Do you hate to exercise?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I was never in good physical condition until I was about 30 years old. I grew up as the nerdy type, no interest in sports, always picked last for teams in gym, etc.



Then for a period of about seven years, I managed to get myself geared up to eat well and exercise regularly. I lost about 50 lbs. right near the start of this era of devotion to fitness, and kept the weight off that whole time.



For as long as I worked out, however, I never, ever enjoyed doing it. In fact, I downright hated it. Like pounding your head against a wall, the only thing that felt good to me about exercising was the feeling of relief when I stopped. Now don't get me wrong... I loved the results of exercise. I liked how I felt and how I looked and the health benefits I knew I was getting out of exercise. But I absolutely loathed the process of exercising. And it wasn't all roses as far as results, either. No matter what advice I tried to follow about types of exercise and stretching and body positioning, I ended up with more aches and pains than when I didn't exercise, and threw my back out several times in such a way that I often couldn't even walk for a day or two after each such event, and would be stiffly limping about for a week or so each time.



Here's some advice that never helped me: "Find something that you enjoy doing."



Hear me now and believe me later.... there is no form of exercise that I enjoy doing. None. I'm not trying to be difficult or stubborn about this. It is simply the truth. Sports? My youth turned me off from that -- I have nothing but bad mental associations with sports. There are no idyllic moments of my youth recalled by remembering any sporting situation that I was forced to endure. Besides, most sports don't make for a good overall workout -- they are at best one part of an overall routine, and most people don't play any sport frequently enough for it to do them much good.



Jogging or running? Boring at best, feels awful when doing it at worst. Walking can be enjoyable for me, but walking isn't going to get me anything but minimal results (better than nothing, of course), and just like jogging and running, I certainly don't enjoy doing any of those when it's too hot, too cold, when it's raining or snowing, etc... Where I live in the northeast, I'd say there are maybe 60-90 days per year when I can actively enjoy walking outdoors.



What did I do for exercise during those seven years? Mostly a stationary exercise bike, a treadmill, and weight routines on Nautilus equipment. I did not enjoy these things, I merely endured them. In order to trick myself into doing things I hated doing, the best I could do was arrange for exercise where I could zone out as much as possible, watching TV or listen to music at the same time. For instance, I know free weights would have been better than Nautilus, but free weights take much more concentration on what you're doing, preventing my mind from escaping the experience.



Seven years is a long time to stick to something that you hate doing. Not surprisingly, this seven years corresponded closely to the seven years I worked for a company to which I telecommuted most of the week. Making my own hours, and being able to throw my workouts into any time of the day I liked, helped an awful lot. Once I was at a new job and commuting, stuck with a fixed schedule and wasting away two hours per day stuck in traffic, my whole exercise routine started to fall apart.



I want to get back into shape, like I'd been for so many years. I'm not liking how my weight is creeping up on me again, or how out-of-shape I'm feeling. But I truly dread getting back into an exercise routine. I liked the results, but the process made me profoundly unhappy. Only a reluctant sense of obligation, and feelings of guilt if I didn't meet my self-imposed obligations, kept me going for seven years. The prospect of once again taking on obligation and guilt in order to force myself to do things I hate doing is not greatly appealing.



It would be nice to hear some advice or encouragement from people who identify with how I feel. If you get all "Ooh! Ooh! Feel the burn!" excited about exercise, that means absolutely nothing to me. If you're a bouncy, happy morning person who's bright-eyed and eager to run to the gym at 5:00 AM, you might as well be from another planet as far as I'm concerned -- unless you perhaps had been like me for a long time and found some magical way to change your whole attitude.



Going by statistics on health, fitness, and weight, most people aren't getting enough exercise. Yet I rarely hear people say that they hate exercise. Mostly what I hear is "Oh, boy! I loooooove exercise!" from the noisy minority of enthusiasts, or excuses like "Gee, I'd love to exercise more, but it's so hard to find the time..."



If people can find time to check in on who's getting voted off the island, or watch sensationalist dreck about Michael Jackson... or rant online about unspectacular iMac updates, for that matter... they could easily find time to exercise if they wanted to. I think most people really don't like exercising at all, but for some reason can't bring themselves to say it.



I know that true fitness requires a devotion to a change in lifestyle, a long term commitment. But I dread the things I'd have to commit to -- and that dread comes from seven years of experience, not fear of an unknown. Out of vanity, I'd like to look as fit and toned as I did during those seven years of my life when I exercised several times per week. I also know what I should do for better health, but when I think of so much despised activity stretching indefinitely into my future, I'm not so sure that I wouldn't better enjoy a less-healthy, and possibly shorter, life.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    Exercise? Me...?







    Not... <img src="graemlins/cancer.gif" border="0" alt="[cancer]" />



    Love Google images



    [ 02-07-2003: Message edited by: Artman @_@ ]</p>
  • Reply 2 of 60
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I hate exercise too. The best thing though is racquetball. I play about 1-3 times a week, which really isn't enough, but it's better than nothing of course.



    No exercise today though, I'm feeling pretty sick.
  • Reply 3 of 60
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    No, I do not hate exercrise.



    I play racquetball as well, 3-4 times a week.
  • Reply 4 of 60
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    I love exercising. But you should always mix in some competitive sport to make things interesting.

    For example, I run....a lot...in fact I marathon.

    Which is mostly more of mental thing than physical (really). So I get to meditate and exercise at the same time.

    But I also make sure I try to beat the next guy. Plus I get in a good pickup game of basketball to get my frustrations out.
  • Reply 5 of 60
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,052member
    I know what you mean.



    I have recently taken a hiatus from the gym since I had my daugher two+ months ago . . . but my wife has come up with a 'brilliant plan'-- she will spell me by minding our "little lovia" for an hour while I go to the gym, and then I will watch her while she goes . . . this is supposed to restart our exercise regimen and its supposed to start sometime TODAY



    I'm not looking forward to it.



    I am a strange blend, I was a highschool athelete: ran cross country (though I was very bad), pole vaulted, stint of wrestling and some football.

    I know how beneficial it is to excercise: how much better I feel, how much more productive I am, how my thinking is generally clearer . . . and besides I have always had the metabolism that has kept my 'figure' looking lean, and even, at times slightly buffed . .



    . that was until 35 . .



    . now I feel everyday that I don't work out . . . and the problem is is that the more I don't work out the more I just want to sit around all day (on my days off) and stew in my own increasingly pungent body odor and computer tan . . I get too comfortable . . . its like that sleepy dazed feeling from taking Percoset(sp?) . . . you know its not good for you and in the long run is very very bad for your productivity, personality and mental health, but it just feels good to stew . . .



    The way that I enjoy working out is that I just concentrate on the physical . . . try not to think and let the body have the simple pleasure of moving itself and improving itself . . . soouunds flimsy and it is

    especially when the gym that I belong to pumps terrible maudlin adolescent hate-life self-pitying mainstream metal rock music as if it is supposed to help you lift weights



    Yes it has become a burden, but, if you can get past the burden on the time and get to a point where the activity is making a serious difference to your physical state: which means either running a lot or working out alot, then it becomes its own pleasure



    When I ran cross country, (something that absolutely seems inconceivable now!!) I was terrible during the track meats, but during practice, for some strange reason, I could run along side of, and with the fastest members of the team. I remember once after a particularly grueling 12 mile, steep hill run, in the hills of Hillsborough CA (Eugene knows what I'm talking about) I attained the runners high that scientists are now saying may not exist



    .... but it really does exist!!! and is one of the best feelings you can imagine . . . better than morphine because you can only get the feeling from doing something on your own merit



    I can't really imagine attaining that these days . . . especially after 2+ months of sitting around (which makes running a mere half a mile a serious chore) but it helps to keep it in mind that it really is possible . . .
  • Reply 6 of 60
    i agree with satchmo the mental benefits from running are as good as the physical. i played baseball football and tennis in school and running was always part of training, and i absolutely hated it. when i got in my mid thirties i got real lazy and started mountain biking, but then i moved to chicago which is perfectly flat, i still bike but it wasn't as much fun on bike paths, (although if you ever come to chicago take a walk or a bike ride on the the lake shore bike path it's quite tremendous especially if there are a lot of people) so i started running on a treadmill at first then outside, and the way it clears your head is just incredible.

    and when your running your mind drifts and it is a lot like meditation.
  • Reply 7 of 60
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    I used to hate exercise, but I trained myself to enjoy it. How? I'm not exactly sure. I think it was in part due to a desire to get in better shape. I don't really care about pain, hunger, thirst, tired, etc. so I just learned to ignore the feeling of exercising.



    You can get yourself into a meditative state and just ignore. You need to learn how to put up with a lot of BS in life, like families at Christmas parties, co-workers that are a pain in the ares, exercise pain is just another. You can zone out from what it feels like if you try, just like you can for pain, hunger, thirst, etc....



    Well the iPod helps too.
  • Reply 8 of 60
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    i love exercise, but only as a sport. i hate just going to the gym and doing some mindless, repetative action with a machine.



    much rather do some mostly mindless, repetative action with other people.







    just kidding, sports aren't mindless, but they are repetative. something about competition really makes it a whole lot more fun.
  • Reply 9 of 60
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    [quote]Originally posted by satchmo:

    <strong>I love exercising. But you should always mix in some competitive sport to make things interesting.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    For me, however, adding a competitive aspect doesn't make it more interesting.



    [quote]<strong>Plus I get in a good pickup game of basketball to get my frustrations out.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    For me, the hassle of exercise is a frustration in and of itself, not a source of relief from frustrations.



    I'm glad that you have something that works well for you, but what bugs me a lot is how so many people who are into exercise seem utterly oblivious to the concept that other people might react to exercise differently, that other human beings actually might not enjoy "feeling the burn", that others might not get off on competition with another person or get any huge thrill out of beating fitness personal goals.
  • Reply 10 of 60
    I do cock pushups.



    Explanation is halfway through <a href="http://media.ebaumsworld.com/jackblack1.mp3"; target="_blank">this</a>









    Errr. Hulk mad.



    Try this:



    <a href="http://media.ebaumsworld.com/index.php?e=jackblack1.mp3"; target="_blank">http://media.ebaumsworld.com/index.php?e=jackblack1.mp3</a>;



    (it's using a soundboard... )



    [ 02-07-2003: Message edited by: The Hulk ]</p>
  • Reply 11 of 60
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    [quote]Originally posted by superkaratemonkeydeathcar:

    <strong>i agree with satchmo the mental benefits from running are as good as the physical.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    The irony for me is that I suffered from some really deep bouts of clinical depression while I was doing the most exercise I'd ever done. And this after hearing so many people say that exercise is a good antidote for depression!



    It was probably coincidence, but I've been happier (if perhaps a little fuzzier-headed) ever since I slacked off. I find myself wondering if either strange personal biochemistry, or the simple fact of spending so much time motivated by guilt to do something I didn't enjoy, was a contributing factor in my depression.
  • Reply 12 of 60
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    [quote]Originally posted by shetline:

    <strong>



    For me, the hassle of exercise is a frustration in and of itself, not a source of relief from frustrations.



    I'm glad that you have something that works well for you, but what bugs me a lot is how so many people who are into exercise seem utterly oblivious to the concept that other people might react to exercise differently, that other human beings actually might not enjoy "feeling the burn", that others might not get off on competition with another person or get any huge thrill out of beating fitness personal goals.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    True, many take sport too seriously to the point of ridiculing or showing up their opponent.

    I, on the other hand use competition as a way of motivating myself to do better and reaching goals. Often without someone pushing you, you stagnate and fail to improve.
  • Reply 13 of 60
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    [quote]Originally posted by shetline:

    <strong>



    The irony for me is that I suffered from some really deep bouts of clinical depression while I was doing the most exercise I'd ever done. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Meditation is the way to go. I mean, if you're unhappy with yourself then spending the time exercising by yourself isn't going to help I guess. But if you're happy being self-sufficient then you can meditate your way through things.



    Or get an exercise partner.
  • Reply 13 of 60
    rodukroduk Posts: 706member
    I always think you should find something that you enjoy doing, but if there is no form of exercise that you enjoy doing, then don't exercise.



    It's as simple as that.



    Personally I find going to the gym three times a week, doing a mixture of CV and weight work, mentally relaxing. Whatever was on your mind before you started is soon forgotten or put into perspective. I also find attempting to improve your fitness has benefits in other areas of your life, and they feed off each other, helping you to improve your life overall.



    Having said that, if you don't enjoy doing something, there's absolutely no point in doing it. Life's too short.



    Fitness does require a change in lifestyle, but it doesn't have to be a huge change and once you've made it, it becomes the norm. From your post it sounds as if you were exercising several times a week, at home in front of the TV.

    I wonder whether going to a gym just two times a week would be better. It's less time out of your life and being surrounded by other people in a similar situation may encourage you more.



    [ 02-07-2003: Message edited by: RodUK ]</p>
  • Reply 15 of 60
    progmacprogmac Posts: 1,850member
    [quote]Originally posted by RodUK:

    <strong>Having said that, if you don't enjoy doing something, there's absolutely no point in doing it.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I think that sometimes there is a point, like exercising. you might hate to do it but the point of doing it would be to stay healthy.



    Just this week I started going to the rec center. I don't enoy it but hopefully I will after awhile. I'm going to try to continue to do it because it will make me healthier.



    I have also found that occupying yourself will sometimes help tremendously. I took my CD player once and the time flew by. Although it did make me feel like I was dancing on the elliptical machine and not running
  • Reply 16 of 60
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    hulk you putz. i thought you were banned for a week.
  • Reply 17 of 60
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    [quote]Originally posted by bunge:

    <strong>I used to hate exercise, but I trained myself to enjoy it. How? I'm not exactly sure. I think it was in part due to a desire to get in better shape.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I had seven years to learn how to enjoy it. I got good results from my efforts at exercise. I was thin, toned, strong, and felt good about the way I looked. I also felt oh-so-virtuous. But the benefits never made the process of attaining those benefits the slightest bit more appealing to me.



    [quote]<strong>I don't really care about pain, hunger, thirst, tired, etc. so I just learned to ignore the feeling of exercising.



    You can get yourself into a meditative state and just ignore.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    You can. I couldn't -- as much as I would have like to have gotten into that state. I was constantly aware of, well, not pain exactly, but let's call it the "extreme unpleasantness" of fighting against muscles that wanted to stop and rest, the effort to breathe, the sweating, the feeling of too much body heat.



    I think that one thing that made exercise unpleasant for me, and what would sometimes make me feel self-conscious, is that when I exercise I sweat... A LOT. It's funny that often when I've said this to other people they don't get what I'm saying. They want to immediately recast what I've said into something like "Oh, everybody sweats when they exercise." No, that's not the point. I make a point of the issue because the amount of sweating I do is out of the ordinary, well above and beyond what's normal.



    When I ride an exercise bike or use a treadmill, I MUST have a towel with me, and must constantly mop my neck and face or I'd leave puddles -- not little drops or faint sheens of perspiration, but PUDDLES -- on and around the equipment. I am acutely aware of feeling way too hot. The feeling is a wretched feeling, not an invigorating one.



    I can't seem to cool down very fast after this either. Maybe I just have a screwy metabolism. It does me no good to jump into the shower right after a workout -- if I do, I'll still be sweating when I get out. I basically have to, after a so-called "cool down" exercise period of low-intensity exertion, sit still and try not to move for about a half an hour until my body figures out that I don't need to keep sweating any more.



    From a practical standpoint, sweating so much and needing so much cool down time makes fitting exercise into my day take more time -- at least an extra half an hour -- so that I can get dressed, not soak my clothes through, and be able to get on with other activities without beads of sweat rolling off my forehead.



    Exercise was certainly never addictive for me. I got no adrenaline rush out of it whatsoever. I felt no withdrawal symptoms if I missed my exercise -- the only bad thing I felt was guilt. The closest I was able to get to zoning out was to watch TV or listen to music while I worked out. But I was still quite consciously aware of the fact that I was trudging through something I hated doing and that I really, really wanted to be over and done with it.
  • Reply 18 of 60
    Todays exercise is Snow shoveling for many in the Northeast and New England.
  • Reply 19 of 60
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    [quote]Originally posted by MrBillData:

    <strong>Todays exercise is Snow shoveling for many in the Northeast and New England. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Yes, Mother Nature has been making certain that I don't slack off entirely! <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
  • Reply 20 of 60
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Well sweating excessively is gross, I'll give you that. You could try swimming. It's actually one of the best exercises for you and even if you sweat, it's not such a big deal.
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