Exercise has kind of a bad rap. Everyone knows it’s healthy; everyone knows they should be doing it. But only a handful of people seem to think it’s fun. If you’re one of those people – fit, toned, muscular, or on your way – more power to you. For everyone else who thinks that working out is one of the last things they want to do, you’re far from alone in your sentiments. If exercise wasn’t thought of as so bad, we probably wouldn’t be a nation with such a high rate of obesity. So what’s the problem? Why does working out have to be such a grind? If we can answer that question, perhaps we can finally solve the problem and get in shape.
The Pursuit of Perfection
People who are overweight or don’t have their ideal body know that working out is the best way to change and feel better about themselves. But they still can’t do it, and when they try they can’t stick with it. For them, working out means a manifestation of their body issues. They don’t like the way they look, so they work out. But when they work out, they’re reminded of how much they don’t like the way they look. This alone can make them quit. And when they have an unrealistic idea of perfection – reinforced by pop culture, celebrities, and models – they get easily discouraged. Working out is such a grind because for them it means the pursuit of the unattainable looks they don’t have.
Working Out is Too Much Work
When we were little, we would run around outside playing tag and hide and seek. We would play sports with our friends and for the school teams. We had fun doing it all. We were exercising, but it didn’t feel that way because we were enjoying it. When we become adults, why does that change? Suddenly working out isn’t a fun game but a long, tedious, boring session on the treadmill. No wonder working out is such a grind – it’s too much work. If we don’t want working out to be so bad, we need to make it fun again. Of course people are going to quit something they can’t stand. If they try something different, like playing a sport or doing a fun activity, perhaps working out wouldn’t be so bad, and they might even forget they’re doing it.
A Question of Priority
On the other hand, another way to consider the attraction or repulsion to exercise might be to examine where working out falls on a person’s list of priorities. If you are more concerned about reading, watching your favorite TV show, or going to the movies with your friends, then of course working out will be a grind – there are a ton of other things you’d rather be doing. But if you can make an effort to view working out as a top priority – because it will make you feel and look better – it might not be such a grind anymore, and instead you’ll look forward to it. Imagine that.
Adrenaline junkie Minnie Brown finds that extreme sports such as military parachuting allow her to stay in shape while still having fun.
Photo Credit: Method Fitness