How to NOT hate exercise?

Hi everyone.
I don’t know if anyone has had any experience with not enjoying ANY exercise? I know I should do it to be healthy and stuff, but I find it sooo hard to motivate myself to do it. Everything I read says “just do something you enjoy!”, but I’ve had over 30 years of trying different kinds of exercise now and I haven’t found anything. I’ve tried (among many others) hiking, swimming, jogging, running, cycling, yoga, dancing, zumba, martial arts, lifting, rock climbing, acrobatics, tennis, all kinds of ball sports - plus “weirder” ones like fencing and archery etc. I’ve tried on my own, with friends, with music, etc. And nothing has ever come even remotely close to “enjoyable” - they range from running, which is at a level of “I’d rather be unfit forever and die young than ever do this again”, to swimming, which is still only at a level of “I’d still rather do my tax return than this”. And the rest fall somewhere between the two.
So ... has anyone else faced this problem and got around it somehow? Found a way to pick a form of exercise and force yourself to hate it less? Because I’m really starting to think that unless I can stop myself from hating something I currently hate, I won’t ever get fit!


  • maureenseel1984
    maureenseel1984 Posts: 397 Member
    What is it that you hate about it? When it comes to motivation, I always have goals in exercise. For running it was usually training for a race or achieving a certain distance. In yoga it's acing an advanced pole (which I loved) it was mastering a new spin, trick or inversion. It also helps to get into a routine and have a plan so there is some consistency. I have to say that when I find a form of exercise that's isn't a challenge at all to find motivation to do it. Do you not like hiking? Walking? I don't think I've ever met anybody who couldn't find a single solitary activity that they enjoyed.
  • LyndaBSS
    LyndaBSS Posts: 6,971 Member
    I think it might be a matter of not overthinking it. I go into exercise with the mindset of being engaged and being in proper form (think weight lifting) to do that particular thing. I don't think about whether or not I like it until afterwards.
  • concordancia
    concordancia Posts: 5,320 Member
    Have you tried getting into very many of these things? I imagine the fencing took several classes to even have a feel for it, but what about everything else? I know that I have a hard time enjoying anything I totally suck at, so I have to stick with something for quite a while to get anything out of it.

    And then there is the just keep looking. I was really surprised to find that I enjoyed swing dancing. Before I took up swing dancing I always said "I like just about any music except big band." On the other hand, even as I got good at many kinds of dancing, I found that there are still some styles that my feet just won't do.

    Even yoga. I always liked the idea of yoga, but yoga classes didn't work for me until we found Iyengar yoga, because the teachers are trained to help you adapt the poses to your needs. At first I found it really boring without the flow, but I now that I know what my body needs to focus on, I can get more into it.
  • Cahgetsfit
    Cahgetsfit Posts: 1,913 Member
    Do you hate walking too? Walking is exercise. Just walk.

  • acpgee
    acpgee Posts: 7,014 Member
    Playing the drumkit, pulling church bells?
  • breanamock
    breanamock Posts: 29 Member
    How long did you do these activities you don’t like? I am a complete klutz (three left feet), but I went to a ballroom dance class because a bunch of my friends wanted to go. Of course I didn’t enjoy it, but I liked spending time with my friends, so I went with them the next week, and the next. Once I’d been going a couple months, I had learned enough to finally enjoy myself. I was no longer constantly thinking about which foot to put where. Dance became my main form of exercise for the next several years.

    I also agree with the suggestions to find something that has a payoff that you find worth the exertion. Walking dogs, learning martial arts/self defense, or walking to a spot with an amazing view.

    TL;DR Give any form of exercise enough time that you don’t have to concentrate on the exercise itself. Get to the point where you can concentrate on the payoff before you decide it’s not for you.
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,465 Member
    Find your why. What do you love? WHY do you hate exercise so much?

    From your picture I’d suggest archery again, fencing, riding pillion, and/or slingshot. Register for a demonstration at your next comic con. If nothing else, fear of embarrassment should keep you moving.

    If you still absolutely hate all exercise, why not give it up? It could take a decade or more to catch up with you.
  • Fursian
    Fursian Posts: 490 Member
    aokoye wrote: »

    On the other hand, I really don't like everything involved with getting ready to swim and being finished swimming. The changing into and out of my swimsuit, the being way too cold for the first 150ish yards, locker rooms, hoping a brought my goggles (that's at least something I can easily account for), etc. The only redeemable quality of the before/after is that at least I can get in a hot tub after, assuming I have time. There aren't enough redeemable qualities about swimming for me to swim once or twice a week at this point in my life, especially given that I feel exhausted for the first X weeks before I get used to it. That tedious and uncomfortable set up/finish is something that I can think about when I'm trying to figure out what sport or activity to try in the future.


    Great post @aokoye . This bit in particular really stuck out to me. The set up's, before and after's can be really off-putting, sometimes even to the point of just not bothering at all. For real.

    To the OP: I hope you eventually find something that you enjoy.
  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,056 Member
    edited July 2019
    Perhaps instead of looking for an intentional exercise, focus on getting your general activity level up - spend less time on the sofa, find activities that keep you from sitting down - arts & crafts, gardening, volunteering, dog walking,etc. Look for little ways you can increase your NEAT - taking stairs instead of lift/escalator, if you drive parking a little further away, if you take public transport getting off a stop early. All the little things add up.

    Alternatively, I did notice there wasn't much in the way of watersports mentioned in your initial posts too- would that be an option to try? Rowing, kayaking, etc. I was terrified of fresh water before getting into rowing 18 months ago, but I've gotten over it now and find it so calming being out on the river. I'd say just keep an eye out for different things, one day there might just be something that clicks.
  • InspectorRed
    InspectorRed Posts: 757 Member
    What do you LIKE to do? Surely you have some type of hobby.... take that and expand on it. Even if your hobby is reading, set up a book on a treadmill and start off slow and tell yourself that you will walk while you read 1 chapter. The walking part you probably won't like but sometimes as adults we have to be a bit uncomfortable to get the results we want.
  • MikePfirrman
    MikePfirrman Posts: 3,287 Member
    I hate to admit this but I originally got back into exercise when I was at my highest weight (255 or so and I'm only 5' 10", so that's obese) because I loved a bit of Peanut Butter at night. I ate back ALL of my exercise calories. I forced myself to walk, then do the Stationary Bike, then jog. I despised running. Hated it. In part because it was so painful and, in part, because I had never really done any sort of sustained cardio except in intermural BB and, perhaps, riding a bike around the neighborhood as a kid.

    It sounds like you don't like the pain. I didn't either. Slowly, eventually, the pain passes. When mine did, I was able to move more and gain more "net" calories. To me, the interim pain was worth it to get more of a budget to eat. When running got too painful for me, I moved to the Assault Bike and Indoor Rower. I still wanted more net calories that I could eat back, even in maintenance!

    Now, and granted this is nearly 12 years after starting to workout, I workout 7 hours a week -- most of that cardio. If I don't exercise, I feel miserable. Old habits can be changed over time. They really can.

  • kmfeig87
    kmfeig87 Posts: 1,990 Member
    Friends help. Walk with a friend, instead of sitting and chatting. Meet a friend for an exercise class. OR listen to a good audio book. Sometimes I want to keep going to hear more of the book. OR if you'd rather just be watching TV , then exercise while you watch! Earn TV time through exercise!