What Should I Do if I Don't Enjoy Exercise?

Not everyone has an easy time getting off the couch. Some of us have many hobbies that take up a lot of time and it’s hard to prioritize something we don’t enjoy. I’ll cut right to the chase:

You have to find a way.

The benefits of exercise are endless. From lowering your resting heart rate, to increasing your strength and stamina, there are too many reasons to name here. The one I prefer the most though is what it does to your brain chemistry. Exercise increases your serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline (epinephrine), and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) levels. What exercise does for your brain is invaluable, priceless.

Changing how we think

Let’s talk about delay discounting, a tendency to choose the smaller more immediate reward as opposed to the greater future reward.

Read more here

Here’s how:

Mental fortitude and time. You give yourself to a process that is not instantly gratifying a little at a time. Go out and do 5 minutes of exercise. Everyone should be able to fit 5 minutes of exercise into their day. Eventually do 10. Than 20.

There are a couple things that will happen. You brain chemistry will change. The more you exercise the more you’ll feel the benefits of the neurotransmitters we spoke about earlier. They make you sharper, give you more energy, enhance your mood, and so forth. Also, you’ll feel accomplished. There is something to be proud of every time you commit yourself to an act that is not instantly gratifying, one that requires hard work. You are as predisposed genetically to this as you might be to delay discounting.

Is that it?

No. If you don’t enjoy exercise that’s not it. Your mind will quit well before your body does. Your thoughts will NOT be positive. They’ll focus on how much your activity hurts. You’ll focus on what else you could be doing. You’ll rationalize that there are more necessary ways to spend your time. You’ll consider that you won’t get much healthier anyway, that you won’t reach your goals anyway.

All of this is nonsense. All of it. If you make your goal to improve your brain chemistry and to change the way you think about that process, it WILL happen. You need to choose thoughts to focus on as you exercise. Thoughts that replace the nonsense mentioned above. Thoughts that you can return to when you start to feel your mind taking over and controlling you, instead of you being the one who controls your thoughts.

Exercise is probably much more mental than it is physical. You have to workout your mind as you workout your body. The more you do it the easier it gets, just like anything else.

Make the commitment to 5 minutes of exercise today.

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Whenever someone tells me they're unhappy, I always ask, "How often do you exercise?" There is nothing more important to your happiness than your brain chemistry. Protect your brain chemistry.

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