OK, Vita Girl, I’ve got the shoes, I know the yoga poses, now how do I make working out fun?
Many of us feel about exercise the way we felt about eating Brussels sprouts as a kid — an unsavory thing we have to do to get something we want. Back then, that something was probably dessert or pleasing our parents. Now, it’s looking and feeling good! But sometimes, against our best efforts, our exercise routines become downright uninspired. Boring. The boogey monster separating us from the couch and cocktail at the end of a long day.
Like eating Brussels sprouts, much of the dread associated with exercise can be traced to adolescence. If you ever played sports, you were probably made to run as punishment (a missed shot, poorly executed routine, etc). An unlucky (and forever scarred) few of us, were also forced to weigh in for events. Those memories are ingrained, no matter how we try to convince ourselves we’ve moved past them.
When I think of workout fun, I sometimes think of an old episode of Friends — the one where Phoebe and Rachel decide to run together in Central Park. Much to Rachel’s horror, Phoebe takes off sprinting with a type of form never before witnessed in the running community: legs kicking awkwardly, arms flailing, head bobbing side to side. At first, Rachel chastises Phoebe and refuses to run alongside her. Then she realizes how much fun it is and decides to adopt it.
I’m not saying you should act like a goof and alienate members of your running club. I am saying you should channel your inner Phoebe! It doesn’t have to be all serious and VO2 max all the time either. If you’re focusing on calories burned, counting down the time left on your run, or worrying if you look funny doing an exercise, you’re tossing the fun factor out the window and should switch up your routine.