Tips To Make Exercise More Enjoyable
Here I share some of my great tips to make your exercise routine more enjoyable for you.
1. Find exercise that you like: Do you feel like your feet are nailed to the ground whenever it is time to exercise? Then your choice of activity may not be suitable for you. The key to sticking with an exercise routine is finding an activity that you look forward to. I am always looking for new workouts and ways to keep exercise interesting. Recently I was treated to a Nia class at 7th Heaven in Berkeley by my friend Sandrine Hahn from Nourishing Our Children.
A description of Nia from their website:
Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that draws from martial arts, dance and healing arts. It empowers people of all shapes and sizes by connecting the body, mind, emotions and spirit. Classes are taken barefoot to soul-stirring music in more than 45 countries. Step into your own joyful journey with Nia, and positively shape the way you feel, look, think and live.
I absolutely loved Nia because I enjoy dancing and hearing new music from around the world. I used to dance a lot when I was younger with my girlfriends so the freestyle segments throughout were a great release. The class was packed with lunges and squats but they went unnoticed because we were enjoying ourselves so much. It felt great to loosen up and get out of my own head. I think sometimes I make myself crazy over analyzing nutrition and health resulting in information overload. Being in the Nia class I was able to go into a parasympathetic state which is a therapeutic way to relieve stress and reduce inflammation (the root of all disease). Going to Nia on Sunday was better for my health than any supplement that I could have taken.
2. Look at exercise as a reward: I urge my clients not to spend hours on the treadmill as a punishment for making poor eating choices or being overweight. Instead seek joy in your exercise routine by choosing activities that make you feel rejuvenated. I allocate several hours most weeks to walking around San Francisco because I truly love breathing the ocean air and soaking up the sun (when it’s out). You can try gardening, walking your dog, or cleaning house (with non-toxic products) which can all be rewarding investments of your time in an effort to improve your health.
3. Choose exercises based on primal movement patterns: Our bodies are designed to lunge, squat, pull (row), push (push-up), gait (walking), bend (deadlift) and twist (Wood chops) according to fitness guru Paul Chek. If your movement practice does not fall in line with one of these then your chance of burnout and injury are high. Running marathons would be an example of exercise that does not align with our primal ancestral movement patterns because it is a waste of energy and too taxing on the body. Quick movements such as sprinting from danger or crouching to hunt an animal are more compatible with our design and instincts.
4. Work in not out: With all the stress of our daily lives the last thing we need is draining workout. Sometimes we need to initiate the parasympathetic nervous system with our movement by choosing yoga or slow walking. Restorative yoga is a great practice that lowers stress, high blood pressure and inflammation letting the body heal itself. When we have too much stress attempting weight loss is like swimming in cement (next to impossible).
5. Keep it short and sweet: Who has hours to spend at the gym? I have said before 20-30 minutes of smart weight training is as effective as hours of boring cardio. HITT training is also a great way stimulate fat burning and youth promoting human growth hormone release. See a video about how to do this exercise here called Peak 8.
6. Be realistic: Make sure you are choosing an activity that is compatible with your life. If your gym is far from home or work it is pretty likely that you will not make it there very often. Try purchasing some videos, pull up bar and some hand weights to make a home gym to cut down on the excuses. You may also find that you need an appointment with a trainer to help keep you on track. Check in with yourself and ask what is really going to happen on a hectic day when I am busy and stressed? It may be that you need to go back to #4 and take a rest day to work in not out.