On a scale of love to hate, I’m probably closer to love for exercise. I enjoy working up a sweat, challenging myself and getting out of breath, and I really love the feeling of accomplishment and pride after I’ve finished a tough workout.
But like anyone else, there are definitely exercises that I’m definitely closer to the hate side of the scale. There are certain moves that I just can’t stand doing. If I’m in a class and the instructor tells us we are about to do a bunch of push ups, jump lunges or shoulder presses, I moan and groan. I don’t want to do these, but, I do.
The reason I hate certain exercises more than others is because they are harder for me. For instance, I have a pretty strong core and can do a lot of crunches without much difficulty. But my upper body is weaker and doing shoulder presses is quite difficult for me. So when I hear shoulder presses, all I think is how my shoulders burn while doing this exercise, and I just don’t want to do them.
But that’s exactly why I force myself to do the shoulder presses. I need to do the exercises that are tougher for me to strengthen the weaker parts of my body.
This is true of cardio exercises too. I can run for miles, but send me to a cycle class and I’m a red-faced, sweaty, breathless mess just trying to keep my legs pedaling. Our bodies get used to what we do on a regular basis, and since cycling uses my leg muscles in a very different way from running, it’s difficult for me. But I continue going to my cycle class, even though I dread it, to help improve my fitness.
You may be thinking that I’m asking you to only do the exercises you dislike, and that’s absolutely the last thing I want you to do. In order to maintain a good exercise routine, you need to enjoy what you do. So whether you enjoy yoga, walking or dance aerobics, that should be the basis of your routine.
What I am asking you to do is go outside your box every now and then. Challenge yourself. And if it’s hard, that’s ok. That mean’s it’s good for you. Challenge yourself to keep up with a hard exercise or two, whether it’s aerobic, strength or stretching. And with that challenge, you will see great improvements.
Simple ways to do this are:
– Pick 2 strength training moves that you dislike, and add a set of these into your regular routine.
– Pick an exercise class that really challenges you and go once a week.
– Take what you are doing normally, just make it harder. If you are a walker, walk faster or try adding a few short jogging intervals. If you regularly do strength training, increase your weights.
– If you regularly avoid stretching because it’s hard, spend at least 5 minutes after every workout doing 2-3 basic stretches. Or challenge yourself to add a stretching class into your routine.
By continually challenging yourself with exercise, you will improve your fitness level. And if you “hate” it, it’s probably good for you.