How to Trick Yourself into Liking Exercise – Tips from a psychological standpoint

Some people genuinely enjoy working out and exercising, feeling the burn, the effort, and the sweat.

There are ways to make working out better – source

For everyone else, we’ll, it’s not the best.

Working out requires you to push yourself, challenging the limits of what you can do. It is tough and takes patience, and determination. Not everyone’s about that. Some don’t really experience the rush of dopamine, the feel-good chemical of the body, at the end of a workout.

Well, here’s how to trick your brain into actually enjoying exercise, with tips from a psychological viewpoint.

Exercising and the Brain

You likely don’t need to convince yourself to work out if you’ve already developed the habit. Just 15 minutes of running offers amazing benefits to the mind and body.

Working out nurtures the brain, gets the blood flowing, and increases feel-good chemicals in the body.

Regular workouts can lower blood pressure, decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease, improve sleep, and can increase happiness while decreasing stress. But, again, not everyone starts here. Here’s the trick.

How to Trick Yourself into Exercising

Here are simple tricks and hacks you can try to trick yourself into actually wanting to work out! They are based in psychology, so they should be very effective for anyone!

Try some out and see how they work for you!

Have Your Outfit Ready

Try to preplan your outfit. Sometimes, the look for workout clothes will make us lose all motivation to work out in the first place! Having what you are going to wear out and visible will give you that reminder and motivation to get moving.

You can even set your sneakers by the door. Having a constant reminder of your workout shoes can help get your feet out the door.

Add Something You Like

This is a technique called coupling. You combine something you like with something you don’t like to improve the overall experience.

For example, you have an audiobook you only let yourself listen to when you work out. This way, you start looking forward to working out, as you will find out what happened next.

You can do with with a podcast as well. Another option would be to make a specific music playlist you get to listen to while working out. Music is a great motivator and can help the time pass without you even realizing it!

Make Exercising a Hang Out

If you don’t like working out alone, make it a group activity! Get your friends to join you for a run, take a yoga class together, lift weights and spit each other.

Doing something hard is better, and more fun even when you’re with a friend. Exercising particularly is better together.

Having someone with you will hold you accountable for showing you as well, making you more likely to follow through.

Reward Yourself for Exercising

A reward for working out is higher health, better fitness, and a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. The problem?

It can take a lot of time to see the results of working out or feel the benefits.

Reward yourself instantly after working out instead. 

Pet your dog, dance a bit, and relax with a good magazine or book. As long as you start associating working out with something you like doing, you will have more motivation to work out. You even start to look forward to it!

Make it a reward you only get if you work out to really train your brain to associate working out with something good. This can be a specific song you adore, visiting a park, or anything special to you. Maybe use your favorite TV show and only watch it if you got a workout in for the day.

Go Easy on Yourself

People think that you have to go all out with a workout, that you have to go to the gym 7 times a week and spend hours there.

This couldn’t be further from the truth! You don’t have to make up for months of inactivity by pushing yourself this way.

In fact, if you work all out frequently, chances are you’ll do this for a month before burning out and stopping exercising together.

Instead, start with exercising 3 times a week for 15 to 20 minutes. Start to increase as you see yourself reaching your fitness goals.

The Takeaway

No one can deny the amazing benefits working out has, but they are not always fun, or easy to get to.

Some of us just don’t like working out, don’t like sweating, and don’t like the aches.

Luckily, there are ways to trick your brain and make you think you actually enjoy working out! Start associating your workouts with something you like doing, like listening to your favorite podcast. Get your friends to hold you accountable and make it a group hangout.

Rewards yourself for working out. Try taking a nice bath, lighting your favorite scented candle, or watching your favorite TV show. Remember, you don’t have to go all out for a workout every time. You can start low 3 times a week and work your way up as you develop a habit.

Who knows, by the end of this, you might find that you really start wanting to work out no matter what!

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