Should exercise be fun?

Guest Blog by Sarah Cowley 

Exercise at times is a necessary evil. On the one hand we absolutely know it’s good for us (when prescribed correctly) but on the other hand it can be really hard work.

That feeling of shakey legs, your heart jumping out of your chest and like you just can’t take another step is absolutely not everyone’s idea of a party. Learning how to push through those difficult times helps us to appreciate the fun parts.

As an Olympic athlete I’ve had to endure some pretty hideous training sessions in my time. Not fun at all. But the fun I take from them is getting through those hard sessions with my mates and having a real sense of satisfaction when we’ve finished for the day.

Over the years when I know I’ve got a horrible workout coming up which will be beneficial but not a leisurely walk in the park, I’ve developed some tricks to up the fun stakes.

1. Workout as a group or head to an exercise class.

There’s a real movement for group fitness and there’s a reason for that. Together is better and particularly when you’re huffing and puffing through exercise. Huff and puff together and cheer each other on!

2. Get outside.

Being outside does wonders for the soul when exercising. Feel the sun on your face, the wind hopefully at your back and embrace the elements. Fresh air also helps when sucking in oxygen on a walk or a run.

3. Music is a mood lifter.

I have some go-to tunes when I need to dig deep. So whatever reeves you up, get it on repeat if you have to and just move.

4. Bribery.

When you get through those tough sessions celebrate your tenacity. If you need to put a carrot out in front of you as a motivational reward do so. I would just avoid making the reward food related (unless it’s a green smoothie!)

Most importantly, try different activities to find your physical activity thing! Whether its salsa dancing, karate, hiking or social cricket when we enjoy something we’re so much more likely to want to do it again. Even better if you find something you love doing, do it with the people you love.

It’s not always easy but doing exercise is always worth it. Whilst the enjoyment may not always be apparent exercise there are ways to have fun through the pain. You exercise as a way to be your best self and ultimately be more you.

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About Sarah

Health, Wellness & Fitness Champion

After fifteen years of International track and field I’ve decided its time to use my knowledge to share the love with you. As an Olympic athlete my life has been about maximising every training session to complete goals and be at my pinnacle condition at competition time. My approach has relentless hard work, constant learning and having fun along the way. I’ve had both some of the best and most challenging moments in my life through sport but I have loved every minute of this incredible journey. Through my own sporting journey, my life as a Mum and physiotherapy practice I have a unique skillset to help others in their own health, wellness and fitness journeys.

Read more about Sarah Cowley

Emily Mason