you about kicking what is not working to the curb! I have a high intensity aerobic workout that I have been doing for years but lately it has gotten boring. I have put it on the back burner in favour of some newer, shorter workouts and it really has increased my motivation!

    1. Awesome! I get really bored with the same old workouts too. As they say, variety is the spice of life. I much prefer the shorter high intensity workouts to the long drawn out ones in most cases. I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you! Thank you for the read and the comment.

  9. It took me a while, but I found the types of exercise I love a couple of years ago. It makes life so much easier when you enjoy being active and getting in shape!

    1. I absolutely agree Jaclyn! When we actually enjoy exercise, motivation comes a whole lot easier, which makes a world of difference. Sometimes people even start craving their exercise – wouldn’t that be nice! Thanks so much for reading. ?

  10. What a great post! I think my problem with not exercising is because I try to do things I dont really enjoy (aka running outside)! When lockdown lifted, I’d like to try kickboxing!! Thank you for the tips 🙂
    Em – planningwithem.com

    1. You are very welcome Emily! I have found that this is a common tripping block for a lot of people. For some reason we all think we have to run. ?‍♀️ I’ve fallen into that same trap. But unless we’re part of that lucky group that enjoys running, it doesn’t usually turn out well.
      Kickboxing is so much fun! I used to go to one of those kickboxing gyms that have the heavy bags to hit and kick. Holy cow those were amazing calorie burners and great stress relief! I know it’s a little tricky now with so many things closed, but that sounds like a great option for you when they open again. Best of luck and mahalo for the comment! ?

  11. These are great tips! I don’t really enjoy working out but I know I should. As you said maybe I should try something I enjoy to stick to it, long term. Thank you!

    1. You’re very welcome, I am glad you found this useful. It’s worth trying some new things to potentially find something you dislike a little less, or even better, something you love! Best of luck in your search!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post Sunshine! I get bored pretty easily too when exercising inside. Although exercising outside (paddling, hiking etc.) never gets old for me! When I do need to do a traditional cardio or resistance training, I like to mix things up with circuits and challenges to keep it interesting! Best of luck in your search for something new!

  12. Excercise can definitely be fun! I have found zumba and ‘clubexcercise’ recently. The music makes the time fly by, you have so much fun and you don’t realise how much of a good work out it is!

    1. Thank you for the read Chris! It’s surprising what a good play list can do isn’t it?! I’ve got a good upbeat one that I’ve made for workouts, that I won’t listen to any other time than working out. This way it stays fresh and pumps me up for my workouts!

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