Exercise is meant to create positive changes in your health, physically and mentally.

Exercise is meant to create positive changes in your health, physically and mentally. Focus on these key areas, and find your happy place again.


For many, exercise is just another item to cross off on your to-do list, or used as a punishment for eating too much. It often becomes a rigid constraint and acts as a “should” in your life.

‘I should exercise because I ate that cookie dough.’

‘I should go on a run because I’m going out to dinner tonight.’

‘I should go to a workout class because I’m in a wedding in a month and want to look good in my bridesmaid dress.’

But exercise is so much more than the superficial “shoulds”.

Exercise gives you energy and helps you relieve stress. Exercise helps you sleep better and makes you feel strong. Exercise can help you feel confident in the one and only body you’ve ever been gifted with. If you don’t share in this mentality, here are some ways to learn how to enjoy exercise in your life again.

1. Find something you love

What’s your favorite what to move your body? Maybe it’s walking, or taking a barre, yoga or pilates classes. Often times, it takes testing a few different class types, times, and teachers to find the ones you love!

There are so many opportunities for moving your body in the world today. You don’t have to just go for a run or take a spin class. Go out there and explore, and be sure to have fun with it. Do what feels good in your body, not your friend’s, mom’s, or sister’s.

2. Quit doing something you hate

How can you honestly expect yourself to continue doing something regularly when you don’t enjoy it? That sounds like torture, and no one should voluntarily torture themselves. Quit doing things just because it’s supposedly “good for you.”

If you hate running, stop running. If you don’t enjoy going to yoga anymore, find something else. Exercise is NOT intended to be a miserable activity; it’s supposed to be something that makes your body feel good.

3. Make it fun

Now that you’re doing something you love and not something you hate, find some fun in moving your body.  Exercise doesn’t have to be “walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes, 5 days a week.” Perhaps it’s playing games on the beach with your kids one afternoon, or meeting your friend for a game of tennis instead of drinks. Ok, maybe you can go to tennis then grab a drink.

You can also turn things into a game by challenging yourself to go on a walk 4 days that week, and celebrating your wins by treating yourself to something special. However, be careful not to force it. If you only get 2 days of walking in one week, you didn’t fail. You simply need to set more realistic expectations. Don’t worry about the numbers, and recognize your effort.

4. Focus on the other numbers.

The numbers can be alluring. When they are trending in your “favor”, it can be exciting and motivating. However, the numbers will not always go in the direction you want them to, and that can be discouraging and even lead you to quit moving your body.

Rather than numbers, focus on how you are feeling. And if you just can’t help yourself and are a “numbers person”, focus instead on realistic goals for an exercise. For example, try to get 3 sunset walks per week. Try doing a certain number of push-ups or pull-ups. Aim to hold a plank for a longer period of time than your last one. Even when life gets busy, stay in the habit of treating your body with care by staying active with a 60 second plank or a 10 minute walk.

5. Skip perfectionism

It’s impossible to maintain a routine schedule, and some weeks will simply not go as planned. Set realistic expectations, and just get out there and do it when you’re able to. The effort you put in is what truly matters.

Adapted from the original article.

Meme Inge, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in San Diego. She shares approachable, nourishing recipes to prove that living a healthy lifestyle can be budget-friendly, delicious and fun. Get to know more about Meme at Living Well Kitchen.