Convince me that exercise/physical activity is fun

I listened to years and years of people saying, “Find something fun. Exercise is fun is you find something you like.” I finally figured out what works for me - I exercise daily because I have to, just like flossing my teeth and taking a shower. I don’t bitterly hate walking, gardening, and riding the bike while watching tv, so that’s what I do. It doesn’t have to be a major work-out every day, either - on a lazy day, my exercise might be walking around the block. Once I get up to actually head out, though, I usually find that I have more energy than I realized.

Also, I’m using an online calorie counter for losing weight, and if I exercise, I get to eat more. :slight_smile:

Well, the way I look at it is: I will always have that hilarious story of my 80-year-old grandfather threatening to be shot by a jealous husband. I will always have his affinity for dance. I will always have his apple butter recipe. And I will always have the woodworking legacy that he passed down to my dad, who passed it down to me. Not to mention the snarky, sick-and-twisted sense of humor that seems to be genetically passed around my clan.

So from where I stand… I haven’t lost a thing. Whenever I think of him, he’s still vibrant, dancing, and as ornery as ever in my mind’s eye.

Now, my dog I lost only about three weeks ago, and I’m still stinging a bit from that one. Much sadder story. :frowning:

Screw exercise, just find something active that you like to do.

There are tons of activities that work your body but wouldn’t necessarily be called exercise. Find a class or club that does something you like. If you can, something like tennis, racketball, or a bike or running club. If those are too tough, dance classes or a hiking club. If those are too tough, maybe a club that takes walking tours or a water aerobics class or a boating class.

I find that once I sign up for something the rest is easy.

May I suggest learning martial arts? I’m also 61 and in eight days, I’ll be testing for my 6th Degree Black Belt. It’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

** makes mental note to never piss **Clothahump **off **

Clotha, what martial (not to be confused with “marital” :wink: ) are are you pursuing? How long have you been at it? Also, are you male or female? (And what’s your favorite color and cat’s hat size?)

Jack Lalanne, long-time fitness enthusiast, at age 90 (San Antonio Express-News, Oct 4, 2004):


I agree with Marxx. I have an old iPod and I get free podcasts, which are about 30-60 mins long, and just go to the gym and soak up my podcasts until they’re done.

Music doesn’t do it for me anymore. But if I am wrapped up in a story, the hour flies by. I’ve also done audiobooks, which are great. They’re not free, but they make you want to keep going so you hear more of the story.

I also don’t walk on the treadmill or use the stationary machines - I like to just walk the track. I prefer the feeling of going somewhere.

I still wouldn’t say that exercise is fun but it has enough positive benefits to keep me going - it’s like flossing, like Cat Whisperer said.

I also made sure I bought decent shoes and comfortable clothes for my workouts. My doctor said she hopes I don’t peter out from the intensity, and I told her no way was my cheap ass going to let all of that monetary investment in clothes and shoes go to waste!!

I’ve taken up running (along with joining Weight Watchers and losing 70 pounds along the way). I run/walk at least 5K almost every day. I’ve already run an official 5K (in 34:01) and walked two half marathons, and I’m training for a 10K (hope to run the whole thing) and half marathon (plan to run/walk) in September.

I don’t love it. (Not yet, anyway. I do remember getting the “runner’s high” when I ran briefly in college. So I still have hope.) If you told me I could stop tomorrow and never run or walk for fitness again, I’d say “Oh, thank you” and hang up my shoes for good.

But I think of it as a bodily function that’s necessary to my health. Nobody loves brushing their teeth or going to the bathroom, but we do it because it’s part of taking care of our bodies or something that just needs to be done. So nearly every day I lace up and do my miles.

Sometimes I get into a groove, and it seems to be happening more often lately, where I suddenly “come to” from having zoned out and realize that I don’t really remember the last half-mile or whatever. Other times it’s a struggle to put one foot in front of the other.

For me, the iPod helps. I need silence or relatively white noise to work, so my run is my time to rock some tunes. Also the chance to get some fresh air in between sitting at a computer all day.

So I’m not crazy about the whole process, but I pull what pleasantness I can out of it. And like the giant corporation says, just do it.

When I take bellydances offered through the university recreation center, I’m about the oldest female there (besides the teacher). This summer, since they’re not offering it there, I’m taking classes with my teacher’s instructor. In that class, I’m the youngest, or close to it.

And my belly gets kicked by all the older women.

I’d recommend you check it. Again, find something fun for you.

What is your location? I do capoeira, which is a Brazilian mixture of martial arts with dancing and music. It is much less competitive than other martial arts, which is the reason I like it, it is much less stressful for me.

Perhaps you could check out if there are established capoeira studios in your area? Or any other martial arts, for that matter.

They really did get that slogan right - sometimes you just do it.

Hmmm… so I guess you’re not talking about Mexican bread pudding with raisins and cheese…?
Seriously, these are good suggestions- thanks! When I used to live in a more walk-friendly area, I definitely used my iPod to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. I used to walk twice a day because I could just walk out the door and… well: walk. Now I live in the country and can’t walk here. I have to get in the car and go somewhere else. The speed limit on the road nearest to me is 70 mph.

If you enjoy dancing, another possibility is Jazzercise. It’s not what a lot of people think it is…old ladies in leotards and leg warmers dancing to disco. They use the most current music, everything from Lady Gaga to Michael Buble to whoever’s hot in Country Music, and it’s a mix of jazz dance, tae bo, and pilates. Each normal class is about 35 minutes of cardio, followed by 25 minutes of strength training with small hand weights, exercise balls, etc.

I love it…it’s the only form of exercise I’ve ever been able to stick with because I found everything else so boring. They change the routines all the time, so you can’t really get into a rut with it.

One part I like best is the socializing aspect of it…it’s almost entirely women (I think there’s one guy at my center), and everyone is super-friendly and non-judgmental. You get all types…young mothers, elderly grandmas, stay-at-homes, high-powered career women. We have some who were obviously formally trained dancers in another life, and some who resemble Elaine Benes dancing on Seinfeld. Nobody cares as long as you come and have fun and just keep moving.

This company (Konami) also makes a Wii game called “Walk It Out” which I find very entertaining. You get points for walking in sync with songs and use the points to “buy” different things as you walk around an island. I play this game for an hour and the time just flys by for me.

A different tactic might be to find some activity that’s productive and that is energy-intensive as a side benefit, not as the main point. For example, Mr. Horseshoe has been building a deck for the last couple of … weeks? two months? and just remarked last night that he’s been buckling his belt not one but two holes tighter. All that physical activity of hauling lumber around and using tools is as labor-intensive as going to the gym. Plus, at the end, there’s a whole new deck out there!

Along these lines, I used to help a friend on his farm. Making sure the livestock were fed and watered, loading hay in trucks then loading it up in the barn, doing general maintenance of the grounds and outbuildings–all helped me stay in shape. Unfortunately, I moved, and his farm is too far away for me now. But farm work was exercise; it just didn’t feel like it to me.

You like dancing–ever try a community theatre group? If they do musicals (and many do), they’ll probably need background/chorus dancers for the big musical numbers. No lines to memorize, no songs to sing, just lots of dance rehearsals and the show itself. Great way to meet friends too.

I think there’s a lot of the idea out there that exercise = cardio workout and aerobics. I’d suggest, however, that as long as you’re moving, you’re doing better than you are sitting on the computer. Me, I hate gyms and running, but I love golf; which may not seem to be terribly active at first glance. However, I like to walk the course and carry my own clubs (i.e. no carts of any sort). This, combined with swinging a club through the game, gets me moving. It may not involve aerobics, but over a period of hours I am lifting, carrying, walking, and swinging; and thus, I’m getting some exercise. Note that my point is not to make you play golf (you’re free to hate it if you wish), but that you may find something you like doing that can still count as exercise, though it doesn’t involve “feeling the burn” and “hitting the wall.”

Have you tried Geocaching? I know a woman who went from morbidly obese to mildly overweight with geocaching. Granted, she was a little obsessive about the sport but still, it’s a fun way to get up, get out, and get a little exercise. On the plus side, there is still some computer use involved with research new caches and logging your finds. The only downside is dropping a little coin on a decent GPS unit. That and all the gas you burn driving further and further afield to get to all those new caches.

Here’s the thing about working out. The worst part is build up to it. Thinking about it beforehand. Debating whether or not you want to.

But once you actually start doing it, it’s not that bad. And afterwards, you feel much better for having done it. And this holds true for the first few weeks. You will have those feelings each time until you actually get in a routine.

At least that’s how it works for me. Ymmv.

I used to be a lot more active and lately have slacked off. Have actually gone through this same scenario a few times in my life to date. So I GET the whole thing about wanting to/not wanting to. :smack:

I used to cycle like 60 or more miles a week…for 5 YEARS I did that, and I was so damn fit…:cool:

I used to do yoga daily…ditto.

I am currently trying to psych myself up for such activity again…I KNOW I would feel better, drop the excess weight I’ve put on, benefit my health, but it is SO hard to just DO IT! :eek:

But that, ime, is what I have to do…just do it (no I am not promoting Nike…I used to work for Adidas, and that would be just…traitorous :D) I just have to do what I did before…get my ass out there/up and DO it, whether I want to or not. :mad:
(I rode my bike everywhere because I HAD to to get to work and back and to the store…I don’t HAVE to now, but I have to pretend I do and make myself do it anyway…a lot harder for me)

Because I KNOW that once I have done it grudgingly for a while (not long, either, just a few weeks or months) I will WANT to do it. I just won’t feel right when I don’t and will look forward to how great I feel, mentally and physically, when I do.
I used to turn down rides so I could ride my bike.

I recently tried a gym…HATED it! Not only working out on machines as opposed to “real life” activities, but with all these people I didn’t know or want to look at/have looking at me. Ick. With a friend/frineds is great, but not in a huge room full of strangers. JMHO.

So that…set your mind on it and force yourself for a while…every damn day. Before long, it will become second nature.

AND yes, find activities you enjoy for their own sake, not as “exercise”…like the dancing you mention (I love that as well…my late DH never would do it)

I like to take long walks and look at houses or just whatever.

And swim…we have a pool and I took my daughter and a few friends out for 2 hrs today and had a blast.

I also have a mini-tramp which is fun as hell to jump on, esp. to some good music.

Or I dance to music…sometimes while cleaning house. :slight_smile:

Planning on forcing myself to take a 5 mile bike ride every morning this summer (since I’m off and have the time)…just need to map out my routes.

But my best advise, which I am working on taking myself, is to just pick something and build it into your daily routine and don’t let yourself miss it. Soon, you won’t want to miss it. The body/brain is a monkey, and easily trained. :smiley:

Oh yeah, I understand that feeling. In the past year, I’ve gone from a completely sedentary existence to where exercise is a normal part of my day. If I don’t do something, I just don’t feel right. I’ve really had to experiment and see what I like best. I love to walk, but it is so boring if it’s inside: and right now, in the heat of a Mississippi summer, inside is the only option.

If I go to the gym, I love Zumba and sculpt. I also like Spinning, but got put off for a while after encountering a rude instructor. The rest are fantastic and so willing to help. Here in the office, I keep dumbbells and resistance bands: I also have a little exercycle that I can put under my desk and use while I’m listening to calls.

At home, I walk with my kids and our puppy, but I do indoor walking as well. Leslie Sansone has a wonderful series of indoor walking DVDs. We also have Walk It Out, which is a walking Wii game. It can use the Wii Fit board or the Dance Dance Revolution controller. We also do a lot of DDR and Wii Sports. FitTV is fantastic: I love Shimmy (bellydancing) and Gilad’s Total Body Sculpt.

I try to fit some form of exercise in as often as I can. Some days, it’s hard to do, because I just don’t want to: but I always feel better afterward. It all started with walking 15 minutes a day at the office, a Richard Simmons DVD at night, and tons of support from my family, friends, work mates, and SparkPeople.