5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Working Out

Finding the motivation to work out can be difficult, especially when the weather gets colder and the days get darker faster. Sometimes it feels crazy to think that there are people out there who actually enjoy working out. We know it’s not easy to stay consistent in moving your body, so here are some tips to help you actually enjoy working out.

1. Do Something You Like

Many people have a particular vision that comes to mind when they think of working out–going to the gym, running, or something very fast and high-intensity. And while some people enjoy these types of exercise, a great many do not. If you hate your workout, it’s going to be difficult to feel excited or motivated to do it. That’s why it’s important to find a workout that you actually like and is fun for you. You’ll find it easier to exercise consistently when you feel comfortable and confident in your workout.

There are so many options when it comes to different activities and environments. You may want to explore what’s out there to see what you enjoy. You might prefer something slower-paced like yoga over high intensity workouts. Or you may find that you actually have fun during a dance-based workout. Perhaps you want to do something that makes you feel closer to nature, like rock climbing, hiking, or cycling. Maybe you like group activities like group classes, or social activities like sports.

Whatever your workout preferences may be, listen to your body and your heart instead of doing something you think you’re “supposed” to do. The more you genuinely enjoy your exercise, the more you will be keen on sticking with it.

2. Make It Social

Adding a social component to your workouts can not only make it more fun and enjoyable. In fact, a study of Oxford University rowers found that when team members exercised together, their bodies release more feel-good endorphins than when they worked out alone. Women who haven’t thought of exercise as fun in the past may find that working out with others can make it feel like a girls night out. Working out together adds a camaraderie that makes it easier to get motivated and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Make sure you find a positive, like-minded partner who will help you stay accountable and boost social connection and endorphins.

3. Listen to a ‘Pump-Up’ Playlist

Music can be a crucial part of workout motivation. Listening to music while exercising can improve your mood and make it easier and more enjoyable. One study suggested that the right music can help people who don’t exercise regularly to work harder.

In another study from the National Library of Medicine, exercisers were asked to perform sprint-interval workouts both with and without music. 95% of them said they had more fun during the workouts with music. When creating or looking for a workout playlist, go for songs that have an energizing upbeat tempo and motivation lyrics. While you should like the music you’re listening to, research shows that fast-paced music is best for boosting moods, energy, and workouts. Music may be the easiest way to give your workout enjoyment an instant boost.

4. Focus On The Outcome

You may not feel like you love exercise when you’re in the middle of doing heavy squats or when you’re out of breath while running, but focus instead on how good you’ll feel physically and mentally after completing your workout. That will help your mind to keep pushing forward. Stimulating dopamine in the brain is vital to help people who struggle with motivation to look forward to exercise. The goal is to associate exercise not with something you have to do and get over with, but with something that feels good in the body, boosts your mood, and cultivates positive feelings about yourself for doing something healthy and taking care of yourself.

5. Consider Your WHY

There is a reason you started exercising in the first place. Remembering why you are working out will bring more meaning into the exercise and help you enjoy it more. Your “why” could be to improve your health, to look and feel more confident, to decrease your anxiety, or to simply maintain a better lifestyle. Whatever your reason, let it motivate you to stay consistent with your workout routine.

Having a “why” can help you enjoy your workouts more because you are consciously connected to the benefits of pushing through when you want to give up–making the struggle worth it. A big enough “why” can sustain your motivation in tough times. It may be helpful to write down your “why” on a post-it or notecard and place it somewhere (like on the fridge or in your office) you’ll see often and remember what matters to you whenever you catch a glimpse.