Ask Dr. Nandi: How to make yourself love exercise

Posted at 5:07 PM, May 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-31 17:07:39-04

You may think of exercise as a chore, but a new study suggests you can learn to enjoy it.

A study from the University of Michigan interviewed 40 women between the ages of 22 and 49 about their attitudes towards exercise and what makes them feel successful. 

Women who were inactive felt exercising took up too much time, had to be sweat-inducing hard work, and were concerned they wouldn’t meet weight-loss expectations which could trigger feelings of failures. 

They also believed exercise wasn’t an ideal way to relax

Women who were physically active had almost the opposite views.  Exercise was used to decompress and relax. It stimulated feelings of accomplishment and was seen as a way to connect socially.

You can learn to enjoy being active by reeducating yourselves, adjusting beliefs and expectations. So here are my prescriptions:

  • Change you view on what exercise is. It doesn’t have to be a vigorous class at the gym. It can be biking around your neighborhood, playing tag or catch with your kids, or dancing in your living room.
  • Think of physical activity as a way to relax. Grab a few friends and take a walk. Not only do you get to socialize, but your mood gets boosted and you’ll feel good.
  • Stop focusing on weight loss. Instead, your reward is adding movement and exercise into your life. See it as something positive, your commitment to health.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Exercising can bring out self-consciousness, especially if you start taking classes. Don’t let those thoughts stop you and instead, focus on your improvements.

Sitting is the new smoking and too many of you are leading sedentary lives. 

Think of exercises as movement with purpose. When you see an opportunity to move, do it. 

Park farther away from the door, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Try to get 150 minutes a week. That’s fitting in roughly 22 minutes a day. And you don’t have to do it all at once.