How to Work Out (When You Hate Working Out)

A quick session on the weights and a run on the treadmill offer plenty of benefits. Happiness, wellness and community all make exercise worthwhile—but what do you do if you absolutely loathe the idea of breaking a sweat? Or you just CAN’T motivate yourself? The good news is, you’re not alone, and there are plenty of ways to exercise without ever stepping near a pull-up bar. Try these workouts for people who hate working out to jump-start your new routine.

Embrace Walking

Walking is one of the best exercises you can do for your health, especially when the thought of the gym makes you cringe. To get the most out of your walk, try some of the following tips:

  • Walk outside: A little time in the outdoors can both boost your mood and make you feel less like you’re working out. Experiment with different locations and terrains for the best results. 
  • Out-and-back walk: Pick a distance that’s far enough away where you can’t quit halfway! Instead of walking around the block because you have to get home, you get a scenic tour (and you won’t stop early).
  • Stair climbs: Halfway through your walk, consider going up and downstairs for additional cardio. If there aren’t any stairs around, increase your pace in 15-minute intervals to get your heart pumping.
  • Add music: Music is a fantastic motivator. Don’t forget to pop in your earbuds before you head out for your workout. 

Get Involved in Recreational Sports

Recreational sports are an excellent way to combine working out with a hobby you love or the company of friends you enjoy. The focus is less on the actual act of working out and more on the game’s objective. 

Become a Mermaid

Yes, we’re serious—if laps at the pool sound like a total snooze-fest, try ‘mermaiding.’ It’s a full-body workout that teaches you to swim like a fish. Plenty of mermaid fins are available, starting at around $50.00 a pair. Still confused? Fin Fun created an eight-week program to show you all the ropes on how to live your mermaid fantasy (and get fit while doing it).

Try ‘Mattress’cise’

There are plenty of actual exercises that you can do while lying down. According to experts at The Healthy, these are the best exercises to do if you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed:

  • Pillow prop: Put two pillows at the end of the bed, and lie flat with your feet resting on the pillows, crossing your arms over your chest. Inhale and pull your stomach in, and breath out as you pull your body toward your feet. Repeat at least five times. 
  • Jackknife: Lie flat with your arms above your head. Keeping arms and legs straight, lift them until they meet each other. Repeat at least five times. 
  • Arabesque leg lifts: On your hands and knees, point your left toes and extend and raise the left leg out to the left side, bring the knee back in, and then extend the leg behind you. Switch sides and repeat for best results. 

Shifting Your Mindset

If these non-traditional workouts aren’t cutting it, you may want to consider a mindset shift. If motivation is your roadblock, consider these tips

  • Set a goal: Sign up for a 5k or 10k race. Giving yourself a deadline encourages you to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement. 
  • Sign up for a class: Most fitness instructors say that getting yourself to the gym is half the battle, and they’re right. A fitness class is a no-brainer, especially if you’re struggling with motivation. The class is pre-planned, and seeing other people around you working hard might inspire you to push a little harder, too. 
  • Try an app: There are a variety of apps that can help you track your fitness journey and encourage you every step of the way. Try Couch to 5k or Nike Run Club for planned running or walking workouts, or consider a yoga or Pilates app for something that’s lower impact. 

Exercising isn’t always fun, but these workouts for people who hate working out will have you feeling fit in no time at all. Remember, your pathway to wellness is personal—do what’s best for you!

Need more motivation? Try these wellness goals to focus on full-body health.  

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