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If you are thinking about starting a fitness journey, it can sometimes feel intimidating the first time you walk into a gym because there is a lot of equipment you may or may not know how to use, and there are a lot of people doing super advanced exercises that you could never do in a million years. When it comes to exercise, people often say that fitness is not something you need to enjoy, and it’s just something you should do because it’s good for your physical health and I do believe that everyone should prioritize their physical health and have an exercise routine, if they can but you don’t have to love your workouts as much as a personal trainer does. Exercise is more challenging for disabled people than it is for able-bodied people because fitness is not accessible an disabled people also tend to be less consistent with exercise due to the lack of accessibility but it’s still just as important for disabled people as it would be for abled people. You don’t have to love every aspect of your workout routine because I sure don’t, but if you don’t find some enjoyment in your routines it hard to stick to them. Fitness can be fun but a lot of the time it’s not because of societal pressures to look a certain way. How can you make fitness fun? In this post, I will talk about some things I have done to make fitness fun.
Experiment with different exercises: There are many different types of exercises that have a lot of health benefits which can improve your physical health and burn a lot of calories. but even though an exercise routine burns a lot of calories, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Fitness enthusiasts always say that you have to do the longest routine that burns the most calories to get results but I don’t necessarily agree with that approach because encouraging total newbies to do high-intensity workouts five days a week can be dangerous and lead to injuries and burnout. If you want to love fitness, you have to find a workout that you enjoy to some level. because people that enjoy their routines tend to stick to it long-term. Forcing yourself to do horrible workouts because the Internet told you it will give you abs won’t be as motivating and although you may stick to it for a little while it’s usually very short-lived. If you struggle with sticking to an exercise program, experiment with different types of workout routines until you find the one that lights you up because everyone is different and it’s okay if your routine looks completely from someone else’s. Does Yoga and Pilates bore you to tears? Don’t do it and maybe try weightlifting and walking workouts.
Don’t have an all or nothing approach – When I started exercising right after high school, I did not have a healthy relationship with exercise and I walked two miles a day, which was overkill for someone with a physical disability, and severely restricted my calories because I thought fitness was about going hard every single time and counting your calories. Sometimes, people will take an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to fitness and think that if you’re not going super hard, it’s a waste of your time but that is not true because sometimes you’re not going to be able to do a hard workout and will need to prioritize rest. Our bodies are not designed to go hard seven days a week, and it’s okay if some days you don’t do as well as others because it doesn’t mean you failed – it just means you’re human. Low-intensity exercises may not necessarily burn as many calories as higher impact ones, and sometimes people think low intensity mean easy but it’s the low-impact exercises that give you the strength to do higher intensity ones. Give yourself some self-love and don’t have an all-or-nothing approach to fitness because any type of movement is good, even if it’s not at the intensity you would have wanted.
Change your mindset – Some people will say that they hate all exercise because fitness is not supposed to be fun but it can and if you have that negative mindset with exercise you’ll never find joy in fitness. Have you tried all the different types of workout routines? I am willing to bet you haven’t so how do you know if you hate them all when you have only tried one or two? When you go into a workout with the mindset that it’s going to be a horrible workout and that you hate exercising, fitness will never be enjoyable because you are approaching exercise with a negative mindset. If you want to become more motivated to do your exercise routine, you have to trick your brain into thinking it’s fun, even if it’s not because your brain will give up before your body will. When I exercise, I constantly repeat to myself that I love all my exercises and that it’s fun, even though I hate a lot of them which may sound a little silly, but it’s something I have done to change my negative mindset to a positive one.
Get a workout buddy – I workout at home because I don’t benefit from the vast majority of gym equipment but even if I could go to a gym, I probably wouldn’t, because I prefer not to have people watching me work out or talking to me period. Some people, like myself, prefer to be left alone when exercising and do not need a workout buddy but, if you are new to the gym sometimes it can be struggle to get yourself to the gym and you might benefit from a workout buddy. If you decide to get a workout buddy, it might be a good idea to find someone who has a similar fitness level as you because going with someone who has been working out much longer and is more fit than you may turn into a unhealthy competition. I think it would be fun to have a workout buddy, but I don’t have anyone in my life who I could work out with because people in my life who I think could do the same workout as me are either not around often or are abled and can do a lot more than I ever will be able to.
Try a workout video – Fitness is harder for me as disabled person because there are very few workouts that are truly accessible for people with physical disabilities.. When I was doing my walking workouts, I found zero enjoyment in my routines and wasn’t until I happened to stumble across a YouTube video that I realized fitness can be fun. There are so many fun exercise videos on YouTube that you can follow along to if you struggle with motivating yourself to exercise and I think it can be a great option for disabled people.. If you are disabled it sometimes can be hard to find an exercise video that is truly accessible and you may have to modify it to accommodate your disability. If you prefer to do your own workouts a workout video might not be for your but if you are disabled and don’t know what to do, it can be life-changing because it teaches you exercises that you didn’t know existed and would have never thought of yourself.
Don’t workout for vanity: When it comes to fitness, everyone has different goals and things they hope to achieve with their exercise routine. I do not think that there is such a thing as a bad goal because everyone is at a different level in their fitness journey but I do believe that when you work out for vanity, it takes the fun out of exercise. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself through an exercise program, but you should not use fitness as a form of self-hatred because when you workout for the wrong reasons, you become obsessed with changing your body and fitness becomes more like a chore. Fitness should be about seeing what your body can do, not a punishment for all the foods you ate that you shouldn’t have!
Stop comparing yourself to others – Social media is a great place where you can get a lot life hacks that you wouldn’t have though of but it can also be easy to compare ourselves to your peers. There are so many workouts titled “How to get legs like Kim Kardashian” that sometimes get people obsessed with wanting to look like a celebrity. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your physical appearance, but I really hate workouts with titles that claim you can look like a celebrity by doing one YouTube video. It is unrealistic for normal people who don’t have millions of dollars to spend on the world’s best personal trainer to want to look like a celebrity and what a lot of people don’t tell you is that a lot of these celebrities’ have very strict diet and exercise routines that most people would never want to do. Stop comparing yourself to people on social media because you know who photoshops their images and who doesn’t. Fitness is very specific to you and it shouldn’t matter if your friend can do more shoulder presses than you with a higher weight because the only thing that matters is that you are happy with your progress.
Fitness is important for our overall health, but a lot of people struggle with doing it consistently because fitness enthusiasts are always telling you to do horrible workout or it’s a waste of time. I have not always loved exercising and there was a point in my life when I did workouts I hated and physically had to force myself to do them. It’s normal to not love every single aspect of your workout routine because I don’t think anyone does but doing your exercise routine should be like pulling teeth. Some people say that you don’t need to love fitness, but I don’t think that is entirely true and you should find some enjoyment with exercise because people that look forward to exercising tend to be more consistent. Some disabled people are not able exercise because some disabilities make it impossible and that is okay, but a vast majority of people can exercise and don’t. Listen to your body and take care of your physical health because no one is going to do it for you. How do you make fitness fun?
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