Guess what? Exercising is really good for you! I know … Shocking revelation, huh? The fact that regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle can lead to a slowing down of the aging process and a longer lifespan isn’t anything we don’t already know. But there’s another accepted truth I want to look at today – Some people find exercising really boring! And it’s not just newbies who can get caught in a motivational rut. Doing the same exercises over and over again is enough to turn anybody off.
So, what can we do about it? Believe it, or not, research shows that people enjoy exercise a lot more than they think they will, so the trick is to make sure you vary what you’re doing, and use little tactics to boost your exercise enjoyment level. In this article, I want to focus on four ways you can switch things around and make sure you’re squeezing every last drop of fun-juice out of your exercise regime.
1. Buddy up
One of the key ways to make sure your exercise actually happens is to involve other people. Having a workout buddy adds motivation to your routine, so both of you can keep pushing to reach your goals. Involving other people in your exercise regime also means a little accountability – it’s harder to make excuses for not going to the gym if you know someone else is counting on you to be there!
If you’re new to the idea of hitting the gym, (or running, or swimming, or football, or spinning…, etc.) and you already have an exercise-loving friend, just ask them if they wouldn’t mind showing you the ropes. I’m sure they’d love to have another workout buddy! And if you’re not too sure on who you could get to be your exercise partner, here are a few ideas on what you can do:
- Post a Flyer – They’ll be notice boards (both real and digital) at your gym, school, office and sports center. See if anybody is in the same situation as you and looking for the right motivation.
- Sign up to a Group – Local teams, groups and event organizers are always looking for people to join in on their adventures! Check local magazines, newspapers and websites like Active.com for more information. Social media channels like Facebook are also a goldmine for discovering fun events and clubs in your area.
- Talk to Your Colleagues – Your workplace can be an ideal location to find an exercise buddy. You are probably sharing the same stressors, so it makes perfect sense to also share a lunchtime run, gym session or yoga class, to get healthy and get some relief.
Don’t forget, hanging out with friends (and bonding over shared experiences) is also one of my 10 Quick and Easy Tips for Reducing Stress.
2. Pump up the Music
Exercise is supposed to be energetic, and there’s no better way for getting into the rhythm than adding the perfect playlist! There’s evidence to suggest that music provides a ‘distraction effect’ during exercise, but you need to be wary of that, according to Fabio Comana, a faculty instructor at the National Academy of Sports Medicine. “Sustainable behavior is connected to the experience, and if music serves only to distract and tolerate, then no sustainable behavior is established,” he says. “In this case, if that music is removed, there is no reason to exercise.”
There’s no denying that music can definitely help you to synchronize your workout, and Comana goes on to say that the type and tempo of the music you listen to should reflect the type of exercise you’re doing:
- Warm-ups – 100 to 110 beats per minute (BPM)
- Strength Exercises – 110 to 120 BPM
- Endurance, Speed and Agility Exercises – More than 120 BPM
- Stretching – 90 to 100 BPM
This website is a handy way to check the BPM of any song, but the most crucial thing to remember when choosing your exercise playlist is to pick songs that put you in the zone and keep your energy levels up!
There’s also one more unbelievably important trick for when you’re getting your exercise music together, and you can find it in my 10 Incredible Health Hacks for Feeling Really Good article!
3. Get out!
Which is more enjoyable, exercising surrounded by nature and fresh air, or in the hormone-heavy environment of a gym? You probably don’t need me to tell you that an outdoor workout is less stressful and more enjoyable, and not surprisingly, scientific studies back-up this theory.
It may seem as though this one’s a no-brainer, but if you’re struggling to get motivated, try taking your training outside and taking in the surrounding scenery – You’ll feel more energized and more connected with nature.
4. Embrace Technology
This is one of my favorite ways to make exercise motivational and to inject a fresh dose of fun into staying healthy! In my article about ways to motivate your partner into doing more exercise, I talked about the idea of ‘exergames’ – wireless video games that require the player to move around. There are several versions of this concept available, but probably the most popular is the Nintendo Wii console. Whether you’re using exergames to play tennis, dance, box or any other fun activity, you’re getting the body moving!
Another technique for banishing the repetition of exercise routines is to embrace the gamification of fitness! Several companies have developed fitness apps that are designed to make your workout more engaging and entertaining! – I want to take a look at a few examples:
- Zombies, Run! – The slogan of this fun app is: ‘Run in the real world. Become a hero in another’. You play a survivor of a zombie apocalypse, who must venture out into the infected wasteland to get supplies for your friends, and of course, evade the marauding zombies! This app is super engaging and so much fun! Some people might find the idea of adding a zombie audio story into your fitness routine a little silly, but it’s an ideal way to get rid of the potential boredom of running
- Pact – If you need a little incentive to smash your fitness goals, how about real-life money to raise the stakes? Pact is an app that allows users to make pacts with one another for achieving healthy lifestyle goals. If you stick to your targets, you get paid. If you fail, you pay out to the users who stay committed.
- Superhero Workout – What if your workout wasn’t just about keeping fit, but about saving the world? In this fun training app, you use exercises to build up a ‘mech battle suit,’ which is the last line of defense against invaders. Anybody who likes sci-fi and fun technology will love this app, as it can be synced up to Apple TV or Chromecast so that you can watch all the action on the big screen! – Check out this trailer to get a better idea of how it all works.