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4 Strategies for Developing an Appreciation for Exercise

Do you truly enjoy exercising? Or does it seem more like a chore? If the thought of putting your body through strenuous drills is keeping you from working out, then it's time to switch things up.

With some willpower and focus, you can jumpstart your new relationship with exercise today!

Exercise is a necessity in order to maintain good health. Now you just need to find a way to make it more enjoyable! You can learn to develop an appreciation for exercise if you take the time to incorporate activities you enjoy.

Try these strategies to help change your mind-set about exercise:

1. Find a sport you love. One of the simplest ways to ensure you get a great workout is to choose something you enjoy doing. That could mean identifying a sport that you've played leisurely or trying out a new activity. Remember you burn calories through movement, so you're really not restricted to time in the gym! Racquet sports are excellent calorie burners! Consider tennis or pickle ball if you have a partner or choose squash if you're working out on your own. Swimming is extremely effective at building strength and endurance. If you're looking for structure, try a water aerobics class. Otherwise, swim in a pool on hot summer days!

My personal favorite is skiing. I could ski all day every day for weeks straight. I want to be in great shape so I can ski as long and hard as I want without getting hurt.

2. Reward yourself after completing a challenge. Before you start working out, set goals for yourself with accompanying rewards.

Knowing that there's something enticing waiting for you at the end of an exercise session can motivate you to get through it. Pamper yourself with manicures, pedicures, facials, or massages after you've made it through a grueling workout or reached a specific fitness goal. Taking a day off from the gym is also a great reward.

3. Incorporate a favorite pastime into your workouts. Focusing on something enjoyable while exercising can be a welcome distraction from the physical challenges. Then you’re done before you know it! When walking on the treadmill, plug in your earphones and blast your favorite tunes on your iPod or MP3 player. Listening to music is a great diversion that can also be very energizing. Bring a book to read during that first 30 minutes on the spinning bike. This will keep the muscle burn from feeling so intense. A great suspense novel could be the perfect choice so that you're completely engaged.

4. Focus on your health. The easiest way to develop an appreciation for exercise is to consider the benefits to your overall health. Keep in mind that exercise helps maintain healthy vitals. On the other hand, limited exercise can result in developing ill health. Are you genetically prone to high cholesterol or hypertension? Check your family history to find out. Remaining active will keep your risks minimal or non-existent. Note how you're feeling when exercise is a regular part of your daily life. You'll find that you're more energetic and your mind is sharper.

Take a shot at these strategies and you'll see that in no time, exercise will be more like an enjoyable part of your day and less like an undesirable imposition. Even when it's difficult, give your body the treatment it deserves.

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