How To Stop Dreading Exercise

How To Stop Dreading Exercise

image by mary robinson

Do you ever have those days when the thought of exercise is about as exciting as multiplying fractions?

I had one this morning.

From the school drop off to the mini-market, and then the entire way to barre, I felt a swarm of dark clouds hovering above my aura. It was as if the thunderstorm was about to pounce.

I knew I wanted (needed!) to exercise.
But I was just not that into it.
Before my head spun completely out of control, I pulled it together with these sort-of simple steps.

Here’s how to move-on from that annoying exercise dread.

  • Get the mind in sync with the body.

In other words — pull yourself into the present!
Is your mind thinking that you don’t want to workout?  Stop thinking about it! Instead, bring all awareness to the body. Pay attention to where you are, and what you are doing in the moment. And make sure to hold the focus while working out. If there’s an instructor in the class, it’s a lot easier to do — just follow the direction.  If you’re on your own, like when you run for a few miles, it’s all on you to keep the mind and body as one. Music helps make the connection. And so does the breath.

  • Exercise at the right time…for you.

    I’m an early bird. My brain and body are at their best in the morning so I hit the 7:30am class. Okay, I’ll admit that I like to get it over with (and avoid the ominous work-out dread). But having a natural rhythm that peaks in the morning makes exercising at that hour simply better.
  • Bring a friend, or find a friendly face in class.

Since coordinating with someone else’s schedule feels too complicated for my exercise routine, I prefer to go solo. I also get irritated when the yoga teacher asks us to introduce ourselves to our neighbor.  And as soon as I hear the words “partner yoga”, I plot my escape to the bathroom. I don’t ever actually leave the room when it’s time to double up for Seated Forward Bend because deep down I know that connecting with another during exercise is a good thing.  It feels right while I’m in it.  (It’s the dreaded thoughts beforehand that do me in!)  Sometimes I’ll find a friendly face while working with a challenging pose. Connecting with someone who’s perhaps feeling my pain helps lighten the load.  And it brings me back to the present.

  • Inject some YOU into the move.
    Whenever possible allow your mind body connection to create space so your soul can shine through. For me, this means adding a little dance in my yoga transitions. Nothing grand, but definitely with a groove. Just a simple gesture to make the practice mine. Even fun.

How do you push through the dread of exercise?

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12 Comments

  1. Great tips Elysha! I would like to add that waking up 1 hour earlier and doing exercise routine in the morning makes a lot of difference…

  2. justsylph@gmail.com' Maia says:

    I’m trying to think whether I ever dread moving lol. I need to move else non-movement kills me.
    Maybe that’s it, too. Not thinking its exercise, but a movement. Exercise connotes a lot of these negative thingees from what we see in media on how we need to do something to look like a certain way. Which is bull, right? So just move, however form we want to manifest it – yoga, bike ride, running, walking, whatever. Choose a movement we enjoy and the rest follows. xo

  3. Completely agree, Jeff. This is exactly how I get my exercise in, and it leaves no time to dread it. Thank you for stopping by with a comment!

  4. Maia, I think you’re right in that we create a pressure around doing exercise. Some of my best sessions are free form in the living room, with my playlist — and it’s not a part of my exercise routine…it just shows up when my body feels like doing it. And biking! Another one I don’t consider exercise yet I do almost everyday…without ever thinking about it. But I’m like you –> non movement kills me…so it’s probably always going to be easier for us to get moving than not. 🙂 x x

  5. I tell myself if I don’t move it, I’ll lose it!

  6. That’s right, Michele!!

  7. chloedance@comcast.net' SirenaTales says:

    I so appreciate your sharing your insight to help keep folks moving, Elysha. Your suggestions re: music, connecting to the breath and the body, and being with other souls all resonate with me, and ESPECIALLY adding some dance. Well, adding ALL or mostly dance is how I roll…when I am heading to dance, dread nearly always goes out the window. Finding something that I love to do that also is a physical workout has been key–something for which I feel blessed. Thank you! xxo

  8. Hi ST, Yes –> finding some sort of movement routine you love to do is key. I’m so happy you stopped by. I love having you here, and feel so grateful for your support and friendship. Plus your comments always comes with beautiful insights…so thank you! Hope it’s going well with you and your move…the other kind of move 🙂

  9. justsylph@gmail.com' Maia says:

    Free form in the living room with a playlist – that is one of the best. Kitchen for me though… everything I’d need is scattered on my kitchen counter lol. xo

  10. justsylph@gmail.com' Maia says:

    And I swear I tried replying on my phone yesterday. Only one reply went through lol

  11. I know, I can never get WP to function properly on my phone. Sometimes I can’t reply to others, and I can never approve comments from my phone. It’s inconvenient.

  12. My living room and kitchen connect so it’s super easy to move from one to the other…that’s when I’m really feeling the playlist!! x x

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