The Best 5 Sneaky Ways to Make Exercise More Enjoyable

It is important to rest and take care of the body, but it is also important to make a habit of working out if possible. Lucky for us, there are simple tips we can use that make exercise more enjoyable.

Working out should be rewarding, not torturous – source

Exercise has plenty of benefits, many of which have nothing to do with changing the way you look. Sure, you can boost muscle, gain weight, lose weight, etc., but the real benefits are both physical and mental. These simple, yet effective tips can help make exercise more enjoyable, allowing you to actually want to workout.

The Importance of Daily Exercise

Regular exercise, even a simple,low-impact activity like walking, is associated with many health benefits. Even just taking around 4 thousand steps a day can help you live longer. Regular exercise can help physical and mental health greatly, more than just increasing calories burned a day.


Exercise can help improve mood, as shown in this study, boosting happiness chemicals in the brain, and making you feel better. Furthermore, regular activity can help increase blood flow to the brain, enhancing cells and function. This improves brain health and can even lead to better memory, reduced inflammation, and lower oxidative stress.

Physical activity also stimulates the muscles and joints to reinforce, becoming stronger. This can help decrease the chances of injury, especially as we grow older. In younger years, regular exercise increases bone density, which can prevent osteoporosis in later years.

Regular exercise also boosts energy levels by increasing heart efficiency. Your body becomes better at delivering oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body as you work out more. Furthermore, exercise can help you get quality sleep at night, as found in many studies.

5 Sneaky Ways to Make Exercise More Enjoyable

Daily exercise can boost overall health and wellbeing. The benefits should outweigh the discomfort of momentary effort, right? However, there will be days we don’t want to workout or dread going to the gym. Here are the top 5 tips that can make exercise more enjoyable, allowing you to create a workout habit that works for you, not against you.

1. Reframe Inner Monologue

How you speak to yourself is called an inner voice, and it can mean the difference between in success and failure. This quote from Henry Ford, Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right, is accurate. The science of psychology suggests that negative thinking increases pain and stress, but also prevents you from wanting to work out in the future. There is an effect, almost like a placebo effect, on the mind when you reframe negative thinking into positive thoughts.

The mind gives up before the body does. So instead of thinking things like this is heavy, I’m so tired, I can’t do this, think I can do this, light as a feather, just one more rep, just one more step. How you speak to yourself during a workout can make all the difference in energy, motivation, and success. In fact, reframing to be more positive during a workout can even increase the brain’s production of endogenous cannabinoids and opioids, natural pain relievers that can help during your exercise.

2. Create an Epic Playlist

Music has the ability to make us feel. Listening to something happy can make you smile and vice versa, listening to something sad might make you tear up. Use the power of music during a workout and create a playlist that matches the vibes. Start on slow-tempo songs as you warm up, and increase the energy and speed of music beats as you get into your workout. Finally, try to finish your playlist with some soothing, relaxing melodies to help you cool down.

This can work for any exercise, from running to lifting weights, to swimming, and more. Plus, listening to music, scientifically, helps reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue. High-tempo, energetic music also tends to get our heart pumping, which can help deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the body while you exercise.

3. Imagination 

Visualization and imagination have been studied for years in sports, with data showing that imagery can improve our accuracy and even increase strength. People who imagine themselves lifting heavy weights often see more improvement than individuals who do not.

Imagination and visualization can help the mind and body rehearse for an activity, increasing nerve signals in the brain, boosting motivation, and improving focus during the actual event or exercise. A couple of minutes of visualizing your workout can make exercise more enjoyable by motivating you to do it well.

4. Adopt a You vs. You Mentality

When on a fitness journey, or even just in life in general, it can be easy to compare ourselves to others. We can turn on social media and see parts of someone’s life, wishing our lives were even a bit similar. In reality, those photos and videos are just the best parts of someone’s day, and many fitness-inspo pictures are posed, staged, or photoshopped.

Comparing yourself to your fitness icons can actually reduce motivation and reward during a workout, as found by this study here. Instead of comparing yourself to others, track your progress on your own scale. If you’re running, see if you can run farther, faster. If you’re training for strength, take note of that extra push-up you can do, or realize when you need to lift heavier weights. Fitness is about individual progress, you vs. you.

5. Treat Yourself

Why work out when we can be going to the movies! Or eating something delicious! Or hanging out with friends! There’s so much to do that isn’t exercise! 

If this is your mentality, it’s time to dangle a carrot in front of the horse. Use rewards and treats to convince yourself to exercise. Promise yourself you’ll go grab that dinner on the way back from working out. If you want a treat, have a snack ready to go as a reward after the workout. You can invite friends to your exercise routines to keep you accountable and social. You can even watch a show you like as you work out and save that show to watch only when exercising. 

Any of these techniques give you something to look forward to, which can make exercise much more enjoyable. You may even start developing a positive response to working out because you start associating exercise with a treat!

The Takeaway

Working out can have amazing benefits to wellbeing, physically and mentally. Sometimes though, it is hard to want to work out and even harder to make it a habit. These tips are simple, yet can help make exercise more enjoyable. Exercise should not be a punishment, it should be a celebration of what the body can do. Try them out and watch how much you look forward to.

Remember that health starts from within, so eat nutrient-dense food, exercise when you can, and take care of your mental wellbeing. Try to take care of gut health as well! The microbiota affects the entire body, from your metabolism, muscles, and immune system, to digestion, and more! Get all the resources you need about microbiota health for free here!

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