"Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate." ~Author Unknown
Every year thousands of people make New Year's resolutions to eat better and exercise. I do realize that we are now half way through the year, but hear me out. By now most of the people who make these resolutions have already given up on them, and many who haven't yet given up are on the verge of giving up. For those who are still going and nowhere near giving up, KUDOS to you! You are doing something right.
When most people think of exercise they cringe. The most likely cause of this is that they have this notion in their head that in order to exercise, or "get in shape" they need to do one of three things: go to the gym, buy all kinds of crazy expensive gym equipment for their home, or run until they are on the verge of collapse. This is simply not true, and we need to change our way of thinking! There are tons of different ways that a person can get exercise that would be a lot more fun and interesting than spending several hours a week at the gym or running like you're trying to outrun the sun. This, I think, is the key to sticking with your exercise routine: finding something that you enjoy doing.
I have personally struggled with this exact issue for years. I know that I need to exercise, my endurance is terrible, my muscles are flabby, and I'm about as flexible as a steel rod. I don't enjoy going to the gym and working out in front of a bunch of strangers, I don't enjoy running for the sake of running, and I don't have the money or the space for all kinds of home gym equipment. So instead, I have decided I would like to learn a martial art. There are many reasons for me to learn a martial art: I love to learn new things, it will help me get into shape, it will help increase my flexibility, it has incremented goals (different belt levels), it will help me de-stress and focus, and I will be able to kick some serious butt if anyone ever decides to attack me! This is the key to finding the right workout for you, you just need to figure out what you enjoy and what you want out of it. Maybe learning a martial art isn't for everyone, but when considering how you want to get into shape, you need to ask yourself, "how will this benefit me?" If the only benefit you get out of it is exercise then you will likely not keep up with it, but if it is something that you enjoy and benefits you in multiple different ways you will be more likely to see it through.
If you want any or all of the same things that I do but are not really interested in learning a martial art, there are other ways to go about it. The following is a short list of other fun ways to get in shape:
- Yoga - Increases flexibility, increases core strength, encourages meditation and peace
- Pilates - Increases flexibility, significantly increases core strength, encourages meditation and peace
- Zumba - Increases endurance, increases coordination
- Pole Dancing Classes (yes, I said pole dancing) - Increases flexibility, increases core strength, increases endurance, increases coordination
These are just a few ideas that I had, but really the main questions that you need to ask yourself when you are deciding on what type of workout you want are, "Will I have fun with this?" and, "Does this benefit me in more than one way?" If the answers to both of those questions is yes, then you're on the right track!