How to Make Exercise Enjoyable
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The right music can help turn a slog of a sweat session into a high-octane workout. "When you get really into a great song, it distracts you from monotony and fatigue," says Robert Weinberg, PhD, author of Mental Toughness for Sport, Business, and Life. The result? You may end up exercising longer or more intensely than if you worked out in silence. Research conducted at Brunel University in London has found that exercising to music can boost endurance by up to 15 percent.
It worked for me! "I recently joined a gym that always blasts hip-hop. At first I thought it would be annoying, but I realized it makes exercising a lot more fun. I get so caught up in the music my workout is over before I know it. Often I end up exercising longer because I want to keep listening!"
-- Emily Fromm, 35, Maplewood, New Jersey
To make exercise a habit you'll stick with for life, think beyond its better-body benefits. Creating personally meaningful goals -- like being a healthy role model for your kids or participating in fundraising walks for your favorite charity -- can help you stay committed to your workout routine in the long term. "Make a list of everything you want to achieve from exercising and post it where it'll be easily visible so you can read it daily," says Dr. Weinberg. The constant reminder can prevent your motivation from going MIA.
It worked for me! "I joined a local environmental initiative that encourages people to walk, bike, take the bus, or rideshare. I participate by doing my errands on foot instead of taking my car. It makes me feel good knowing that I'm burning calories and shrinking my carbon footprint at the same time."
-- Judith Green, 55, Bellingham, Washington
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, June 2011.