The Awful Truth About Exercise

Speaking of “exercise allergies,” you may be able to run on a treadmill without breaking out in hives but nevertheless suffer an equally unpleasant reaction to the very thought of entering a gym. What’s the cure for this kind of exercise allergy? The list of recommendations from fitness experts always begins with the same tip: Choose an activity you truly enjoy. In many cases cases, this hint does the trick. But in others, it can actually prove downright discouraging. The truth is, for some people, exercise will never be fun. People who hate exercise often think of themselves as clumsy and un-athletic and recall gym classes as painfully embarrassing. I have clients and friends who would describe themselves this way but have still managed to implement successful fitness routines. Were they suddenly motivated by a miraculous surge of willpower? Did they finally learn to love intense physical exertion? Not at all. In most cases, they simply made a logical choice. The breakthrough came for one woman as she stared enviously at the sleek body of a passing runner. “As usual, I started blaming genetics for cursing me with this lazy, uncoordinated, and increasingly flabby, overweight body. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to like running or perform like track star to have a runner’s body—I just had to run. When I realized that a few hours a week of temporary discomfort was the price of escape from a lifetime of hating my body, exercise suddenly seemed like a pretty good deal.” Think about it: We all do things we don’t really like to achieve the results we desire. How many people actually love flossing their teeth? Or getting up at 6 a.m. and commuting miles to work? But whether it’s false teeth or the unemployment line, once we consider the ugly alternatives to taking care of business, life's routine chores almost always seem doable. The good news about exercise is that it works regardless of how you feel about it. That means you can enjoy its benefits without trying to do the impossible. You can finally stop struggling to change yourself into a perky physical fitness fan. The fact is, letting go of the belief that working out should be the most enjoyable part of your day can actually relieve a lot of the pressure and frustration you associate with exercise. Still not convinced you can do it? Stay tuned for my upcoming blog posts, and enjoy this informative video.