7 ways to change your thinking to help you enjoy exercise. Hutton Health

7 ways to change your thinking to help you enjoy exercise

20th March 2023

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Exercise shouldn’t be a dreaded activity that you feel you ‘have’ to fit in. Changing your approach to exercise can be a great place to start to change your mindset and thinking about it.

As a single, full time working Mom, I struggled to fit exercise into my schedule when I had my mind fixed on needing to workout for a set amount of time or at a set place. Now, I see exercise as a valuable pause in my day, where I can take a break from my laptop and technology to enjoy movement outside.

These exercise breaks can be 5 or 10 minutes of walking, but the time is precious and the movement incredibly valuable.

Removing the expectation of exercise specifics (an amount of time, a type of movement, an effort level), allows me to enjoy the short movement sessions that I can fit in to my day.


7 ways to change your thinking about exercise to enjoy it:

1. Exercise as ‘movement’ not ‘minutes’

The World Health Organisation encourages people to get 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.

Exercise doesn’t need to be something to dread, instead it can be a welcome reprieve from the pressures of your day.

Any purposeful movement is good movement; and any movement has a positive impact on your physical and mental health.

Easy wins for ‘movement’ in my day include things like a quick stretch in the short time between meetings or setting a timer to get up and walk to my kitchen for a glass of water each hour through the work day.

Look for small pockets of time during your day where you can enjoy purposeful movement.

1.	Exercise as ‘movement’ not ‘minutes’

2. Exercise does not need to involve pain, sweat, panting and high impact

We have all heard the phrase ‘blood, sweat and tears’ but this is not necessary to reap the many benefits of exercise.

There are many positives to low impact exercise that is not constantly pushing you out of your comfort zone. These benefits include:

  • Helps to avoid injury
  • Helps to make movement and exercise enjoyable
  • It is easier to be consistent with exercise when you aren’t gearing up for a high intensity workout or cardio session each day
  • Easier to find motivation to exercise if you are feeling sluggish if you don’t have pressure to perform at a specific level

Moving your body with gentle activity can help to keep the niggles at bay and your body feeling healthy despite your busy schedule.

2.	Exercise does not need to involve pain, sweat, panting and high impact

3. Exercise can be a short session

Many people strive for ‘longer, heavier, faster’ and focus on performance during their workouts. Removing the pressure to fit a long exercise session into your day makes it easier to find the time and motivation needed to get started.

There is plenty of research that supports doing shorter bouts of exercise more often, such as 3 x 10 minute walks throughout the day, rather than one exercise session.

Hutton Health offers the accountability and motivation of a dedicated coach while delivering a structured program directly to your phone. The live workouts, 4 times each week, are less than 30 minutes and can be done from the comfort of you home and give you the chance to connect with others who are on a similar journey to you. 

3.	Exercise can be a short session

4. Exercise as a key way to connect with your body

When we are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it is easy to stay in this place; to stay under covers on the sofa binging on Netflix. In those moments of mental health struggle, it is important to get out of your head and into your body.

When we are feeling connected to our body, it is easier to make better choices for a healthy lifestyle:

  • choose food that makes us feel good
  • to desire movement that will have a positive effect on our mental health
  • to recognise opportunities when they present themselves
  • to continue consistently moving our bodies

When you connect with your body, you are able to move each day in a way that feels good; that makes your body feel strong and healthy, and that makes you feel positive and confident.

Taking a break from technology to incorporate mindful walking or running can be a great way to connect with your body.

4.	Exercise as a key way to connect with your body

5. Exercise because you ‘get’ to!

Shifting your thinking from ‘having’ to exercise to ‘getting’ to exercise can transform your motivation and enjoyment for exercising.

The first time I attempted to run the London Marathon, I had a niggle in my ankle and foot for the few days leading up to the race. I was confident that I would enjoy the marathon, then take time to rest and recover after I finished.

Within a Kilometre of starting the race, every step felt like someone was hitting my foot within a hammer. By 5 Kilometres in, that hammer was replaced with a sledgehammer. I was hobbling down the road in tears as the amazing people lining the streets encouraged me on and cheered my name.

Rather than coming home with a London Marathon medal, I came home with a broken foot and became well acquainted with an air cast for the next 10 weeks.

This was a huge lesson for me in the privilege of being able to move freely and enjoying exercise because I CAN!

Exercise is not a punishment for over-indulging, for putting on weight, for your jeans fitting snugger than before, or for the camera catching you at an unflattering angle.

5.	Exercise because you ‘get’ to!

6. Exercise is a great way to connect with family and friends

Connecting through movement can strengthen bonds and relationships.

Some of my favourite moments with friends have been out on adventures and exercise sessions; hiking in beautiful places, exploring by bike or foot, running and laughing into a frigid sea or enjoying hours of floating and swimming in warm water.

I have connected with friends over common goals of training for a specific race or walking and putting the world to right. Movement gets the creative juices flowing, so it is a great time to conquer the world together.

I connect with friends and colleagues on the phone when I don't have the time or space to meet in person for a walk. I use my Soundcore earbuds for quality sound while I am walking on the phone.

Movement allows a safe space, where you are not sat looking at each other with no other distractions. This can allow conversations to flow openly and freely.

The shared experience of movement and exercise is a great way to deepen friendships and connection with family.

6.	Exercise is a great way to connect with family and friends

7. Exercise as a way of exploring, adventuring and trying something new

‘The hardest thing to do is leaving your comfort zone. But you have to let go of the life you’re familiar with and take the risk to live the life you dream about.’ T. Arigo

The comfort zone allows you to remain comfortable in the confines of what you know, the places, the physical movements, the people and the routines.

Exercise and movement allow you to step out of your comfort zone to try new things. Perhaps there is a new activity that you can try, such as Stand up paddleboarding (which is gaining huge momentum in popularity), a dance class you have always wanted to take or another new form of exercise.

Walking, running or hiking in various places allows the opportunity to explore and find new trails and routes near you, but also around the globe!

One of my favourite things to do is to travel somewhere new and explore the place by foot. Whether I hop in my car, on a train or a plane, I love the adventure that awaits when I go somewhere new. Booking.com makes it easy to find a safe and reliable place to stay anywhere in the world!

7.	Exercise as a way of exploring, adventuring and trying something new

Changing your thinking about exercise can allow you to find joy in movement and can help to build healthy habits into your day.

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