By Jonathon Stavres PhD, ACSM-EP-C
Many people will admit that they don’t enjoy exercise, and there may be even more who would rather not admit it. If you’re one of these people, there is nothing to be ashamed of. The truth is that exercise is not always fun, and in fact can be quite difficult to maintain at times.
This is considered to be one of the most significant barriers to maintaining an exercise program. Therefore, it is very important to do what you can to enjoy your exercise program as much as possible.
Create workout enjoyment with music
One way of creating more enjoyment in your workout is through music. Stork, Kwan, Gibala, and Martin Ginis (2015) found that listening to music enhances the enjoyment of sprint-interval training among a group of twenty active adults.
Music can both motivate and distract you during a workout. Continuing to find new music can keep your workout interesting week after week.
Buy your favorite workout clothes
Another way of making your workout more enjoyable is by buying your favorite workout clothes. Some people may consider this to be a frivolous purchase or pointless in general. However, if you feel self-conscious about your appearance when you’re at the gym, then you are less likely to keep to your workout.
In contrast, feeling a desire to show of your new clothes can provide some extra motivation to get to the gym. Therefore, looking good can translate to feeling good, and feeling good helps you stay active.
Perform periods of high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
Finally, a third way to make exercise more enjoyable is to perform periods of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a method of training that includes a period of very high-intensity exercise, separated by bouts of low-intensity exercise.
Training enjoyment has been shown to increase with HIIT compared to continuous exercise in previously sedentary adults (Heisz, Tejada, Paolucci, & Muir, 2016). This can help a new-exerciser develop a strong habit of physical activity, and can help a more seasoned exerciser get past any slumps in motivation; which we all face at some point.
Enjoyment of exercise is vital to exercise adherence. Simply put, if we don’t enjoy something, we are far less likely to do it. Here we discuss three simple ways to make exercise more enjoyable.
However, there are many other options to increase the enjoyment of an exercise program, all of which may help you reach your health and fitness goals.
*Before starting an exercise regimen, consult with your physician and/or healthcare provider
**For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
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Heisz, J. J., Tejada, M. G., Paolucci, E. M., & Muir, C. (2016). Enjoyment for High-Intensity Interval Exercise Increases during the First Six Weeks of Training: Implications for Promoting Exercise Adherence in Sedentary Adults. PLoS One, 11(12), e0168534. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168534
Stork, M. J., Kwan, M. Y., Gibala, M. J., & Martin Ginis, K. A. (2015). Music enhances performance and perceived enjoyment of sprint interval exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 47(5), 1052-1060. doi: 10.1249/mss.0000000000000494