Fitness Articles

Hate to Exercise? Try These Ideas!

Fresh Fitness Ideas from SparkPeople Members

Are you the type of person who hates to exercise? You're not alone! If your motivation (or creativity) is lacking, try some of these workout ideas from SparkPeople members like you. They're simple, accessible and fun—you'll never dread another workout again!
  • "I used to hate exercise, because I associated it with things that are boring to me, like sports and bike rides and walks. But now I have a stationary bicycle, which is great for me, because I can read while I'm on it. Reading is one of my favorite things to do, and definitely not boring. Now I actually look forward to exercise."
  • "I find it's easier to exercise if there's a purpose to it. I don't run on a treadmill, but I run to the grocery store to buy one small item. I ride my bike if I need to go to a bookstore. I walk to the grocery store if I need to buy something I can't carry while running."
  • "I have always thought of my exercise time as ME time, and I try to treat each session like any other appointment in my day. I don't do it for anyone else's benefit, only my own."
  • "Buy something that makes you feel good about yourself when you workout (a cute top, cool sneakers, etc) and that helps too."
  • "Try coming up with something you really want to do, like a triathlon or road race, and figure out what you need to do to accomplish it. It is a great motivator, and more importantly (I think), your motivation changes. It's no longer about losing a few pounds, but rather accomplishing something much larger."
  • "I used to not like working out—I'm not athletic at all. For me, it was as simple as signing up for exercise classes at my local community college. Once signed up, I felt like I needed to attend. My first class was Zumba, and it was such a blast I signed up for it again this quarter. I also signed up for weight training and water aerobics. It certainly seems to be helping not only my weight but also my disposition."
  • "You don't have to 'exercise.' Just find an activity that you enjoy—maybe dancing? The more you start to move the more you're going to want to move. It may sound silly but it's true. Start small and just add a little more movement each week. Also, weight lifting can be very empowering. You just may like it."
  • "I hate exercising to, so I have to be very creative in what I do. I always do my stair step machine because I can watch television while I am doing that. I usually pick something to watch that really entertains me because it takes my mind off of what the exercise is. Other times I walk my booty off outside. I take different routes each time I walk. That way I have something new to look at while I'm walking."
  • "I thought I hated exercise, but what I really hated was going to the gym, so I don't go. Now I have a couple DVDs that I do in my living room and I do power walks that include these really steep stairs in my neighborhood. On weekends I hike or ride my bike."
  • "You need aerobics and you need strength training. This can be exercise or it can be play. Since you hate exercising, then you need to play. For aerobics, try dancing, skating, sports, playing with the kids, or walking with your best friend while chit-chatting—find something FUN. For strength training, volunteer somewhere you have to lift things, find toddlers you can use as free-weights while playing, or wrestle your spouse for the remote control. You can choose to strength train or you can choose to have osteoporosis. Which do you think is more fun? Consider it insurance for your future."
  • "Working out is the hardest thing that I have to do all day. Try distracting yourself while you workout. I received an iPod shuffle for Christmas and use it every time I work out. If you figure that one song is roughly 4-5 minutes, then in a 30-minute workout, you will have listened to 6-7 songs. Not bad, right? I find music to be a great distraction when I'm working out. Each song takes me to a different place! It's great!!"
  • "I often find it hard to get motivation to go to the gym, but not to go on walks. What I did when I started was only walk outside. I lost 30 lbs in about 3 months, just by walking everyday and eating less."
  • "When I go to the gym, I dread doing cardio machines. So I do 10-15 minutes on three different machines. This way I get my 30 minutes in, but I have small breaks and I feel good. I am not thinking after 5 minutes, '25 more minutes?' I am thinking, 'half way there!'"
  • "Start small and build. I started by getting off the subway train a stop early and walking 10 minutes to get to work. Now I get off three stops early, coming and going for a total of 50 minutes a day."
  • "I used to hate exercise and only did it because I had to in order to lose weight. Then I started trying new things. I discovered that I love yoga. And the most surprising thing is that I like to run! I think once you find something you enjoy, the more you do it, the more you want to do it. I also used to hate exercise because it was hard for me. The more I do, the easier it gets, and the more I like it."
  • "We have to stop thinking about exercise as a nuisance. Our bodies were designed to move! Don't even call it 'exercise.' Just get out and live! I'm at a point now that I can't end the day without doing some sort of meaningful movement, whether it's taking the dogs outside or just 10 minutes on the recumbent bike. It seems like I usually end up doing more than I intend to do and I feel so good afterwards."
  • "I hate exercises too! I use Coach Nicole's video workouts."
  • "I do 'activity' exercises like tennis or rollerblading. Put me on a bike and I'm lucky if I can do 20 minutes, but when it's sport-like I don't even notice that I'm exercising!"
  • "Different things work for different people, so try a bunch of different things. Go to your library and see what they have in the way of fitness DVDs. There are also a bunch of places you can download audio files of workouts to use while walking or doing stuff at home. If you think you might enjoy group exercise classes, check out your local gym. See if they'll let you try it out for a week, or pay as a guest to see if you like it. There are more and more video games that involve activity. If you have a PlayStation 2, there are a bunch of dancing games, fitness programs like Yourself Fitness, and even games that use a little camera (EyeToy Kinetic)."
  • "I started running at age 44 (I could only run for 30 seconds before I had to start walking). Fast-forward 18 months and I now run 5 miles (average) 3-4 times per week. What keeps me going are the constant challenges I take on.—signing up for a 5K run weeks ahead of time, keeps me totally inspired to keep on training. If you need to find a race in your neck of the woods just check out Keep in mind that the majority of these events are run/walks. I have over 25 T-shirts and 8 medals and trophies and I wear and display each one. And the best thing is that I am getting healthier while donating money to many great charities."

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Member Comments

  • I was hoping this article would help. It didn't. It just depressed me because all the ideas reminded me of all the reasons why I don't exercise between November and March.

    Wouldnít use a stationary bike to read. Donít have this at home.
    Donít have a stepper or a recumbent bike at home to watch TV. Need to get a gym to do that. Canít get to the gym in the winter. It's a half hour away on good dry roads.

    Iíd like to walk but itís too cold to walk outside and too far to get to a gym to walk.
    I wouldn't walk, much less run, to the grocery store to run and pick up even just one item, in the cold.

    I treated my workout time like an appointment this past year during the spring and winter and all that did was put me behind on a host of other things. Now Iím paying for it. I'm playing major catch-up!

    I donít need to buy any cute exercise attire.

    I canít afford these 5K races or other weightlifting contests. I did enough to know it's not worth it to me.

    I used to go to a Zumba Studio. It closed. The gym I once was a member took over those classes. But after five years of being bullied there, I left that gym and found another gym I really like that is a half hour away (this was the only gym I could find I liked that I could afford). I havenít been able to find a place close enough that I like that offers Zumba classes at affordable prices by an instructor I like.

    I donít mind going to the gym or working out at home either to DVDs and videos. Bottom line: Just donít have the time to work out now. I wonít drive over a half hour to get to the gym on bad roads or in bad weather.

    Yes, I know I need aerobics and strength training. However, I canít skate, do sports, play tennis or rollerblade. Donít have kids or a friend to play or walk with or do anything fun with.

    Donít know of a volunteer job that requires me to lift things. Nor do I have time for a volunteer job. Iíve got plenty that needs to be done at home and nobody helps me with any of it.

    I usually play and enjoy music when I work out. That makes the ti...
  • I don't hate to exercise but I am limited - often to chair exercises (which I do hate) for safety reasons So many of the ideas require classes, partners, music or fairly pricey equipment. Being deaf I can't take classes and have yet to find an equally committed buddy who can help with balance issues in case I fall - we also have to walk in silence. I do have some tapes I know by heart from when I was able to hear so those I do but for me it's important to GET OUT of the house and engage. That can be a real challenge.
  • There are some who have always loved and enjoyed exercise, not this girl. Who wants to do something that truly shows how out of shape you are? Exercise is work, and it is often hard. However, so is huffing and puffing and struggling to move. I am a firm believer that ANYTHING is possible, when you get out of your own way. Build slowly, I am talking ten minute increments. Heart thumping cardio, yes please! Cardio sculpt, even better. Jump way outside of your comfort zone, you will be amazed where you land. If you asked me two years ago if I would gladly purchase a step, a BOSU, kettle bells, a balance board...what? Did not even know some of these existed, now they are used regularly and show how far I have come. Exercise your strong, find your fit...powerful things to learn about oneself!
  • I really like to read positive messages about the way others exercise. I have enjoyed the SPARK program because of the variety of workout videos they offer and all the challenges they have. I regularly do five challenges a day and incorporate at least one 45 minute cardio and strength training workout each day. I look forward to planning my workouts each day!
  • I started dog walking. Not only does it motivate me to walk every day, I get paid for it.
  • Don't forget gardening, raking leaves, swimming, canoeing/kayaking
    , or even plain old housework, if you put it in high gear!
  • BAUMAN147
    I listen to audiobooks on my mp3. I can listen while I'm walking or running outside, on the elliptical or treadmill (or stationary bike), stretching and lifting weights.

    A good book will keep me distracted from how much further I need to go on days when I'm not "feeling it" and when I'm done working out, I am more likely to go on to do other "active" activities (yard work, housework, etc) instead of just sitting down.
  • I walk to the library downtown (about a 15-20 walk) to attend a knitting group once a week. I get to knit and chat for a couple of hours before having to tackle the uphill walk home (about half the distance). I try to walk to appointments downtown when I can as well and park my car further away when I do drive.. Lately I have been jumping on the treadmill first thing in the morning and using music to keep me moving and motivated. I also have a stationary bike but find it very uncomfortable or I would use it an get some reading done. Maybe I'll get there eventually when my fitness level increases!
  • I liked the comment about exercise with a purpose. Walking to accomplish errands, reading while peddling, linking watching TV and listening to music with movement - really made sense to me. Also breaking your exercise up into several small intervals throughout the day. Five or ten minutes of exercise after sitting at a computer for a couple of hours seems more like a reward than a burden. Great article and challenge.
  • wow, I did not think to read while on the stationary bike. I am so excited to try it. I know alot of people think they don't have time to exercise but I read an interesting quote from a doctor to his complaining busy patient. "You think you don't have time now? Wait til the health complications start. Do you have time for an early death?" It spoke truth to me. I kept putting off taking care of me and now I will pay the price for that choice. I am taking the time now to make my life better in ways it counts and that means less "stuff" and more relationship time with my family in healthy ways.
  • I don't hate the exercise itself, but I do hate the time it takes out of my life. Recent research shows that for effective weight loss and maintenance you need to do at least 300-350 minutes a week. With two "rest" days, that's 70 minutes a day. I have a job, I am in a band, and I run a sewing/crafting business on the side. I also like to read, game, and occasionally I like to find time to clean my house (LOL). At 70 minutes a day, I usually have to sacrifice two or more of these things (usually the things that I do "just for me") and I find myself thinking about all the other things I would be spending my time on if I didn't have to exercise. This is distracting and I find that I don't work out as hard as I should. It is also very hard to stick to this much exercise in the long run. YES, I always start out slowly with just a few minutes per day, but eventually I reach a point where I feel like all I do is work, sleep, and exercise. This gets old. I never regret working out and I always feel great afterwards, but that doesn't change the fact that whenever I am in my workout room getting ready for another 40 minute workout I feel like I was just there doing that same thing; like I just got done working out, yet here I am again! Does anyone else have this problem?
  • I do not hate exercise, but have never been the "athletic" type. More of a "klutz" who never really fit in organized teams, games, etc. Actually, I find that my body and spirit really CRAVE exercise and love it !
    Found out I really love walking! Was doing that outside for a number of years till we moved to an area with no leash laws, where a dog thinks the whole neighborhood is his territory and is somewhat threatening. Now I only do neighborhood walks with my husband.
    On the other hand, DVDs and free online choices have helped me a lot and are my primary go tos. Found out, too, that I need a lot of diversity in even 1 week. Can be doing some NYC Ballet workout, Leslie Sansone, Denise Austin, Richard Simmons, Spark videos, etc in a period of 1 - 2 weeks - balancing low impact exercise, aerobic, strength training, some yoga.
  • I have excuses for everything. Walking to any store would be a 20+ mile hike for me. Walking in my "neighborhood" is dangerous with a narrow road, dogs and the occasional log truck whizzing by (they aren't supposed to be on our road!) I can't read when on a treadmill or ebike, I've tried. Playing with the kids is out, my kids are grown, no grands, a new pair of shoes! I did that, love 'em! wore them once so far. Do something you love: I love reading, writing, drawing, creating... can't do those while being active. I do watch tv when on the treadmill sometimes, but still ugh. Dancing I love, only when I'm alone and no one is at home, which lately is NEVER. hahaha. excuse after excuse. truth is I just need to suck it up and do it. I do think I'd like an elliptical machine. :)
    I hate to workout in the house but love to take my puppy for a walk or walk/run. She makes it very enjoyable because her joy of the adventure is infectious. Since I've been limited with my ankle surgery she often comes up and whines and I know she wants me to take her. The kids will take her out, so she still gets her workout and breath of fresh air but my mood is really dampened by my imposed sentence to the house, LOL.
  • "Find an activity you like". The activities I like to do are reading, singing and playing the piano. I don't think those would qualify as exercise.
    I exercise simply because I have to, not because I like to. Walking for longer than about 15-20 is out of the question since I have a bad back. The recumbent bike is the main cardio and it's about as boring as it can possibly be, and I can't read while exercising. I literally count down the minutes until I'm finished.

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