What’s your relationship to exercise?

A group exercise class lunging and smiling.

If I said to you “let’s exercise later”, what comes to your mind? What is your relationship to exercise?

Is it your favourite exercise class, which you enjoy and have fun at or are you filled with dread and boredom?

So often I find exercise is portrayed as a way to lose weight, get fit or to be the shape you want.

But exercise is so much more than that. Exercise has so many benefits. It is an essential part of being healthy and giving your body what it needs.

Exercising reduces stress, it helps you sleep better, eat better, stops your body stiffening up, it keeps you agile, flexible and strong, it helps you get on with your day, it boosts your immune system, it gets you breathing more deeply and cleaning out stale air in your lungs, it boosts good hormones and makes you feel happy, it helps you deal with difficult times and situations, it clears your head.

Are those enough benefits?

You see, if you see exercise as a chore only there to aid in weight loss or something you HAVE to do, you will never enjoy it.

Man banging his head against his laptop.
If this is how exercise makes you feel, explore why.

It will always be difficult to do, you will find 101 excuses not to do it, something else will always take priority. You will struggle to stick to it because you don’t want to do it and are forcing yourself. This is a negative relationship to exercise. We want to change that.

Have you ever thought about why you feel exercise is such a negative experience? What is it that triggers these emotions?

Write what thoughts and emotions come up for you when thinking to do exercise. Be really honest and clear with yourself. Noticing these is the first step to changing this pattern of exercise = an unwanted chore. 

What physical activity do you enjoy doing? 

Exercise isn’t just going to the gym, it can be a tango dance class, it could be playing with young kids or even gardening. Maybe it is just putting the radio on and dancing round the house. Or walking to the shops instead of taking the bus or car. It could even be doing squats every time you make a cup of tea.

Family running around garden around sprinkler.
Running around in the garden counts as exercise with the kids.

There is so much you can do, and you can have fun doing it. 

I want to stress how important it is to enjoy and have fun when you exercise, because if it is fun you will stick to it. You will also start to notice the downside of not doing it.

I love dancing and feeling my muscles aching from exercises, like Pilates. I also feel the good hormone boost, so when I don’t exercise for a few days, I feel it. I miss it. I crave it. If it was an exercise that I didn’t enjoy, I wouldn’t feel like this. I wouldn’t miss it. That is why it is vital you enjoy the activity. 

Find an activity you enjoy and if you find you are umming and ahhing about doing it, remind yourself of all the benefits and remember how you felt after the last time you exercised and enjoyed it.

Tune into these feelings so that you start creating a new habit of feeling these positive emotions and thoughts to exercise.

If you find you are still having trouble tuning into that positivity or there are negative thoughts about exercise you can’t shift, get in touch with me. I’m more than happy to have a chat about them with you and see what you can do to change this pattern and have a better relationship to exercise. 

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