Tip #1: Do something you enjoy—and switch things up.
Every time I talk to my mom about running, she shakes her head and says, “That just doesn’t sound like fun.” I explain that I love it because it’s such a good calorie-burning value for the time, but she’s not convinced. But here’s the thing: my mom goes to yoga every day. She takes long walks and bike rides. Her exercise activities are things that she really loves, not something she does—but dreads--because it’s “such good exercise.”
Don’t feel like you should swim because that’s what your husband does, or you should play tennis because your next-door neighbor loves it. Find what you love. Explore your options. Take a few classes. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do the same thing every time you exercise; cross-training is actually better for your body and helps develop different muscles and prevent injury. As a runner, I need yoga to help counteract the hamstring-shortening effect of my runs. And my legs may be getting a great workout, but an aerobics classes always reminds me that I need to spend extra time on my arms.
I live in a town where the university and the community center both offer fitness classes, in addition to the gyms. There are adult soccer and softball teams, running clubs, biking clubs, triathalon-training groups, yoga classes, and all kinds of dance and martial arts classes for adults. Start looking in your own community—I think you’ll find that the myriad of options is amazing.
Remember, you don’t have to commit to one activity for the rest of your life (or the rest of the week!). Try something new; revisit something you love. Take the chance to make your exercise time something that you really enjoy and look forward to as a respite from the not-so-pleasant bits of your day. As you become more fit, you’ll likely find that your choices broaden even more. Start with a walk around your block, and you may be surprised at where you find yourself in a year!