How to Find an Exercise You Love and Can Stick With

Are you stuck in a rut and don’t feel like exercising? I’m right there with you! I love to walk, but this winter I’ve just wanted to hole up in my house and not go anywhere! But I know reading all the advice available on exercising is no substitute for actually exercising.

If you find yourself reluctant to exercise because it seems too hard or not fun or just plain embarrassing, you may want to rethink your exercise strategy. When you find an exercise  you love and look forward to, you’ll find yourself exercising more and without having to rely on willpower to do it.

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Let’s start with a basic concept first: what does exercise mean? The definition of exercise is bodily exertion; especially for the improvement of health. As long you get moving, and keep moving consistently in a way that improves some aspect of your health, then you’re exercising. Several studies have even said that you don’t have to get your exercise in all at once. Even walking 10 minutes here and then 10 minutes there can make a difference!

Have you ever wanted to learn how to dance but didn’t want to be seen in public trying? Rent a few dance videos from your local library or video store and start practicing in the privacy of your own living room. There are even video games that make the dancing as the way to win the game. Polka, two-step or disco your way to better health!

Like music? Instead of sitting down and listening to it, imagine yourself conducting an orchestra while you stand. Do it vigorously enough and it will raise your heart rate. Walk in place while conducting to add a lower body workout. Prefer rock and roll to Ravel? Then play the (air) drums!

Fond of the water but not a great swimmer? Try walking or jogging while in the pool. It’s a great cardiovascular workout that’s easy on the joints. You can still throw in the occasional doggy paddle just to mix things up!

Would you rather read than do anything else? Try a stationery bicycle or a treadmill. You can read or listen to audio books while you ride or walk.

Is shopping your thing? Then promise yourself to walk a couple of laps around the mall before stopping for the sale at your favorite store. Or walk a flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator.

If you would rather spend more time with your TV than with your exercise equipment, simply walk in place during the shows you watch. Take a break during the commercials. Keep at it and you’ll find yourself with more energy, better quality of sleep and an overall improved sense of well-being.

If you keep in mind the goal of exercise is to move consistently in an activity that you like, you’ll find yourself ‘exercising’ more often than you thought possible, and sticking with it longer than you ever imagined.

As for me, I’ve finally given up on being able to walk outside… at least for this month! I’ve bought a couple of “walking” workout DVDs and I’m going to see how those work out for me. (Pardon the pun!)


This article is a series of health-focused posts as I work my way back to living healthy. Join me in my quest.



  1. A good post!

    You have hit the nail on the head when you talk about finding ways of keeping fit that we enjoy. Keeping fit and healthy is something that I feel strongly about and too many people think that getting fit or maintaining a good level of fitness is about hitting the gym or taking up running; but it’s not!

    Like you said people just need to move more, our body is designed to move and not to stagnate. As we age we lose muscle tone, so exercising is important if we want to be relatively fit and healthy in old age.

    My Mum is is her mid sixties and is active although she doesn’t really exercise as such, so for Christmas I got her a weighted hula hoop and she loves it, now she does ten minutes each way every other day. Although at first she could only do a minute each way – practice makes perfect! Hula hooping is ideal as it is low impact, but great for core strength and flexibility.

    There are forms of exercise for everyone, it’ just about finding what suits us and what we enjoy enough to be able to keep at it regularly.

    1. I’ve never even heard of a weighted hula hoop before. What fun! (And a seriously great idea.)

      1. You can buy them from Amazon. The one I got Mum weighs 1kg, but they do go up to 2 kg and do cause bruises until you get used to using it.

  2. Hi Jennifer! Popping over from Mom’s Small Victories! So appreciate your sound and doable advice. I try to make a point of doing something athletic at least one hour at least six days a week and it really makes a difference to the physical and mental well being. I try to vary it each day with either running, walking, Zumba, hot yoga, weights, cycling etc. I find doing what you enjoy and creating variety seems to be the motivator! Thanks again, Thea

    1. Thanks, Thea. And BTW — I like the idea of small victories. Isn’t that what life is made up of anyway? 🙂

  3. I’ve decided that once the weather breaks I’m going to “learn” how to run. I’ve never been a runner, but for some reason it sounds so freeing to me!!

    1. I tried that but it didn’t stick for me…. I do have friends that got hooked though. Just a tip… Runner’s Magazine has an easy program to help you learn how to get up to running for 30 minutes straight. It’s a great intro you can find on their site.

  4. Yes, I agree! I love, love running, and I stick with a running schedule because I love it so much. I’ve also started setting myself goals. I’m training to do a 10 mile race in May which inspires me to keep out the door every week.

  5. Thank you for sharing this post on the #smallvictoriessunday linky. I enjoy exercising; it makes me feel better and gives me confidence. I hope your creative exercising options will encourage those weary about working out.

    1. Thanks, Rachel. I’ve just got to keep on encouraging myself! 🙂

  6. Karen Sargent says:

    I totally agree with this post! I’ve tried doing things I’ve hated and I just can’t stick with them. I think that there can be pressure to just work out, no matter what, with no consideration if a person may like the workout or not. I think even in our heath, doing what we love should matter the most!

      1. Karen Sargent says:

        I’m really into “dance-y” workouts like Zumba, and I also like doing walking workouts on youtube. As long as it’s not too high-intensity and doesn’t really feel like working out, I can enjoy it!

        1. I keep hearing about Zumba. Now I think I really do need to check it out. Do you have a particular person I should check out whose workouts you like?

          1. Karen Sargent says:

            Zumba is great, but is hard to find online so I’d suggest trying to find a class if you’re interested! It’s so fun and it’s pretty easy to do. It always makes me happy when I’m done 🙂 I really like the Leslie Sansone walking workouts (there’s no specific youtube channel) and also Jessica Smith TV on youtube and on her website, She’s wonderful and I really can’t rave enough about her – she has workouts for all different levels, doesn’t shame the viewer if they can’t keep up or need to take a break, and she provides really educational info 🙂 I would definitely recommend her to you!

          2. Awesome tips, Karen. I’m definitely going to check these out next week 🙂

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