Choose the least-bad option
After weeding out the forms of exercise that actually sound like torture, select something that sounds doable and commit yourself to it for a full month (you can do anything for a month!). You don’t have to go crazy here -- walking, swimming, dance, yoga, and circuit training are all great, low-impact options to ease into.
Once you’ve selected your workout, sit down and schedule it into your calendar at least three times a week. Sound totally undoable? Start with one time, then go from there. Make this a non-negotiable appointment. Remember, you’re an adult and this is good for you!
Be proactive about making it more enjoyable
Exercise itself may not be your favorite way to spend half an hour, but you have the power to make the experience enjoyable. Don’t play the victim -- grab a friend and turn your workout into a social experience, or use your walk as an excuse to explore your city. Put together a playlist to keep you motivated or save your favorite podcast to listen to while you exercise. Anything unpleasant can be made more tolerable based on the environment and people around you.
Mix it up
Even if you love cheese (or sex, or anything, really), eating nothing but cheddar all the time is a recipe for disaster, for a lot of reasons. Look for fitness classes or experiences that sound interesting -- trampoline basketball, anyone (?!) -- and sign up for something new once a month. Not only will this help you identify workouts you might enjoy, but it can turn your regular fitness routine into “training” for your special event.
By slowly reframing the idea of exercise from something boring and torturous into something fun and adventurous (even if it’s hard), you’ll be more likely to stick to an ongoing routine. That’s not to say you’ll always enjoy it, but it doesn’t really matter if you want to exercise. You’re an adult, so exercise should be a given.
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Laura Williams is an exercise physiologist and fitness writer who doesn't always love exercise, but always does it anyway. Tell her all the ways you hate working out on Twitter: @girlsgonesporty.