For the Love of Being Active


So yesterday I wrote about how to not hate running, and I feel as if it may need a little follow-up. I had a couple of comments that made me go “hmm, that is a good point,” and although I responded to them, I want to address them here as well because I feel they were valid with their concern. So today is yesterday’s less funny follow-up.

A couple people commented along the lines of “why force yourself to do something if you hate it?” and I AGREE, but I feel like that maybe didn’t come through in my writing.

Hate is a pretty strong word, and one that I try not to use often. When I use it to describe something like running, I guess I am trying to use it in more of a jokey-jokey manner.

I don’t think that I would ever do something if I really, truly hated it. But with running, I just thought I hated it. I never stuck with it enough to give myself a chance to like it. I assumed I hated it. I went into every run with thoughts of “I hate this” instead of being open-minded about it. Once I really gave running a chance, I discovered that fine, it’s not easy, but it has okay moments.

The other thing is, I have never exercised just to exercise, and I thought running was essentially exercising just to exercise.

But those comments made me think all day today about what activities I actually love.

Growing up I was active because I did a lot. I swam every day in the summer, did a lot of waterskiing and wakeboarding, skiing, skating, hiking in the forest, and played a few sports (I especially love volleyball even though I’m not great at it). I was outside doing stuff all the time. But the difference for me between those activities and exercising is those are all fun and I genuinely love them, and I have never found “exercising” fun.

But I don’t live on a lake anymore, so swimming, water sports, and skating every day are all out for me as ways to be active. I don’t live near very many hiking trails, so that is not really feasible either. My skis mysteriously disappeared after I left them in my Dad’s garage while I was moving (I am not blaming you Dad, but I’ll admit you are a suspect in their disappearance), and since there is no snow most of the time, that means skiing is out.

As for playing sports…sure, sometimes, but it’s not an every day thing. Office Boccia isn’t a very good workout (though it is fun).

I want to be active, and to maintain a healthy weight I need to be active, but all the activities that I truly love are not ones that I can do every day. The exercising just to exercise is a mindset thing, I know that, and my way of getting over it is to trick myself into liking activities that I previously thought were not fun. Or make activities that are typically not fun a good time.

Enter running. I love running because all I need to do it is a good sports bra, and a pair of running shoes (I do need new shoes though, mine are pretty old). I don’t need any other equipment, I don’t even need a treadmill. It gets me outside and active with minimal prep.

When I am running, I am still not thinking “I love this, this is so awesome!” but I have come up with little tricks to make myself like it. I like listening to music, so it helps me to like running. I like being competitive with myself, so I make up little games like “I WIN” to play while I am running. I like wearing new clothes, so new clothes for running make me excited to run. Those sorts of things.

Also, and I keep mentioning this, but I cannot get over how I feel after a good run. I don’t think there is any other activity that could make me feel any better. I also really like how motivated and excited I get after I make any progress. I just love how running makes me feel, as cheesy as that sounds, and that is probably the closest I will ever get to loving it.

So that’s why I run. I want to be active, I can trick myself into liking it, and I love the way it makes me feel afterwards. If you just hate it, and you can’t find a way to make yourself like it, then definitely do not force yourself to do it. Walking is way cool also!

There are so many serious running blogs that talk about running marathons, what to eat, what to wear, etc. but I know there are people who, like me, just want to be active and find a way to like running and maybe one day run a 5k. I hope that my post was helpful in that context.

And now I am curious…

  • Why do you exercise?
  • Do you exercise just to exercise?
  • What is your favourite way to be active?

26 responses to “For the Love of Being Active

  1. I loooooove to exercise- but find running the hardest thing to get motivated for (even though I like to run). Trying something like Zumba, Power Yoga, or H.I.I.T. training may be more up people’s alleys- Tabata (interval- high intensity interval training) training is quick and anyone can do it. Usually the time limit is something people can do, too. Running for 30 minutes versus Tabata training for 20 (20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest) seems like more of a chore. That’s my take! I agree with learning to love something, but also agree with you if it’s something you hate, find something you like to do. You’re more likely to stick to it!

  2. Exercise makes me feel good and helps me reduce stress. Also, I was overweight as a teen, and know that exercising helps me maintain my weight. And i’m a dessert fiend, so I think exercise helps offset that.
    It’s been a few years, but I really loved rollerblading. Now, I do enjoy running and the elliptical.

    • Yes, definitely feel you on the dessert fiend thing. Cookies in particular are my weakness…I just love them so much.
      I forgot about rollerblading! I couldn’t really go when I was growing up because the road was too gravelly, but I do love it now!

  3. Such a great post Linds! I used to mainly exercise just to “look good” and burn calories…woof, so glad I’m getting over that! I now exercise because of how it makes me feel, for my overall health, and because I’ve learned what types of exercise I actually do enjoy doing!

  4. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance

    Awesome points– I’m with you on the running front. I fell into it because I thought that it would burn the most calories in the fastest amount of time. Heck, I even ran a freaking marathon! It was many shin splints later that I realized that I am just not a runner, and decided that I would only do it when I wanted to, and not because I wanted to “burn calories”

    • Yeah, making it about calories does not make it fun for me.
      And I think running a marathon would make me hate running forever.

    • Brittany: that is exactly why I moved away from running and towards yoga. I was using exercise and fitness solely as a way to burn calories, and it really was not a healthy mindset. When I started yoga, I realized that after class I did not wonder or even care how many calories I burned, because I love practicing so much. Yoga and walking are now pretty much my sole source of exericse. I still run occasionaly but like you said – only when I feel like it, not to burn calories 🙂

  5. I love going for a good run, it’s hard to start up but once i get going and my heart’s pumping good? it’s almost like a natural de-stress and i feel all my stress go away 🙂

  6. I like running and hates to exercise
    what i think is that people usually hate those things that requires them to put extra effort of theirs..
    as in my case I’m too lazy to stand up for exercise..
    by the way you write too good..
    thumbs up

  7. Great post thanks. I really enjoyed it very much.

    Love writing? We would love for you to join us!

    Writers Wanted

  8. I used to exercise for weight loss, but I realized that doesn’t work. It’s more about what you put in your body with food. Now I love exercise for the other benefits mentally and physically. Nothing makes me feel more balanced that collecting my thoughts and having “me-time” with a work out. I love to be active by hiking and dancing. This doesn’t feel like a workout, just living life.

  9. I don’t really “exercise” in the summer. I call what I do in the summer playing out instead of working out. I hike and kayak and canoe and take long walks with the dog. I only really “exercise” in the colder months, which is why I start doing things that I don’t love as much in the winter. Yes, I could do fun stuff like take dance classes in the winter, but those cost money and are much more time consuming than just hopping on the treadmill downstairs. While I agree with the “why do it if you hate it?” mindset to a certain extent, I also think that we have to strike a balance between doing things that we love and things that we know are good for us. I figure that it’s ok to spend 30 minutes a day doing something that I don’t love, because that leaves me with plenty of time and energy to devote to the stuff that I do love.

  10. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with running, and THATS what keeps me doing it when I’m in a hate period. I know that even though I don’t enjoy it at times, there’s a really amazing sense of accomplishment waiting for me once I break through the plateau and reach a new goal. If I quit every single thing that I wasn’t 10000% giddy about of the time, I’d be jobless, homeless, single and lacking a degree…there’s a bit of perseverance necessary to get to the “love” bit on the other side of “hate”

  11. I exercise for the mental aspect, as well as the health aspect. There are many times I dont feel like it and it took me a while to actually “get into it” but now I love it. I am concentrating on strength training lately and I feel really happy about that and enjoy the variety and routine of my new training.

  12. I can tooootally relate to this! I actually really, really hate running, though (and I don’t use the word ‘hate’ very often, either). I get windburn in my ears, leaving me with an earache for days. It’s hard on my knees. I just…don’t like it.

    I DO love yoga, cardio, and some exercises with weights. Yoga always feels just so good, and I usually do cardio/weights 1-2 times/week. Granted, there are days when I do have to push myself into a workout, no matter how much I enjoy it. And some days, it’s just not happening. Like today. But I think it’s important to like at least some parts of your workout, and it sounds like you do 🙂

  13. Great post Lindsey! I’ve never exercised purely to burn calories, but just to be active because society pretty much tells you, you need to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. I get bored very easily, so I’m constantly switching things up, yoga, fitness classes, biking, running, home workouts, workout DVD’s whatever. But this summer, I (kinda) fell in love with running and ran my first half marathon. Of course there are days when I don’t want to run when my training schedule says I should, but there was never a time after I run I said “man, I regret going for a run” it’s the way it makes you feel afterwards that makes all types of exercise worth it 🙂

  14. This is why I don’t belong at a gym. I just got so bored there and realized I only cared about the calories I was burning. I exercise for my health and also for fun. I love to be active outdoors and I truly enjoy power yoga. When exercise feels like a chore, I get away from that particular kind. I need to enjoy it to reap the benefits anyways. My favourite way to be active is just living life! Especially now that it’s winter, my favourite ways to be active include skiing, running around in the snow with my dogs, tobogganing and ice skating.

  15. Great post! I will say it again but I think 95% of the population has to force themselves to work out. So ya, sometimes you will have to force yourself to do something you dont want to. Good for you for makIng the commitment to be healthy and active. Running is a great way to do that!
    Life is busy. Most people work at sedentary jobs. You often have to force yourself to work out between dinner and picking up kids, etc. it’s tough. So however you can make that happen with “tricks”, I say go for it.

    • I agree! I think it is a struggle for most people to be active, especially if they have desk jobs. I read a lot of healthy living blogs now, and in that community everyone works out every single day and enjoys it – I am forgetting that isn’t the real world! Most of the population is like you say.
      Thanks Lexy! 🙂

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