7 tips for falling in love with exercise

Emma White - Certified Personal Trainer | 19 Mar, 2024

A survey by popular gym chain PureGym on the UK's exercise habits found the number one reason for not exercising to be – 'I don't enjoy exercising'. It therefore stands to reason that many people simply don’t often exercise because they view it as a chore, rather than an enjoyable experience.

I truly believe exercise is a privilege and it comes with countless benefits beyond simply burning calories! If you can shift your perspective on exercise, you can make regular movement something you genuinely get joy from.

If you want to change your relationship with exercise, read on for my top 7 tips:

Find the thing you do enjoy

1Find the thing you do enjoy

OK, the first tip may seem a bit simple, but if you don't enjoy exercise, you've probably just not found your 'joy' in it yet. Try to find an activity you do enjoy. Considering exercise can range from anything from surfing to bowling, I'd like to think there is something in the mix that would actually be enjoyable to most of us.

Try to avoid falling into the trap of thinking exercise is just going to a gym and spending 10 minutes each on a few cardio machines and lifting a few weights – it really doesn't have to be this if it doesn't work for you! Exercise is any form of movement that gets our heart rate up so try to have a think about the types of things you enjoy. Join a dance class, walk with a friend, take up a sport such as badminton – whatever it is that appeals to you, factor it into your routine. I really believe most of us can find joy in movement in some form!

Buddy up

2Buddy up

A problem shared is a problem halved! Get yourself an exercise buddy and plan some partner workouts. It's so much more fun to exercise with somebody and to help motivate each other. You can also incorporate fun partner moves into your workout when you have a workout buddy. Try step ups on a box where you high-five on each step – trust me, it makes it loads more fun. Or why not try a race or exercise course challenge? There's nothing like a bit of healthy competition to get us all motivated.

The other great thing about having an exercise buddy is you get to catch up with a friend, while moving your body – making it something to look forward to!

Note the benefits

3Note the benefits

Try to avoid seeing exercise as simply a way to change your body shape or lose weight. While these goals may be driving factors, if they're your sole focus you could be at higher risk of losing enthusiasm if you don't see the regular progression in these areas that you would like.

Exercise has countless other benefits for our physical and mental health, so try to add some of these to your benefits list. Regular movement can improve sleep quality, give us more energy, improve fitness (making daily activities easier), boost our mood and even improve the appearance of our skin! What's not to like? If you move your body to enjoy some of these amazing benefits, you're far more likely to find joy in exercise itself. So give it a try, reframe your drive to exercise and reap the rewards!

Make it part of your routine

4Make it part of your routine

As creatures of habit, we tend to love a routine. If you can find a way to make exercise a part of your weekly routine, chances are you'll come to love it being there and would feel like you were missing out if you didn't do it!

Book a regular class with a friend that you find fun; factor in a Tuesday lunchtime walk to grab your favourite takeaway coffee; or set aside Saturday mornings to clean the house while blasting out your favourite tunes! Having time set aside for movement can make it an easy part of your weekly rhythm that you come to enjoy, rather than dread.

Find positive associations

5Find positive associations

The things we associate our day-to-day activities with can have a huge bearing on how we feel about them from an emotional perspective. You may be someone who always has a coffee at the same time of day, and you associate this part of your day with comfort and relaxation. Or on the flipside, maybe you've been somewhat forcing yourself to do a short run a few times per week even though you don't enjoy it – chances are you wake up and dread the idea you've 'got to do a run today' and see it as something unpleasant you have to get through. If this is the case, it's time to firstly pick a different activity and secondly, find some positive associations!

Rule number one – steer clear of activities you truly don't enjoy – refer to point one in this article for tips on picking something you like. Next, build in some positive associations with the exercise you do choose. Why not use a daily walk to listen to your favourite podcast, audiobook or playlist? Or plan in a visit to your favourite coffee shop on the way back from a morning yoga class? Building in extra habits around your exercise routine that bring you easy happiness will help you associate exercise with good feelings, so you find extra joy in it.

Keep things simple

6Keep things simple

Try to avoid overburdening yourself with complicated goals and exercise routines. If you can fit some type of movement into your week, you're onto a winner. A common mistake people can make when they start out exercising is to take on too much from the offset, making it unsustainable and potentially exhausting. Initially try to just factor in some extra form of movement one or two times per week and aim to maintain this until it becomes easier and a normal part of your routine. Only then should you aim to add an extra movement day into your week – the key is to progress slowly and consistently.

Ensuring your exercise goals are achievable will make the whole process far more enjoyable, as you'll simply be reaping the benefits, rather than burning yourself out.

Shift the narrative

7Shift the narrative

Some people view exercise as a chore, and something we must do for our health but don't enjoy. Maybe it's time we shift this narrative? Regular movement is natural and something we as human beings should naturally be doing. Our modern world has stripped the need for regular movement from many of us, meaning for many people it's become viewed as an inconvenience and something we must 'fit in'.

What if we try to shift that perspective for ourselves a bit and aim to include some movement into our routine in a positive way. Walk to work or walk to the shops instead of driving; do the weekly food shop in person rather than ordering online; or arrange a walking catch up with a friend rather than sitting in a coffee shop for two hours. Try to factor in movement as a normal part of your daily routine, rather than always taking the modern-day option of ordering delivery or getting in the car. Chances are you'll feel a real boost after all of these activities and will start to view movement as a normal part of your day, rather than something you have to force.


If you're someone who doesn't currently find any joy in daily movement, I hope that you can take some pointers from the tips above and find a way to shift your perspective. Exercise is a privilege and a benefit, with so many positives – so let's all make the most of its multiple benefits and experience the joy in exercise!

Emma White (Certified Personal Trainer) has always loved fitness. She's passionate about the many benefits of regular exercise, particularly the positive impact on mental health and overall quality of life, as well as how it provides the key to successful weight management.

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