Conquer Your Fitness Fears

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could be allergic to working out?

Then you wouldn’t have to admit to friends, loved ones, and co-workers that you simply hate to exercise. Saying your throat swells up or you break out in yoga or Pilates, in which you focus on breathing and stretching, can give you a taste of exercise’s feel-good benefits right off the bat, Calabrese says: “By breathing and oxygenating the muscles, you feel an immediate stress release, and you may feel the benefits sooner without feeling the soreness that comes with strength training or even cardio right away.”

  • Abandon the all-or-nothing approach. So you don’t have an hour? How about 30 minutes? It’s certainly better than nothing, and if you work smart you can really reap benefits from a 30-minute workout, says Gunning. And recognize you’re fallible. You’ll fall off the wagon a time or two. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get back into your routine and stop procrastinating.
  • Falling in Love with Exercise

    Just tolerating exercise isn’t enough, Kimiecik believes. In his book, The Intrinsic Exerciser: Discovering the Joy of Exercise, he advocates learning to love exercise for its own sake. “Most people don’t like (exercise),” he says, “because the information they’re given doesn’t do much to get them to like it.”

    People know exercise will help them live longer and be healthier, “but that doesn’t do much in the way of motivation,” he says. “It’s external, or outside, in. Those reasons are not powerful enough to keep you motivated for the long term. Those people, on a daily basis, aren’t paying attention to the feelings of exercise.”

    On the other hand, Kimiecik says, people who consistently exercise are motivated from the inside, out.

    “The people who maintain exercise on a regular basis are those who really enjoy the movement,” he says. “Regular exercisers almost always talk about how exercise makes them feel; they rarely talk about disease reduction.”

    So how do you get there?

    “Find activities that make you feel alive and make you feel enjoyment,” he says. To do that, he suggests: “Think about how you want your body to feel when you’re exercising. Do you want it to feel fast, do you want it to feel strong, do you want it to feel pushed?”

    In other words, be involved in the activity mentally and physically. Connect your mind and body.

    Kimiecik admits it’s not always easy, but without internal motivation, he says, it’s next to impossible to keep up an exercise routine.

    “To become a regular exerciser,” says Kimiecik, “we all have obstacles. Like with most things in life, if you don’t find a powerful inner motivation for doing something, obstacles are easier to find.”