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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 28, 2012

Dear Mark: I Hate to Exercise

By Mark Sisson
195 Comments

Many of us enjoy exercise, probably more just tolerate it, but have you ever known someone to detest it with every fiber of their being? Today, we have a question from a reader with precisely that issue. She hates exercise, and even feels near to tears when she has to do it. Moreover, she doesn’t get the “high” that many of us – even the ones who would rather be doing something else – enjoy after a workout. Well, she’s not alone. Regular exercise is a major stumbling block for many of us, so let’s take a look at some general strategies those that hate exercise can employ, as well as new ways to think about and approach exercise. I don’t have any end all, be all answers, but I do have some good ideas. First, the question:

I think I saw this concern addressed on your blog, but I am not sure. I hate to exercise. There is something in me that just makes me want to cry when I have to do it. I never feel good after I do it. What is the answer? Desperately wanting to exercise, but just can’t.

Thanks,

Mary

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. There is no one supplement to take. There’s no one exercise that works for everyone, everywhere, under any circumstance. That you’re “desperately wanting to exercise,” however, is a good start. Here are my suggestions for getting started and making it stick. Oh, and – most importantly – enjoying it!

Get a Workout Partner

More importantly than just finding someone who will workout with you, make a series of pacts with your buddy. First, if one person doesn’t show or backs out, the other person must also back out. Second, pledge to keep training until the other person stops. Research suggests that if someone else’s workout depends on yours, you will be more likely to exercise, so as not to disappoint or let down the other person. Drill sergeants have been doing essentially this for millennia – making the group suffer for the mistake of one in order to compel the one to shape up.

Tinker with Your Neural Reward System

Normally, the release of dopamine makes us feel good about completing a goal. That goal could be finishing a tough work assignment, winning a game of chess, or completing a hard workout. And the dopamine release, if it happens reliably enough, also helps us form (good and bad) habits. Is there something you love and enjoy every time you experience or obtain it? Maybe it’s an episode of your favorite TV show. Maybe it’s a long hot bath. Whatever it is, indulge yourself with a healthy reward every single time you work out. If you’ve ever trained a dog to do anything, this will be familiar. You might even feel a little silly, but don’t. We’re all animals, and we all respond to reward in similar ways. It’s just that some of us have already learned to associate exercise with neural reward. You probably haven’t, so you need to do a bit of formal entrainment. Eventually, you won’t need the reward anymore. Like a good dog no longer needs a treat in order to sit, stay, or come, you’ll come to associate exercise with its own inherent reward – especially after seeing the results.

Make Your Short Workouts Shorter and More Intense

I say this a lot, and for good reason: acute bouts of ultra-intense training is more effective and, unsurprisingly, more neurally rewarding. What does this mean, in real world terms? Increase the intensity and reduce the volume. Lift more weight, not more reps. Run (or bike, or crawl, or swim) as fast as you can for a short period of time, not pretty fast for a long period of time.

Just Move and Play

You say you hate “exercise.” That’s fine; lots of people hate it. But what about movement in general? Is there any physical activity you can bear? Walking? Gardening? Hiking? Rock climbing? Playing catch? Frisbee? I refuse to believe that any and all types of physical undertaking make you miserable. If you can find the will to get up out of bed and walk to the kitchen for breakfast in the morning without crying, you can walk a little farther – say, around the block several times – as well. Don’t worry about calories or reps or weight or the next guy. Just move and play.

Relearn the Meaning of Exercise

While I’ve always been active, there was a time when I hated – truly hated – what I considered to be the optimal form of exercise. Back when I was an endurance athlete, running marathons and then competing in triathlons, I began to hate my training. I was fit and active and thought I was doing the best thing I could for my body, but I really dreaded working out. Eventually, I realized that not only was my training unpleasant and miserable, it was also extremely unhealthy. That revelation forced me to relearn the meaning of exercise. I had to move, I had to train somehow, but I couldn’t continue on my current trajectory. I had to start all over and accept that maybe, just maybe it would be okay to take it easy and lift some weights, move really fast for short periods of time, and take actual rest days. Once I accepted that exercise didn’t have to miserable to be effective, everything fell into place.

Examine Your Past

Your disdain for exercise may be long-held and deep-seated. Perhaps your gym classes as a kid were particularly brutal and unforgiving, and you just learned to associate exercise with misery. I felt that way, early on in my school career. But amidst all the wedgies and purple nurples and teasing, I learned to love exercise by finding something I loved to do (and something I was already doing on my own as a kid): running. Ironically, I hate running distance nowadays, but my love for movement in general has never waned. Look back to and face down a precipitating event – if one indeed exists. Identifying it may be enough to start the road to recovery.

Try Different Modalities

Some need more regimentation, direction, and structure to their exercise. Some need more freedom, randomization, and boundlessness. Many people do better at the gym and laze around at home; others never quite get over their self-consciousness and instead prefer working out solitarily, whether that’s in the garage or at a secluded spot in the park. I’m a big fan of both slow-moving high intensity training, a la Body By Science, as well as something as seemingly intuitive but sneakily periodized and systematic as MovNat. If you dislike training and want it to be over with as quickly as possible while remaining effective, try Body by Science, explained here in a guest post by Dr. Doug McGuff (its creator). If you hate training but want to love it, try a MovNat 1-day class (described here by a Worker Bee who attended one). I challenge you to try MovNat and not want to move often and move well.

This will sound cliche, but you need to broaden your horizons. You may end up hating each and every one of the workout modalities you try, but you cannot know that until you actually try one. Good luck! And remember, you just have to move!

Feel free, folks, to chime in with whatever worked for you. Specific movements, training regimens, strategies, different ways to think about exercise, that sort of thing. Oftentimes the best stuff comes up in the comment section, and I hope this time is no different!

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195 Comments on "Dear Mark: I Hate to Exercise"

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AJ
AJ
4 years 4 months ago
If someone hates exercise, I think one of the easiest things to do is start “playing” instead. I once heard Mark say, “I do two hard workouts a week; they take anywhere from 17 to 35 minutes. I do one sprint workout a week. I fill the rest of the time in with play. I try to find ways that I can move my body to have fun; not to be staring at some LED readout hoping I get up to 475 to earn a bagel when I get home.” I imagine everyone has to have some forms of activities… Read more »
cancerclasses
4 years 4 months ago
I used to feel guilty for hating exercise, then I read ‘The Myth of Cardiovascular Health From Exercise’ and now I thoroughly enjoy avoiding exercise every chance I get! “The truth is that, at best, exercise slightly prolongs the time before a heart attack – it can’t and doesn’t prevent one. We are all told constantly that exercise prevents heart disease. WRONG. “The evidence is unassailable – coronary heart disease develops and progresses during training. Exercisers die of heart disease despite exercise.”1 We are told that running to get the heart rate up is ideal exercise. WRONG. “Running injuries are… Read more »
einstein
einstein
4 years 3 months ago
Well, who said the purpose of exercising was to save you from heart disease? If you eat unhelathy foods, nothing will save you from a bitter end. But eating healthy stuff is not enough for many. I want to be strong, muscular, functional and resilient. Moreover, exercise makes me feel good. Since I have a sedentary job, exercise helps me to prevent muscle and strength loss . And to the topic: I don’t think Mary wants to exercise badly. Matter of fact she hates the thing and is trying to convince herself, that she badly wants to do it. If… Read more »
laura m.
laura m.
4 years 3 months ago

Exercise and living longer may not work for some, but keeps leg circulation up. Main reason for me: muscle toning (wt lifting, pushups, etc) biking, tubing exercises.

Shary
Shary
4 years 1 month ago
Exercise for the sake of exercise is boring. I’ve long detested anything approaching calisthenics. I’ve belonged to gym after gym over the years, always gung-ho in the beginning, then dropping out after a few months, bored to death with it. So what’s the answer? Obviously, it varies from person to person. For me it’s been a stationary bike in the living room. I don’t watch all that much TV because most of it sucks. However, finding some dumb program to focus my mind on while I pedal and do sprints on the bike seems to fill the bill. I can’t… Read more »
Sonya
Sonya
4 years 3 months ago
I hate to exercise, as well, and the only thing keeping the weight off is my diet- but I’m plateauing now and dreading the fact that I have to get into a routine. “Play” is exactly the thing keeping me active. I have to focus on something fun in order to get out and do something. Granted, I live 5 minutes from the beach, but I’m finding ways to get out like biking (on a cruiser, yes…), walking to the store, beach volleyball, and I’m looking into aerial fitness. Sounds fun, and that’s the only thing keeping me from sitting… Read more »
just_chris
just_chris
4 years 14 days ago
I used to hate the idea of exercise too, was never any good at (nor interested in) sports at school. I dabbled in martial arts, but never took any physical activity seriously It was only after age 30 that a mate of mine got me in to rock climbing, then I found parkour, and renewed my interest in kungfu. So, I heartily agree with the idea of finding ways to make fitness FUN. It just requires trying some different activities. Playing with your kids or dog, catching a pick-up game of ultimate frisbee, orienteering – there are so many amazing… Read more »
Groktimus Primal
4 years 4 months ago

I had a friend who once told me it should be easy for me to lose weight because losing weight involved “not doing something” and he said I was the master of “not doing anything”!

Camille
Camille
4 years 4 months ago
I used to hate exercise. The whole time I couldn’t help but focus on how awful it felt; my breathing, every aching muscle. 5 minutes felt like an eternity. I learned I need either to play a game – like tennis – so I can focus on the game. Or else I watch tv while exercising. I put my iPad on my exercise bike console and I am sufficiently distracted. Recently I started doing bike sprints, and I love the idea of going all out for 30 seconds and then taking it easy. It’s easy to psych myself up for… Read more »
Jackson Hydra
Jackson Hydra
4 years 4 months ago

Personally, the best piece of exercise equipment I have is a “Skipper”.

Skipper has four legs and a tail. Skipper loves playing frisbie, catch, and just strolling through the neighborhood. I take Skipper out several times a day to walk or play. Skipper is always up for a good time.

Skipper is also my security system, early warning system, alarm clock, constant companion, and friend.

I’m convinced I’d be at least a year older if I didn’t have Skipper.

peggy
peggy
4 years 4 months ago

I have a Bugsy. I’m just jealous of all the naps he gets 😉

Rachel
Rachel
4 years 4 months ago

I’ve found my Kali worked in the manner you described until she was about 12. Now she only wants to play for a maximum of five minutes, will only go on leisurely strolls instead of hikes, sleeps in when I get up in the morning, and lets me get the doorbell when it rings.

Still wouldn’t trade her for the world, but exercise-wise, now that she’s 13.5 years young, I basically have to take her for her exercise then go do my own. Something for potential dog owners to take into consideration 🙂

Saro Jane
Saro Jane
4 years 3 months ago
Rachel, thanks for sharing this. Whenever having a dog is mentioned as a great way to get exercise I want to discuss life with a very senior companion. (Not that I think there’s anything wrong with being active with a canine companion, there’s everything RIGHT with it. I just think its important to consider our companion’s entire life span.) I have a 16 year old border collie (vet says he’s equivalent to 96 years old in ‘human’ years). He loves his walks, but they are shorter in time, distance and pace. He is dead serious about stopping to smell ALL… Read more »
Kristy
Kristy
3 years 10 months ago

Those of you with older dogs could do walking lunges and similar exercises if you DO want it to count for your exercise. I don’t think the doggies would mind. They may look at you funny.

spayne
spayne
4 years 3 months ago

I really, really liked your comment.

Liz
Liz
4 years 3 months ago

I agree wholeheartedly. I have Bill and Syd. They get me out in all weathers and knowing that they’re enjoying it so much makes me enjoy it too, even if I really didn’t feel like going for a walk, or playing with a frisbee. If it’s at all practical (but definitely not if it isn’t) a dog is the best incentive to playful exercise ever (and an amazing teacher in so many other ways too).

Ashley
Ashley
4 years 3 months ago

Love this! I have a piece of exercise equipment named Brisa.

The cool thing about Brisa is that she’s part Greyhound, so she hates to jog long distances and LOVES to sprint! She’s a fantastic motivator for me.

Samantha
Samantha
4 years 3 months ago
Same with my drill sergeants, Araley and Dexter, only they’re full greyhounds. However, I’ve found that if I build them up throughout the spring, by the middle of the summer, we’re doing leisurely 10km walks with no complaints (provided we avoid the hottest part of the day and I bring plenty of water for them. Of course, carrying all that water also helps me. The downside is that they HATE the cold and so I have to find other ways to get moving in the winter – but the walk to the bus gets harder because of the snow and… Read more »
Marty
Marty
3 years 9 months ago

+++++. I recently slowly lost my dog of 16+ years old age primarily and cancer and it has had a woeful impact on my activity level not to mention gutting me spiritually. Even when he was no longer active, he kept me active carrying him in/out of the house etc. The big take home for me is I *need* a dog. I am the quintessential dog person for sure.

ZippyChick
ZippyChick
4 years 4 months ago
Hmm.. for someone who hates to exercise, I think the best recommendation is something that doesn’t feel like exercise–you don’t need a special outfit, a special place, or to sweat or suffer pain and fatigue. I’m talking about… WALKING. There was a great book many years ago called “The 200 Calorie Solution” by Martin Katahn, an obesity researcher in Nashville. He recommended increasing your activity by roughly 200 calories a day, or the equivalent of a 45-minute walk. Yeah, it’s not glamorous and doesn’t sound as “cool” as playing with tires or doing a WOD… but it WORKS. And the… Read more »
Emily Mekeel
Emily Mekeel
4 years 4 months ago

This isn’t much different from what I read in French Women Don’t Get Fat. The author states that most french women despise gyms and instead look for easy, natural movements i.e. walking to market… walking anywhere really. Also, many will employ simple body weight movements for morning exercise that is neither strenuous nor complicated.

Paula
4 years 4 months ago

You wrote everything I would advise – I couldn’t say it better. WALKING was how I started 25 years ago. Not cool: I pursued it in stealth off campus, but it started a revolution… Gosh, my husband still goads me about how I hated exercise so much at the start of college, and as a result was so out of shape, I couldn’t even walk up the hill on his street without resting!

Nikolitsa
2 years 4 days ago
That’s exactly what I’ve been doing all along, but I didn’t know the science behind it! This makes so much sense to me. I used to be into crossfit, weightlifting and some running. Despite my fairly active lifestyle I had’nt been able to shed those pounds. Six months ago, I had to refrain from training due to (what else?) training injury, so I just started walking to work -about 40-60 minutes daily, sometimes much more, and usually carrying an 8-10 lb weight. Of course loss of appetite might have been a contributing factor, but within a month I lost about… Read more »
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[…] Mark’s Daily Apple: I think I saw this concern addressed on your blog, but I am not sure. I hate to exercise. There is […]

Peggy C
Peggy C
4 years 4 months ago
I hate exercise! Absolutely, unequivocally, with ever fiber of my being. The two main reasons are that the unrelenting teasing I endured as a child left huge emotionally-charged memories around it, and I sweat like a horse after the Derby (which grosses me out). But a little over a year ago, I decided that if I was going to get a dog (which I really, REALLY wanted to do), I would absolutely have to get over my deep-seated disgust. Enter Gruff, Feb. 2011. Ever since, I have walked at least 1 hour per day, 30 minutes in the morning and… Read more »
Jana
Jana
4 years 4 months ago
I passionately hate running. It has more to do with injuries and weight than anything else. I’m clumsy and accident prone and have torn up my ankles as a result. I used to like running as a child, more because I was fast and agile. Then came puberty and large breasts made running feel like I was counteracting a pendulum. I had drill sergents laughing at me (I was in the Army for 8 years) because my chest behaved as though it would knock me senseless when I ran. The right bra helped significantly but the compression of the bra… Read more »
Nikolitsa
2 years 4 days ago

Wow, great imput! Thanks.
I had the same problem with running, until I managed to lose some weight. I also find your description of the gym so true and hillarious. It’s pure misery in there. I only enjoyed my spinning class, sprints being my favourite part of the workout!

Mamachibi
Mamachibi
4 years 4 months ago
Exercise makes me physically ill. Ten minutes of walking at a slow pace gives me DOMS to the point that I can’t walk at all the next day. Fifteen minutes of dancing (my favorite play) and I am nauseated to the point I can’t eat for the rest of the day. Serious exercise for more than fifteen minutes (especially in the heat) and I’m laid up with flu-like symptoms for three days. I do it anyway, the low-level stuff, and dancing a couple times a week because I keep hoping my strength will build up eventually and I’ll become stronger… Read more »
mars
mars
4 years 4 months ago

“Ten minutes of walking at a slow pace gives me DOMS to the point that I can’t walk at all the next day”

Seriously?? Are you adequately hydrated when you walk?

Mamachibi
Mamachibi
4 years 4 months ago

Yes, if anything I have to fight overhydrating.

Meredith
Meredith
4 years 4 months ago

I just heard about exercise allergies – try some benadryl during or after and see it it eases?

Mamachibi
Mamachibi
4 years 4 months ago

Oooh! Thanks! I’ll try that!

Heather
Heather
4 years 4 months ago

Could it be a balance issue, like the inner ear?

Anthony
Anthony
4 years 4 months ago

If you can do something you enjoy – or find (or at least try) something you enjoy, such as dancing or bushwalking/hiking, look at this as doing something you enjoy doing, don’t look at it as exercise. Find like minded people doing these and before you know it, a social event such as dancing or bushwalking will be enjoyable and you will be “exercising” without realising it. Start with something low impact. You don’t have start with olympic lifting or crossfit or puking up to be classified as exercising. Just find an easy way to move and do it often.

AlyieCat
AlyieCat
4 years 4 months ago

Agree with the person who said balance issue. Nausea is usually ear related

Zoe
Zoe
4 years 4 months ago

I think you might want to talk to a physician about your symptoms. You need to rule out an underactive thyroid, muscle inflammation (myositis), myasthenia gravis, vitamin D deficiency and a bunch of rarer things including lupus or a connective tissue disorder.

Isabel
Isabel
4 years 4 months ago

Very good point. I can just relate to an underactive thyroid, but it gave me the exact same symptoms you’re suffering from right now.

The point I was able to start exercising seriously was the day after my thyroid medication started. And btw, thanks to Primal eating I’m medication-free at the moment!

Leah
Leah
4 years 4 months ago
I just posted about the same thing, happens to my daughter, we found she was allergic to lactic acid. We haven’t found a way of healing her body yet to reconfigure those brain signals to stop attacking the lactic acid, but I hear it can take years. We were told to avoid over exertion (exercise), sweating (heat), and all forms of lactic acid from diary and non dairy sources (basically found in processed foods, some deli meat, and some health products). Traditional medicine hasn’t worked for us, we are finding homeopathic solutions are working better for us. Good luck finding… Read more »
Irene Weiland
Irene Weiland
2 years 9 months ago
Just read your post, and I am really interested to hear how one would attempt to diagnose an allergic reaction or sensitivity to lactic acid. My daughter has always hated strenuous physical activity, but since she started a rigorous strength and fitness program as part of her regular high school PE classes, she is downright miserable most of the time, including prolonged periods of severe muscle aches, nausea during and immediately after exercise, and diarrhea for several days after severe muscle pain has subsided. I am starting to sort out food allergies (we know about lactose intolerance so far) ,… Read more »
Heather
Heather
4 years 4 months ago

Have you seen a Dr about this? How are your cortisol levels?

Steve
Steve
4 years 4 months ago
I went for a couple years on not liking exercise; even though I had liked it most of my life. One of the things that got me back into the groove was music. …lose yourself in your songs, and you will soon associate that feeling with working out. Also, this may not be Paleo/primal, but a big dose of caffeine (maybe 5 Hour Energy) right before a work out can give you the mental boost you need. Would love to see a follow-up from whomever wrote this letter on what worked or didn’t work.
Amy
Amy
4 years 4 months ago
Even though it may take the fun out of it, if you think of it like a job it helps. You’re not going to just not go to your job for weeks or no call no show and expect to get “paid.” Also, personally I’m on an MMA team, so on my iPhone I put our team logo as my lock screen. Every single time I check my phone, I see it (and all of us iPhone addicts know that’s every 2 seconds); it’s constantly in my face. There are days I hurt or I’m tired or work stressed me… Read more »
Vlad
4 years 3 months ago

Really liked the last picture, the one that says “The only worthy rest is the one that you earn”. Makes me feel a bit spoiled!

Dan
Dan
4 years 4 months ago

through meetup.com, i was able to find the following groups in my area:

-trail running;
-backpacking;
-rock climbing; and
-kayaking.

all groups had events geared towards newbies and almost al events were free.

leida
leida
4 years 4 months ago
I hated excercise after being pushed into competitive sports as a child, and being horrible at it. Which meant a string of verbal abuse from coaches and a few public ‘kicking out’ of the competitive activities. I grew up in Eastern Europe, where if you were not good at it, you got cut. There was no touchy-filly ‘sports for all’. When I started to work out to lose weight, I first had to fight the feeling of embarrassment and unease. But, gradually, I came to accept that, yeah, I am below average performer, but that’s Okay! I tried many, many,… Read more »
Arty
Arty
4 years 4 months ago
Same here. I was pushed into competitive sports (winter and summer) my entire life. Growing up in Europe isn’t as laid back and easy as it is in the US. In Germany, if you fail, there is no 2nd chance, no ‘sports for all’, no ‘everybody is a winner’ mentality. Same goes for jobs, when you need a college degree to get a job as a toilet scrubber, it’s pretty bad! My exercise is chopping wood, gardening, hiking, occassionally climb a tree, kick a ball around, walk my dogs and spending many hours in the kitchen preparing meals. I’m not… Read more »
Mark
Mark
4 years 4 months ago
Most of my life was spent trying/avoiding exercise due to extreme nausea. I now do the weekly (for one year now-started at age 48) Body By Science of Dr. McGuff’s with a trainer and LOVE the results (along with Primal eating!). Lost 35 pounds in that year and after about 6 weeks no more nausea. They say it might have been an inability to offload CO2 during the workout, but my body has adjusted. I can’t say I “love” the workout, but I know it will be over in 15 minutes and it’s only once a week. I do sprints… Read more »
Ldubbs
Ldubbs
4 years 4 months ago

I would also add that as you experiment with different protocols and methods, don’t expect something to be perfect or to “fit” the first time you try it.

When something is new, it’s easy to find it less enjoyable because you don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable doing it. Give yourself a chance to get comfortable with a movement or protocol before completely dismissing that it’s not for you. Soon you may find yourself enjoying it in your quest to master it.

Best of luck.

Sarah Jane
Sarah Jane
4 years 4 months ago
This rings a bell for me! I also hate exercising. I’ve tried, over the years, different ways of getting myself to exercise on a regular basis, but everything failed because it was EXERCISE. It got to the point where it made me angry to even think about getting on my treadmill or going for a walk around my neighborhood. It wasn’t fun, it didn’t feel good, I wasn’t seeing the benefit. Then I started hiking. I try to hike at least twice a month, but I go more if I can find the time and talk someone into going with… Read more »
Nikolitsa
2 years 4 days ago
Great advice! I love hiking too, especially with the good company of my fiance and my dog. Have you tried moutain biking? It’s so fun! Get on a somewhat easy trail and the kids will love it. It’s such a great whole body workout. You can also try wall climbing or horseback riding lessons. Both are fun activities that engage the whole body and improve coordination and balance. Also, climbing a wall as a family teaches kids (and adults even!) the value of teamwork and cooperation. And horseback riding can be very therapeutic, as it allows you to get in… Read more »
Mary
Mary
4 years 4 months ago
I hate exercise, too. I hate to sweat and something in my genes makes me sweat…. A LOT (my dad does,too). But, as with Jana, I found martial arts and it just speaks to me. I started at age 45 and got my black belt (in taekwondo) at age 48. I find martial arts to be very empowering for women especially. And I sweat, more than most anyone in my class, but I love it so I deal with it. The key is to just keep looking and trying things until you find something you love. Then you won’t feel… Read more »
mars
mars
4 years 4 months ago

Adopt a dog! Best trainer and motivator ever!

LostMeHere
LostMeHere
4 years 4 months ago

Absolutely. Dog is the perfect solution. You’ll have so much fun with your dog in the park! Adopt some lab-mix mutt from the pound and spend the next 15 years happily playing Frisbee. These mutts are just total love-bombs; you can’t help but feel great playing with them.

Awua
Awua
3 years 7 months ago

And what about people who are allergic to dogs, or don’t like the way they act or smell?

Nikolitsa
2 years 4 days ago

Then just don’t get a dog! You could adopt a different kind of pet, although you’d be hard pressed to find an animal who doesn’t act or smell weird.

Cynthia
Cynthia
4 years 4 months ago
What was your experience with exercise when you were a kid? I spent all my school years dreading gym, being told I was clumsy and untalented, being punished every class with harassment or being picked last, yada yada. I spent all my summers and time off riding my bike, working my way through YMCA swimming lessons, and being totally not-clumsy. And then each fall it was back to the grind again and it’s really hard not to internalize that crap. It took me probably a decade of adulthood to shake it all off and just have fun. Turns out I’m… Read more »
LizMc
LizMc
4 years 4 months ago

Totally agree about belly dancing! I hated gym/P.E. growing up, and was always a scrawny kid. After college I started belly dancing classes on a whim, and fell in love! It’s so much fun, and you really do get some good exercise at the same time.

pestmeat
pestmeat
4 years 4 months ago

This is why I rollerskate!!

Lynnette
4 years 4 months ago

Dance to life’s beat… For me, a retired woman with ALS, practicing T’ai Chi is wonderful.

Zoë
4 years 4 months ago
Hi, I cannot recommend martial arts enough! I started Tae-kwon Do about 3 months ago and have loved it since. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy, but it’s so rewarding. There’s the individual aspect (I have (almost) got abs now and am doing ‘grownup’ pushups for the first time in my life!), the competition (not just fighting, but who can go lower doing the splits, jump higher, kick harder, etc) and the team aspect (choose your school well – mine is like a second family now). We all encourage each other to come to classes, laugh (hard)… Read more »
Earthspirit
Earthspirit
4 years 4 months ago

I was in a great tae kwon do class i loved to go twice a week. and i also developed abs, could start doing real pushups and from all the stretching and movement could finally touch my toes. i moved out of the area unfortunately. i joined up a gym but reading this reminded me of my tae kwon do days – highly recommended!!

H
H
4 years 4 months ago
If you want to exercise to lose weight, it’s not an effective method for fat burning. Exercise just makes you hungrier and may increase cravings for sugars and starches (muscles get depleted of glycogen during strenuous exercise). ‘Exercise’ is good for an endorphin release and for building muscle, but not necessarily the corner stone of health, maybe sorting the diet first (if that’s a problem) may make you more inclined to move. Why not just walk a little more, or do a physical activity you enjoy and don’t think of as exercise e.g. dog walking, horse riding, bowling, having a… Read more »
alex
alex
4 years 4 months ago

I hated exercising when I was younger , I liked doing push ups, sit ups and pull ups and riding my bike and exploring the forest and playing catch and badminton and basketball and going to the driving range but exercise forget it.

What I really hated was running in circles for 20 mins (a la gym class) , this was what I though “exercise” was.
Can we play dodge ball yet ? No, more running in circles MUhahahaha!!!

And since I’ve learned to run better I like doing that too.

rob
rob
4 years 4 months ago

I’ve always loved exercising, for me it is the reward for eating right.

martinus
4 years 4 months ago

I do simplefit: http://www.simplefit.org/ this is highly motivating because when you are good enough, you “level up”. It is also a very effective workout: just about 40 minutes a week. I’ve been doing this for half a year now, with great results.

Ilana
Ilana
4 years 4 months ago
It took me until this year to enjoy exercise in and of itself. I can’t really explain why I now like it, only that I never did before and now I do. I found a sport I enjoy, after trying and disliking many others. Maybe that’s the key for Mary? She might hate jogging or frisbee, but like yoga or dance. Maybe she’ll enjoy trying tai chi or aikido. I tried soccer, ballet, softball, basketball, volleyball, all the other things they make you do in grade school, and not until I tried weightlifting (and yoga) was I happy. Or just… Read more »
APL
APL
4 years 4 months ago

Probably the best motivator I’ve found to date is the Fitbit. It’s a tiny device that you keep in your pocket and monitors your daily movement. It works by showing you that you’re getting exercise even by running around town doing errands and via social technology turns movement into a game of sorts. Also, that which we measure, improves.

Marisa
Marisa
4 years 4 months ago

People with chronic fatigue syndrome develop flu-like symptoms after exercise. Heal your adrenals and boost your immune system before attempting to exercise – if it makes you sick, don’t do it! 90% of body composition is what you eat. Focus on eating well, getting enough sleep, and less stress.

Violet
Violet
4 years 4 months ago

I had this thought, too. Perhaps some people hate exercise because it literally makes them feel sick? The recommendation for CFS sufferers is to find an amount of light exercise (walking) that they can do without feeling sick – and this might be just 60 seconds! – and build up very, very, very slowly.

Also, if someone is very overweight, it might make sense to do relatively little exercise until some fat comes off, to spare the joints (though some walking or swimming should be OK).

BillP
BillP
4 years 4 months ago

True.

All other reasons aside (CFS, overweight, etc.), one big thing is not to feel guilty about not liking exercise. Many people go through their entire lives and live to be 100 in good health without ever ‘exercising’ at all.

If exercise is just mind-numbingly boring and distasteful, try (as many others here have suggested) a non-formal-exercise activity like walking, and DON’T focus on the walking, but rather take pleasure in your surroundings…focus on the world external to your body: the sun, the breezes, the birds, your neighbors’ unkempt yards, etc.

Lila
Lila
4 years 4 months ago

I agree that “play” is the best way to get past the exercise blues! Or “learning a new skill.”

Dance like an idiot when no one is watching, pick up a hula hoop, get a copy of “Jugging for the Complete Klutz,” learn to shoot a bow and arrow or throw knives or ride a horse or sail a boat…there are so many ways to be active that don’t feel like “exercise.” The trick really is just to find something you’ll actually stick with, whether it looks like traditional exercise or not.

(And juggling really is a whole lot of fun!)

Meredith
Meredith
4 years 4 months ago
I HATED exercise. I am sure due to being a book worm child who dreaded gym class as if I was being led to the firing squad. But at 30, I started looking for something to do that *I* would enjoy. I started with a trainer. Someone who would work with my level of fitness (which was couch potato) After awhile, you get good at some things. And then you want to try others. I tried tons of stuff. I always chose smaller companies/gyms where I felt I could tell them I was new, not an athlete, not a runner,… Read more »
Anon
Anon
3 years 10 months ago
Hi Meredith, I also hate exercising and am something of a bookworm, and my personal favorite thing to do is to do a brisk walk on my treadmill for about 80 minutes a day and limit myself to reading only during that time, or after 9pm (I use a kindle). Doing this has helped me endure the exercise, lose weight, and overall feel better about myself and I feel less resistance to getting on the treadmill (though I’d be lying if I said that initial inertia resistance didn’t still exist lol). It isn’t high intensity, but im burning 800 or… Read more »
WildGrok
WildGrok
4 years 4 months ago
I have always liked to exercise, but for me it was something I did as a “duty”: I had to complete some number of reps/weight a day (or week), run some miles, etc. If I did not do that I felt I had to “pony up” and had the feeling I was slouching. Not anymore. I am looking forward for my two high intensity workouts a week (almost always under 20 mins) and one sprint session a week (15 mins tops). I have spare time to do yoga and pilates classes at work and leisure bike commute to work (30… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 4 months ago

I think Mark is right, you need to review your past to find out why exercise is such an issue. Then you need to find an activity you enjoy, as repeated several times, you just need to move. It doesn’t have to be group, organized, or even goal oriented. Exercise, can just be cleaning the house. If you are blessed with messy children, you can probably get all the exercise you need just trying to keep the house organized and clean.

doesnt matter
doesnt matter
2 years 6 months ago
I hate exercising! the ONLY possible exercise I will like is swimming.. how’s that for an opening statement? and as for messy children.. I’ve got em.. and a messy slob of a spouse too.. but he says cleaning the house isnt exercise. Well I’m not a gym person.. I am not a lift weights person.. I dont like running and i’m not into just taking long walks by myself. in short, I do not want to exercise.. I loathe it. Went into early menopause 6 years ago at age 42.. ever since then have had trouble keeping weight off but… Read more »
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Bob Baxter
Bob Baxter
4 years 4 months ago

A bicycle was my salvation. I do a leisurely 15 miles 5 or 6 mornings a week and enjoy the outdoors. If I, at 84, can do it most anyone can. Oh, and Paleo is my other salvation.

mars
mars
4 years 4 months ago

YOU ROCK BOB!

Littlefoot
Littlefoot
4 years 4 months ago

You know i used to be her i hated exercise i never got the high afterwards either.. but it was because i was trying to force myself to do a gym like routine that didn’t suit me. I have now found that i love doing Pilates going on long walks and cycling to work every now and then. I say be patient and try different things and i agree having a workout partner or someone who can just be a support to you helps a great deal! Good luck and don’t give up hope <3

Entwyf
Entwyf
4 years 4 months ago

I am struggling with exercise because I have sleep apnea (partly because of diet brainwashing and the resulting weight gain). At this point, I could not lift a weight to save my life. But I can walk, pull weeds in the garden, do leg lifts, simple stretching exercises, wall pushups . . . I’m still tired after doing this stuff, but I feel a better kind of tired.

gibson girl
gibson girl
4 years 4 months ago

I jogged with a partner for years. Unfortunately, it wrecked my knees. I always liked to dance, and that’s out too.

Enter resistance exercise, done to rock music! The beat keeps me going and produces better results in a half-hour than endless cardio.

Keep looking for the perfect combination of ingredients! You’ll find it.

ravi
4 years 4 months ago
can emphasize completely with mary (mirror neurons flashing wildly…) i have dealt with it by finding a short but demanding run or bike ride that i try to do each day or every other day and make it interesting each time i do it – i now live in the swiss countryside and with spring arriving, it’s not hard to get out and enjoy such a (brief) activity telling myself how good it is for me to get the motivation up – i find repetitive exercise boring as h*ll and although i have weights, i have to develop the same… Read more »
Simon
Simon
4 years 4 months ago

Well I don’t excercise as such, however I make a point of choosing a self-powered task over a mechanised one. Bus or bike into town? bike of course. Lift or stairs up to the 5th floor? Stairs! Electric food processor or big stone mortar & pestle to puree food? Letter to post – sprint to the post box and back instead of leaving it for tomorrow’s trip out. Also, I find these things much more fun. It is much more exciting to power yourself along the street than sit passively while a machine does the work…

Molly
4 years 4 months ago

I don’t want to make a monthly gym payment, so I find reasons to simply walk. Walking to get food or find a reason to explore a different part of town. I can fulfill my need to be outside without associating it with work. Plus, you save money on gas 😉 Walking a little bit more works your way up to walking faster and further and being able to explore slowly. It’s quite lovely.

Linda Sand
4 years 4 months ago

If what you need is to find a way to play, consider buying a handheld GPS unit and take up geocaching. These are treasure hunts. You start with fairly easy hunts then graduate to harder ones as you develop skills. You register your finds on-line which can help keep you motivated. Besides, it’s fun! You can do it alone or in groups. Treasures are hidden all over the world. Check it out at geocaching.com.

Pippa
Pippa
4 years 3 months ago

There is also letterboxing, same idea, but with written clues, sometimes obvious, (sometimes not!). Letterboxing.org is a good place to start, but by no means the only one. Some sites give difficulty and/or length of the hike in the box descriptions.

And this reminds me that it’s time to figure out where our stamps and logbooks went in the move last year, and see if I can get the girls and the husband out moving with me this summer.

Brad
Brad
4 years 4 months ago
I admit, I’ve never had a problem with exercising. I’ve never been the guy who excelled quickly at any sport or even any activity, but I’m the guy who never quits. I exercise per Primal Blueprint, which is fun. I play frisbee with the crew at work during breaks. I do traditional karate (it works for me since I’m over the 50-year mark!). I even have two high-energy dogs that I run/bike with at least 2, sometimes 3 times per day. All these fun things are part of exercise. Here’s a suggestion that nobody here has mentioned: WORK. I ditched… Read more »
mars
mars
4 years 4 months ago

Totally agree Brad!!

John
John
4 years 4 months ago
A lot of folks cannot enjoy exercise because the lack the coordination and/or kinesthetic sensitivity to do exercise without strain and discomfort. People can’t benefit from walking if their individual manner of walking is painful. In such a case some kind of corrective work is needed to bring people to the point where activity can be enjoyed. The only method I know of that addresses this problem directly is the Alexander Technique: http://www.stat.org.uk/index.htm There are no exercises to do incorrectly, nor notions of ‘correct’ posture to be strained for. The student of the Technique learns an improved coordination under the… Read more »
Bill
Bill
4 years 4 months ago

I love exercising, but don’t do so anywhere near often enough…
Mark denounces “chronic cardio”, and to a point I agree; wearing yourself out day after day without adequate recovery is not sustainable. However, I enjoy distance running. Two hours at a comfortable pace is very nice. Screw the treadmill though! My favorite is knowing which direction is home but having no idea where I am. I’m out of shape right now, but I hope to be doing 3 such 10-15 mile runs per week by the end of summer.

Gydle
4 years 4 months ago

I think from all these answers there is obviously no one-size-fits all when it comes to exercise. Linda’s suggestion to try geocaching is good.

I personally hate intense exercise – precisely what Msrk says is so good for you. But I can walk, hike, bike and run (i.e. chronic cardio) for long periods of time quite happily. I have tried joining gyms and it’s always been a a failure. For me it’s the anticipation – I imagine how awful the effort will feel, and so I have a really hard time getting myself to engage in it.

steffturner
steffturner
4 years 4 months ago

I read through the comments quickly but didn’t see anyone recommend dancing. Just put on your favourite tunes and dance around your house. If that doesn’t speak to you, look for a zumba class in your area…their slogan is “Ditch the workout. Join the Party!”. If you’re in to country music take up line dancing or learn a new type of dance i.e. salsa, tango, ballroom or belly dancing! I personally love Zumba. The hour just flies by!

WildGrok
WildGrok
4 years 4 months ago

Big Zumba Fan here!
I am lucky I have zumba classes at work, twice a week, for me it is not workout, just plain happy play

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[…] known someone to detest it with every fiber of their being? Read more from the original source: What to Do When You Hate to Exercise | Mark's Daily Apple  Posted by ma3yoof at 3:00 pm  Tagged with: being, but-have, detest-it-with, […]

oxide
oxide
4 years 4 months ago

I don’t like the idea of a fitness buddy. That’s what women’s magazines tell us to do, and women’s magazines have ruined my psyche enough as it is. I imagine it’s even worse for the Kelly Korgs, who hate exercising, do it anyway, and get no results.

I guess we just have to find something we can tolerate. I clawed out a bunch of weeds in the backyard this weekend, and actually sort of liked doing it. It felt like I was getting a result.

rob
rob
4 years 4 months ago

Women’s magazines could ruin anyone’s psyche, every month it is “50 Different Ways To Please A Man,” I’m a guy and I feel exhausted just looking at the covers.

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[…] those who hate to exercise… document.write(''); A really good article on Mark's Daily Apple today… Part of it: […]

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