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How to Enjoy Exercise (From A Waffling Worker Outer)

How to enjoy exercise. Hmmm… notice I never claimed to help you LOVE exercise. I still don’t. Heck, I still struggle with a lack of motivation (or, frankly, energy,) sometimes. But these are the tips I hold closest to my heart, as they have proved most successful in my attempts to be considered “active.” 

I won’t scare you with the (clutch your pearls,) “We’re such a sedentary society and we’ll all be obese by 2026!” slogan. While I do not believe in Health at Every Size aka HAES stance, I DO want to help everyone lead healthier lives, starting with the lifestyle choices within their control. No one asked me how to enjoy exercise, but I thought I’d throw in my two cents anyway. That’s better than a towel!

Even “enjoy” is a strong word. If you do not think that is an attainable feeling, shoot for “tolerate,” or “be cool with.” Eventually, you might look forward to exercise! The build-up, the progress, and the rush afterward.

How to Enjoy Exercise:

1. Leave a movement space open-

It sounds silly and obvious, but you’ll be more likely to drop by and dip your toe into a routine if a yoga mat is in sight on the floor 24/7. Put your dumbbells nearby, bookmark some home workout videos on your computer, and make sure you have plenty of room to squirm.

2. Turn the act into a reward, not a punishment-

Be honest. Most people hit the gym out of guilt. Maybe they sat on their couch playing video games the day before, or they just went out to bottomless brunch with their friends. While I’m not discouraging you from using exercise to feel better after engaging in these consequential behaviors, it’s a good idea to slip away from the negative. Try to view exercise as a fun activity, even a game you want to win. As a contortionist, I feel rewarded when I master a new pose. This gives me the same dopamine hit as eating fatty, sugary foods or squeezing a family member. If you’re not competitive, try telling yourself a different reason for being active. A simple mindset switcheroo CAN trick us into changing our outlook on the object of our initial opinion. So, say “I GET to go lift weights.” Not “I guess I HAVE to go lift weights.”

3. Do what you must to get started-

Whether that’s caffeine, a good cry session, or leisurely stretching in front of a mirror to admire your new spandex. I’d advise against downing a box of Oreos (unless they’re my healthy oat-reos,) but a little carb-filled fuel never hurt a budding athlete such as yourself.


One common excuse for skipping physical activity is a heavy schedule. I always say, “But I have better things to do!” and then insist it’s not that I don’t want to exercise, it’s that I don’t have time. Maybe that is still true for you, and no shame. Our existence no longer revolves around the body, and it is increasingly difficult to fit self-maintenance into our busy agenda. If you are able, try listening to work calls and audio assignments while doing light activities. For God’s sake, mute yourself. Grab some paperwork and review it while walking up and down the stairs. If you’re a parent, corral the family into a dance party, or sneak in some time on the elliptical while they’re eating dinner.

BONUS FOR THIS ONE: Writing. My job is writing. How do I justify calling myself fit as a fiddlestick while being on a computer all day? A scooter. I have a little yellow square on wheels that I stand on and rock side to side. This technically falls under the NEAT category (non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis,) but it’s still moving! Also, don’t fall for those chair ellipticals. If you are side-tracked, you won’t be able to focus on engaging your core. At most, those things bulk up your calves.

5. Avoid negative words around and about exercising-

Think what I believe is now referred to as “triggers,” or those flag words that tip our brains into spiral mode. Oddly enough, I bristle at terms like “workout.” That’s a weird and touchy one, plus it’s almost impossible to not hear, but something about the sound, connotation, and dissected roots of the word makes me stubborn and less excited to move.

On this New Year’s Day, I beg of you: please don’t set your goals so high that you crash below where you started. A few days of compensation for Christmas calories or NYE alcohol shouldn’t hurt but don’t make extremism a habit. I have a new project coming before February, and the goal is to put this article, “how to enjoy exercise,” into practice. Little by little, step by step, mask by mask (that’s a hint.)

Now, enjoy 2024. Or whichever year you’re reading this. Who knows how long this blog will last in cyberspace? That last part is a joke about AI and more techy stuff, which will undoubtedly advance within the next 364 days. Can’t say I’m too stoked for that. Bring back vinyl and typewriters, please!

Happy Dancing,

The Hippie Happy Foodist™

1 Comment

  1. […] Later, I discovered popular programs such as the Starch Solution and the Anabolic regimen. Now, workouts aren’t my thing. Gyms are sticky (like kids.) So my temporary protein obsession likely stemmed from salespersons and […]

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