Recently a patient texted me. She was incredulous that she exercised on our new anti-gravity treadmill and felt great. Previously she had never experienced anything but pain with exercise and she thought that other people were exaggerating when they said that exercise made them feel great. This makes me very sad; it makes me wonder how many other people are out there, knowing that exercise is good for them, but hating the idea of doing it.
I have always exercised. Swimming in the lake, riding bikes around the neighborhood, and playing outdoor games with the neighbors were the norm for my family. I joined every team possible despite my lack of talent at most sports. Looking back, I realize that I must have been getting some kind of high off of the activities.
Exercise feels good to me. Even on days when I am tired or hurting the urge to move strikes hard.
But apparently this is not true for everyone. So what do you do if exercise does not feel good to you or you never get the urge.
First, try changing what you are doing. If you have tried running, but it hurts too much, try something else. Choose something convenient that suits your personality. I love swimming, but I am an introvert. Some of you extroverts out there might not understand how someone could love a sport that does not allow you to talk! If you are doing nothing right now, try anything!
Second, mix it up. If one sports is a good choice because of convenience or other aspects, but it seems to wear you down, add another sport or exercise modality.
Third, hire a professional. Look for personal trainers or exercise specialists who can guide you through a safe effective routine. They can tailor the routine to your specific goals.
Next, find someone to hold you accountable. For example, plan to meet friends for a walk after work a couple of times a week, or sign up for a class of some sort where the instructor will notice if you miss.
Lastly, choose something that gives you joy, not stress.
But mostly, get moving!