Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Hate Exercise


I hate exercise. Okay, so that's not totally true. What I really hate is doing some exercise that I don't find fun just for the sake of exercise. Like running. I only run on the odd occasion that there doesn't seem like a good option otherwise or someone I know is running and I get some strange urge to join them. The last time I ran was not long ago on our beach trip with my friend, Alan. He's a pretty dang good triathlete, so he runs and bikes and swims a lot. He's also a really talented athlete in general, excelling in not only triathlons but in basketball, softball, and probably other sports I haven't seen him do.


Alan and I ran four miles, only stopping a couple times to walk (which was for my sake, not his). That's because I felt the urge to run a pretty decent pace, even though Alan would have probably run any pace I wanted. Alan's a good exercise partner that way. But here's the thing...other than some good conversation and some small amount of getting to address my curiosity on how I might stack up against Alan on a four mile run (like I didn't already know!), I pretty much hated it.

Other than to get some general exercise and to not embarrass myself, I had no real goal. I wasn't training for any sport that required me to be able to run far. I'm not particularly dying to lose weight, though I certainly could stand to (particularly when I didn't do much else in the way of cardio for those three weeks at the beach, and I did have a lot of, err, sweet drinks). So all I could think about is "why am I doing this?"

When I lift weights, I do it with a trainer and have a higher purpose. That is to be a better general athlete. Huh? Yeah, I know, that's not a very specific goal and doesn't seem to better address my hatred of exercise without a goal any better than running with a friend. But somehow it does to me...I honestly believe that I'll be a better basketball player, softball player, mountain biker, etc, if I lift weights with a trainer who is good at what he does (and he is!). And I'll be able to do it LONGER, which is very important to me since I have two young boys growing up fast that I want to be able to beat at sports for as long as I can (won't be much longer, though!).

What the heck inspired all this rambling? Alisa's blog about exercise and her hatred of some forms of it. I think we all need a goal for it that we really want to accomplish to be able to plug through an exercise that we don't really like. Like, I really think that if I found myself really wanting to do a triathlon (hah!), I could actually get into running again. But until then, I have no need for being able to run really far without stopping and I don't enjoy it, so I'm not going to do it. What I am going to do is keep lifting weights. I don't hate it, but I don't enjoy it, that's for sure. (The weightlifting itself, I mean. I do sort of enjoy hanging out where I work out and talking to my trainer, but that by itself probably wouldn't be enough to keep me doing it if I didn't have a higher goal.)

I do love to mountain bike. I don't care for it just as exercise so much, but I love the challenge of conquering the technical aspects of it. I never minded taking a break so that I was "fresh" for the next set of obstacles, though. But lately I've been biking with a group that is in a lot better biking shape than me and they don't need or care to take breaks. So I've had to suck it up and work harder than I'd like, which sometimes means I don't enjoy my rides as much as I would at my own pace. So why do I continue to do it? Well, because I like those guys and I enjoy riding with those guys, and I know there's no reason why I can't be in that kind of shape to keep up with them other than getting it done. So I decided to work harder and get better. It's happening slowly, and I'm glad they've been patient enough to hang back for me when I've been the "anchor." The key, though, is that I still have the "fun" goal out there. I do enjoy even the hard rides, and I know that once I get over the "in shape" hump that I'll enjoy them even more.

So fun can be really helpful in encouraging continued exercise. That means the key for anyone wanting to exercise more but finding it difficult to get motivated is to find things that are both fun and get you the exercise you need. Like Alisa with the swimming thing. Like me with the biking and weightlifting and basketball thing (I play organized basketball whenever I can as that's the most fun exercise to me, but that can be harder to find sometimes).


One of Nike's biggest ad campaigns was "Just Do It." It's simple, but not entirely effective. I like "Make it fun." Nike probably wouldn't find that nearly as cool, though.

10 comments:

jeepmama said...

I like the "so I can still whoop-up on my kids in sports" motivation. Of course, that's assuming one can already whoop-up on their kids in sports, unlike me...

I could probably kick their but in step-aerobics, though.

Lis said...

I like this idea of goals other than running. Running is the easiest sport to quantify - time, distance, done. But I do like the idea of having each form of exercise that you can stand have a goal attached. I need to think more on that.

Donnie Barnes said...

I guess the reason I barely talked about basketball in the post is that the "goal" of that is obvious...winning. Any exercise you can get playing a game against other folks has the most obvious goal. But if you can't do that, then I think it definitely becomes harder...

jander1130 said...

but you really need to try pilates...

Lima Bean said...

You could totally do a sprint triathlon--the best thing about that distance is that if you can already run 3 miles, you don't have to train for the running much at all--just the swimming and the biking and the endurance. Last year I did a triathlon and it was one of my best accomplishments yet.

Now if only I could get into shape like I was last year just before the race. It's a difficult level of training to keep up--but fun while you're doing it. Maybe you and Alisa could set a goal to both do one. .She already loves to swim, you already love to bike and obviously you can already run 3 miles.

Donnie Barnes said...

I'll do it if she will! For sure!

Lima Bean said...

Alisa, did you read that? Are you in? You could set a goal for next summer. You can totally do it!

Donnie Barnes said...

I forgot one little detail...I won't do a traditional triathlon on the road. I have huge philosophical problems with road riding (which I've posted about here). So I would only consider an "adventure" triathlon, which is mountain biking and trail running. I don't own a road bike and likely never will. But Alisa can mtn bike. :-)

song said...
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song said...

Its very important to find something you love doing to exercise. If you do an exercise you hate how will you get motivated? Great article and if you plan on taking exercising seriously I invite you to check out this website