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Tips for People Who Don't Like to Exercise

Are you someone who doesn’t really like to be active or exercise? If so, you’re not alone.

Think about Why You Don’t Like to Be Active

People have different reasons for not being active. It helps to think about some things that may stop you from taking the first step toward being more active.

Some Reasons People Don’t Like to Exercise

Feel Intimidated or Worried about Being Embarrassed

You might not go to a gym or an exercise class because you’re not sure what to do at the gym. You may worry you’ll do the exercises wrong and look silly. These tips may help.

  • Take a tour of the gym or fitness facility. Get to know the layout and the staff. This will help you feel more comfortable before you commit to taking a course or class.
  • Register for a beginner class. Then everyone will be at the same level trying to learn the basics. As you learn more and get used to some movements, you’ll begin to feel more confident.
  • Talk to certified fitness instructors or people who work at the gym about how to use the equipment or machines. You can also ask about different exercises that are good for beginners.

Negative Past Experiences with Exercise

Many people haven’t been active since they were in gym class at school. A lot of people don’t remember it being fun.

Here are some tips to help make a plan for how you can be active and start to move past negative experiences.

  • Choose activities you want to do and plan how and when you’ll do them. Being active is not just about sports or running fast. There are lots of ways to be active.
  • Remember, no one is judging you so try to have fun when you’re active.
  • Choose activities you can do on your own, with others, or in a class.

Not Feeling Motivated

Even athletes don’t feel motivated sometimes. Here are some tips to help you get motivated.

  • Choose activities that you know you’ll like at least a little. The more you like an activity, the more likely you’ll be to keep doing it.
  • Think about how you’ll feel after you’ve been active. Being active will give you more energy and help you sleep better. Active lifestyles have many health benefits.
  • Plan to be active when you have the most energy. For some people this means a morning run, while for others it means an evening walk. Choose times that work best for you.
  • See yourself as an active person. The more active you are, the better you’ll feel. The more times you’re active in a week, the stronger and more confident you’ll feel.

Other Ways to Move More

Being active is not just about going to a fitness centre, running long distances, or lifting weights. There are many ways to add walking or other activity to your daily routine. Some of these include:

  • limit how often or how long you sit
  • get up and move around more at work and at home
  • take public transit instead of driving - walk to public transit as part of your plan
  • walk for longer distances when you have time and the weather is good - you can walk all the way or get off transit a few stops early and walk the rest of the way
  • when you drive to places, park farther away from the entrance
  • take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
  • think about your household chores as a way to be active and at the same time get things done
  • do your yard work or outdoor chores at an even pace so you don’t get too tired
  • make being outdoors more fun by working with your family and visiting neighbours and friends
  • use manual labour and tools such as push mowers or snow shovels to be more active

Get Creative

There’s no limit to how many things you can do to be more active. Here are a few creative ideas to help get you moving.

  • Be active with your children instead of watching TV or playing video games. Do activities inside and outdoors that are fun for everyone (such as play in the yard, walk to a park, go hiking).
  • Take your dog for more walks. Try to walk more often or longer distances. Slowly build up your pace and distance. The more you walk, the better you and your dog will feel.
  • Make activity dates. For example, make a date with your partner or friend for a regular evening walk. On the weekends go for a long bike ride or a longer walk. Pick a time that works for both of you so you don’t have to reschedule.

When you try an exercise class or any new activity, do it with a friend so it’s a social outing too.

Choosing Activities

Here are some activities to try:

  • yoga
  • dance classes such as Zumba
  • gardening
  • skating
  • biking
  • cross country skiing
  • hiking
  • rock climbing
  • inline skating
  • basketball

Make a list of activities you might be willing to try. Try some of them to see what you like doing. Choose things you’ll enjoy.

According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, adults should try to be active at a moderate level for at least 150 minutes a week. This works out to 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, or 10 minutes at a time 3 times a day for 5 days a week. It is also helpful to do activities that build the strength of your muscles and bones of at least 2 days each week.

No matter what activity you choose, it’ll take energy and work to stay active and keep motivated. Choosing activities that you like doing and are fun will make this easier.

Good luck with your activity it’s time to get up and go.

Current as of: October 24, 2018

Author: Chronic Disease Prevention, Alberta Health Services