Man's best friend is your friend when it comes to fitness, too.

Don’t Like to Exercise? 5 Ways to Fix That

Wouldn’t it be great if you felt as excited about your next walk or run as your dog does when he sees the leash? The secret lies in treating exercise as a fun reward, not a chore. To start with, say goodbye to any fitness activities you don’t enjoy but are doing because you think they’re “good for you.” There are so many sports, fitness classes, and outdoor activities to choose from that there’s simply no need to spend another minute doing something you don’t enjoy.

Next, take these steps to make exercise something you enjoy as much as your dog.

1. Make It Storytime

There’s nothing like the lure of audiobooks and podcasts to make exercise addictive. Choose something exciting, with plenty of twists and turns, and let your curiosity fuel your fitness. You’ll keep coming back to hear that next chapter of a spy saga or episode of the Serial, right? For this to work best, make a book or series of podcasts specific to exercise and don’t let yourself listen any other time. You’ll look forward to the new developments each time you lace up your sneakers.

2. Tap Team Spirit

For many people, the last time exercise came naturally was when they were on a high school or college sports team. Re-spark that enthusiasm by joining a league or finding local pickup games for the sport you love. Whether your first love is basketball or soccer, ultimate frisbee or water polo, there are others out there who love it as much as you do.

3. Plan Some Puppy Love

If you have a dog, chances are you’re getting plenty of walking in, whether you want to or not. But even if you don’t, you can enjoy the tail-wagging motivation of bringing a canine along. Volunteer organizations pair would-be pet walkers with pet owners who are unable to exercise their pets due to disability, illness, or advanced age. Not only do you get the joy of canine companionship, you get to do a good turn for someone who needs a little help.

4. Create More Chat Time

Sometimes all it takes to get you moving is a change of venue. Usually meet friends for drinks after work? What about a sunset stroll instead? Or find something you like to do together, like a zumba, hot yoga, or barre class. You’ll get to catch up more often and enjoy feeling healthier together, too.

5. Find a New Passion

Ever have a friend discover salsa and basically disappear on you? Chances are, next time you saw her she looked a lot svelter, too. Sign on for something you build on sequentially like dance lessons or a martial art and the lure of learning will keep you coming back.


Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.