Poll: Would You Exercise if You Didn't Think You Had To?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I'm one of those crazy people who likes to exercise. Running is my "drug" of choice, and when I've had a hard day, it makes me feel better and relieves my stress. I can't say that every run is enjoyable, but for the most part, it's free time that allows me to clear my head. The sense of accomplishment I feel afterward (whether my run was 30 minutes or 3 hours long) is enough to keep me addicted.

Exercise has been an easy way to help me control my weight. Don't get me wrong- I'll still see the scale moving in the wrong direction if I've been eating too many of my favorite cookies. In addition to the positive health benefits (like a healthy heart, low blood pressure and low cholesterol) it's something I like to do. But I know that not everyone shares my same feelings. Some people only exercise because their doctor says they have to, or because they are trying to fit into that tiny black dress for their high school reunion. No matter what kind of activity they try, exercise is a chore more than anything else.

I always encourage people to find something they like doing, if at all possible. If you hate to walk on the treadmill but can tolerate a 30 minute ride on the stationary bike, that's a better way to spend your energy. You're more likely to stick with it if you don't dread it. But even if you can find something you'll tolerate doing, there are lots of people who just don't like to exercise. They'd much prefer to spend time reading a good book or going to a movie with friends. I love those things too, but I'd still make time for exercise even if I didn't have to.

If someone told you that you never had to exercise again (and you'd be in perfect health regardless of what you do) would you stop? Would you be okay with never having those feelings of physical accomplishment again? Would you be happy finding other ways to challenge yourself, or do you think that eventually, you'd want to return to an active lifestyle?

Would you still exercise regularly if you didn't have to?

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I would keep exercising. Helps me feel strong, relieves depression, & makes me calmer, kinder & a lot more patient. I just like how I feel after. Report
I would definitely exercise if I didn't have to - NOW. A few years ago... probably not. Report
Yes I Would still Exercise...if I didn't think I had to! Report
No way!!! If I didn't have to excerise I wouldn't. Its no fun sweating, barely breathing, aching, and feeling like you're about to pass out. Who enjoys that? I agree with the person who wants to know what high. When I'm done all I want to do is shower and go to sleep. I'm exhausted. Nothing about it feels good. If I could have the body of my dreams without excercising, I wouldn't go so far as to lift my finger. I'd say sign me up for that. Report
Even if I don't feel like doing it I try to push through at least 30 minutes, the feeling afterward is soooo worth it. Report
NO, No, no! I have always disliked exercise. I feel uncomfortable and find absoutely no pleasure in the experience. After exercise, I am always tired and want to sleep the rest of the day. The place where I exercise is beautiful, the folks friendly, the class offerings interesting and the best place I have ever been in to exercise. I just do NOT like exercise but I do it because I must in order to stay healthy and at a good weight. You asked so I answered truthfully. Report
Yes, absolutely. I love the feeling of well being after a good workout. I also love how strong and capable I feel when I've pushed myself beyond my "limits". I've never been happier than when I'm consitently getting my exercise in, and never more snappish and grumpy than when I start letting exercise slide. Report
Exercise is the worst 30 minutes of my day - I would definitely not do it if I didn't have to. Of course, I wouldn't clean, either.... BTW, what is that "high" that people talk about? I SO don't know what that's about, and am jealous of those that do! Report
I think I probably wouldn't, but it's completely silly because I know that there are so many health/emotional benefits that really exist regardless of what this poll may be asking me to imply. Report
If I could exercise without sweating, I'd probably enjoy it more. Otherwise, forget it. Report
NO - I would do a lot more reading and homework and house cleaning - a whole lot less treadmill - I will say that I read on the treadmill which may be the only reason I go to the gym so I get an hour of reading in - otherwise I have so much else to do - I have no free time to do what I like - reading. Report
I've exercised all my life and can't say I ever "enjoyed" it when it was called exercise: aerobics class, swimming, etc.

But when I thought of it as "fun", I loved it: line dancing, hiking, canoeing, etc. Report
I have a love/hate relationship with excerising! I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from doing something good for myself. I have finished hundreds of 5ks, a handful of half-marathons, and 2 marathons. However, I still have to force myself to get out there and go. I don't enjoy it all the time during the actual thing, but always afterwards! :) I can tell a difference in my attitude when I keep on track compared to when I don't. I totally agree with those studies that encourage daily excercise for mood health. Report
I like exercising. I do 5 times a week and the only reason I don't exercise for the other two days is because I have to. I read that you need to give your body a rest and over-exercising can actually be harmful to your body. This morning I did not exercise and I tried hard to resist that temptation to turn on my dvd and do hip-hop abs! But I won (I only wiggled for 5 mins to another simple dance exercise dvd, just can't help it!) Report
Exercising is a habit that I couldn't just give up without a fight. I did a 10 mile trail run a couple of weeks ago and I loved the feeling when I finished and they announced my name. I wouldn't have even dreamed of doing the run a couple of years ago and now I can't wait until I can do it again. I love this quote that I read in a running magazine, but I think it could describe any exercise: "In our busy days of constant information the body reclines while the mind is in overdrive; then you go for a run. Stress comes to the body while the mind reclines and life can be seen as it is. How can you not do something so healthy?" – Ben Woodbeck (Trail Runner Magazine, June 2011, “Pacing Diana”) Report
Cycling is the only activity that I enjoy enough to do just for its own sake. My other activities: resistance training, and cardio machines at the gym I only do for the results. Report
I love exercising now. It gives me 1. a sense of accomplishment that I have done something great for myself and 2. I get an endorphin rush, but I think the question is asking what if I didn't have to exercise to reap these benefits? I would still be healthy and feel good with my body, because I would be fit all the time. Cool, I would have so much more time to play. I could actually go dancing with friends or ride a bike, just for fun and not feel pressured to make it into exercise all the time. I usually feel like I have to "get my exercise in" somehow. So, sure, if I didn't have to exercise, I would take the chance.

rumbamel Report
I would definitely stick with things like Ultimate Frisbee, swimming, and biking, but I'm not sure I'd be out running hills at 6 in the morning... Report
Interesting question! Previously I would have taken the good health with no exercise but nowadays I would say I would still do the exercise. I like the feeling I get after doing a good workout and enjoy trying and learning new things. It depends each day as well. Normally I'm happy to work out and think of new ways to sweat it out but right now I'm spent from lifting weights and although I need to do more cardio today, I feel too tired at the moment! I read somewhere from another person's blog that they believed you had to 'earn it to deserve it' and I think this is such a great idea. Some people may wish to have a great body but only give a half hearted go at the gym (like those who seem to exercise on bike machines while reading - how do they do it? They don't because they aren't pedalling hard enough!). If we want to get fit, lose fat, etc, we need to work at it to get it. There is no magic pill or sudden wave of the wand and that is why I believe we have to earn it to deserve it! If we got everything easily, we would never appreciate it as much as if it was worked for. Report
I would probably like it more if I could breathe while I worked out. I have such a hard time sometimes and my face turns bright red with every work out I do. Maybe once I lose some of this weight it will get better Report
1- You dont actually have to exercise to lose weight. Instead of spending an hour burning 500 calories, you can just spend 5 less minues eating to do the same.
2- You do need to exercise to be strong and swole and obviously this takes precedence over all else. Thus, exercise is a must. Report
I said yes because I really enjoy the way I feel after I workout. I would walk and dance and Zumba because I enjoy them sooo much. Report
No. I have always been 'he hill.endomorphic challanged' and would like to enjoy an active lifestyle but I would prefer climbing a hill over half an hour on a treadmill if I could, with a good Library in the top of the hill. Report
NO! i'd rather exercise my tongue and my mindthan any other part of my body. but physical exercise is certainly worth the effort. Report
lol... no way- no how! lol I don't enjoy it.....I am an active person but making a point to do something just because it's exercise and I need exercise.....I find no enjoyment in that. I have many other activities I'd rather spend my free time doing. Report
I had gastric bypass a few years back and it is necessary for me the rest of my life. Report
I would still exercise no matter what. I have always had to walk since I don't have a car and it has become a habit. I walk to the library and to coffee so its no problem. Report
I'd still walk my dog and walk for fun...... but I'd give up all the gym equipment workouts and dvd workouts....... I'd rather just spend the time with my dogs Report
I'd still go hiking and dancing and other fun stuff. If I didn't have to exercise, though, I'd probably never pick up a dumbell again. If I didn't have to exercise, I'd still get in some physical activity, but I wouldn't be scheduling time to do X amount everyday. I wouldn't track minutes and calories burned. I'd go do physical things when I wanted to, and if I didn't want to I wouldn't force myself to anyway. If I felt like reading a book instead of going for a walk, you can bet I'd read the book. Report
I love the way exercising makes me feel! I would definitely continue to exercise. Report
LOVE exercising - so YES! Report
There are lots of more enjoyable ways I would spend my time. Reading and photography especially. Two activities that don't really mesh with exercise. Look at all the time spent exercising which could be spent in more enjoyably with your kids or family. Report
NO. Just like Jack LaLanne, the Godfather of Fitness use to say "I hate to exercise, but I love the benefits." If there were no "benefits" like him living to age 96 with no mental issues & healthy up until a week before he died, he wouldn't have done exercise either. Report
A good walk clears my mind and makes me feel happier. I would continue to exercise. I wish I could eat anything I wanted and not have to think about getting larger and becoming ill. Report
Although my aging body with its many medical problems will not always allow me to do the exercise I enjoy. I love to exercise. Even if I were younger and in the best of shape, knowing what I know now I would definately exercise daily. I always feel great after a good workout, regardless of what it is I am doing, cardio or strenght training. Report
I don't know quite how to answer this. I've done yoga off and on for 4 decades and still do a routine modified to accommodate my physical problems. I do like working out with dumbbells, but don't always have the time. I like to walk, but only when I am going somewhere. I can't just go for a walk, but today walked 20 minutes to a thrift store to get stuff for my grandkids and walked 20 minutes (briskly) back home with a tote bag crammed full. I do physical therapy exercises daily because of my physical problems. I would like to be healthier, so I am adding more cardio, such as getting off the bus a few stops early to finish walking briskly to my destination when possible. But I will never be a runner, go to a gym, or purchase exercise equipment such as a treadmill. I don't know about "have to": if I don't do certain exercises, I have more pain and less mobility all day, so it just makes sense to at least do that 20-minute routine and longer when I have the time and if I am not in a pain flare-up. My chiropractor hired a personal trainer in her practice, so when I had acute sciatica, I asked him for exercises, and since I started doing those 3 simple ones daily, I have not had an acute episode - 7 months. Report
I would still go swimming... sauna... treading water... dopamine Report
I would never "workout" if I didn't have to. Report
I would, because to me exercise has pretty much nothing to do with weight loss. I do it because it makes me feel good. I hate how I feel when I don't work out. Report
Like any other human being on the planet, I prefer doing things that are fun, meaningful to me and enjoyable. Let's face it, exercise falls under the heading of "work" and is more of a commitment in my day than something I "love" to do. Having said that, however, during those times when I've had to skip working out, I miss it! Report
I love working out,I feel so good when I do,even at my age,we all need to save our muscles,I go alot of stretching,walking,or treadmill,bikeing and hand wieghts,and the out doors is so great,freash air and sunshine!!!!! Report
Probably not, as far as the 'exercise bike/workout videos' type. Playing tennis with my kids and biking outside, I would do because it is fun! Report
Definitely! My back and neck-depends on it! I feel so much better when I exercise. Report
Yes! It nearly killed me when I had to give up running,roller blading ect.(no ACL,RA,OA),but I will keep on & if I can ever get better pain control I will
do more! Report
Hell yeah, when the chiropactor says the medication receipt is strength training.. I listen, I thank him for weaning my self off a 1200 mg ibumetin abuse daily for having weak muscles..
Efter seeing yoga and pilates people suffer brittle bones, waste of time exercise.. Lift iron, muscle won't break down as fast if you keep using it as long as possible... Joints hurt less if we get the weight off and it can postpone needing new joints too.. Man made don't last or work as good as the real deal.. Report
I don't love to exercise, and I believe I am part of the majority. I enjoy that work out high and I am proud that I have been able to stick to a routine of regular workouts and have seen results, but if I didn't have to do it I would likely not. I love rockwall climbing, tennis, bike riding and I certainly would do those things no matter what. Report
I love riding my bicycle, I get a good workout while enjoying the great outdoors. I also enjoy spinning classes, when I am done I feel fantastic, as for strength training, I would still do it, I am starting to see some results and loving it. Report
I would never have exercised if I didn't feel I had to. But now that I do exercise I like the way I feel. When I don't workout after awhile I start to hate the soft and mushy way my body feels and I go back to it. Report
I LOOOOVE working out and can't imagine giving it up for anything. The sense of accomplishment I feel after tackling a new hiking trail, biking at a faster speed, or running to a greater distance is far greater than the "joy" of sitting around. I am who I am because I love to be active! Report
If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I'd never exercise again.......not today. I love the feeling I get from walking, running and hiking. Even strength training. It keeps me centered Report
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