With the start of a new year and a rush to join a gym and get in better shape, one of the top reasons many people won’t follow through on their New Year’s resolutions to exercise will be that they simply don’t enjoy it enough. Danielle Johnson, a wellness physical therapist with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, says the key to following through on resolutions to get in shape is finding an exercise you actually enjoy – not just ones you think you’re supposed to do.
“Exercise should not be drudgery,” Johnson says.
That is the heart of the problem for a lot of people who can’t seem to follow through on their resolution she says. It’s hard to consistently do something you hate – even if you know it’s good for you.
That’s why Johnson says people need to start thinking of exercise with a wider lens than just activities like running or lifting weights.
“If you hate running, don’t run,” Johnson says. “You don’t have to do things that you don’t enjoy.”
She says there are countless ways for a person to get his or her body moving.
“Working on mobility, flexibility is very, very important and should be part of a well-rounded program,” she says. “So [start] thinking about how do we make that happen? Have you tried yoga class? Have you tried tai chi?”
She says people are always more likely to stick to a physical activity they enjoy.
If you like playing a sport like tennis or basketball, you should make time to go play. Or you can take your dog for a long walk every day.
Johnson says the bottom line is that working out doesn’t have to be a choice between running and doing nothing at all.
“Like I said, it doesn’t have to be drudgery,” she says. “You don’t have to hate it.”