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How To Get Exercise When You Hate To Exercise

Updated on September 28, 2012
Dancing is just one form of "fun" aerobic activity for someone who hates to exercise.
Dancing is just one form of "fun" aerobic activity for someone who hates to exercise. | Source

Getting Enough Aerobic Exercise

Everyone's telling us we need to exercise these days. The recommended form of exercise for most of us is aerobic exercise.

You know the kind I mean, the kind that makes your body require oxygen which in turn makes you work out really, really hard.

So what do you do if you happen to hate to exercise? Maybe you just don't like to get all sweaty and out of breath. Or maybe you just rebel against the regimented way that most people approach physical fitness training.

But you still want to exercise and be relatively fit and healthy. What can you do?

There are many ways to get exercise that aren't boring, that will still get your heart rate up and keep you in the aerobic zone. Yet some of these will make you forget that you're actually getting exercise.

The first step towards getting exercise when you hate it in the first place is to get a new mindset. Thinking less about exercising and more about doing something pleasurable instead is a great step in the right direction.

Take a Hike

This is a great way to exercise without even meaning to. It's relatively painless if you start slow. Find a place you've always wanted to see nearby and then go hike to it.

Make sure you take plenty of water, wear appropriate clothing for the weather and take a cell phone. Even take your dog with you - better for you and better for him too. Or take a friend or family. Distractions are always helpful when you're doing something that isn't your first choice.

Start out small and build on your time out in nature. Rather than think of hiking as a form of exercise or something you can't stand, think of it as a wonderful time to enjoy the great outdoors.

Even if you come home with a blister or tired feet, you'll probably be better for the time spent and the refreshed spirit it should give you.

Hikes come in all shapes and forms and can usually be done at any time of year depending on your clothing and resources. Even a snow shoe hike can be an exhilirating trip in winter. Take your camera for added enjoyment and/or distraction.

Or just hike to a friend's house or across town. You'd be amazed at the things we miss while riding in a car or on public transporation to and from places.

In inclement weather, take hikes around the shopping mall. Window shop to your heart's content while simply walking.

Get on a Bike

Just like hiking, riding a bike somewhere new or even somewhere familiar can be a fantastic way to exercise for the person who hates to exercise.

Tons of bike styles are available and even if you haven't ridden much, you'll find it comes back to you once you reacclimate yourself to the mechanics.

Like other forms of activity and exercise, start slow and build on it.

Try riding your bike to work. It's great for the environment, saves gas and makes for a healthier you. You don't have to tell yourself it's a form of exercise. It's really a form of transportation and if you happen to burn some calories or get healthier doing it, that's a bonus.

Riding bikes can be a great family activity and no one has to think about the exercise they're getting.

Make sure you wear appropriate clothing and always wear a helmet, no matter what age you are. Try to ride in areas that are relatively traffic-free for a more enjoyable ride. Try bike trails or bike paths for total enjoyment of the activity.

Dance the Night Away

Another great form of exercise without really exercising is to start dancing.

You can dance at home to music CD's.

Take up tap dancing or learn square dancing.

You can do jazzercise workouts on DVD which are all based on music.

Sign up for a class in belly dancing, line dancing or swing. Take something you've always wanted to learn to dance and have fun with it.

You'll feel better, get in your aerobic exercise and not even know you're exercising.

Dance can be one of the most entertaining ways to exercise because even while you're doing aerobic activity, you're having fun.

Most people who love to dance have a tendency to get into it. They can easily get in a healthy workout all the while enjoying music and probably other people's company.

Take Up a Sport

It's never too old to play a sport. If you've always wanted to play basketball or soccer, no matter what your age is, there are almost always age appropriate groups you can join. For instance, sign up for an over 50's soccer league or softball team.

After you join a league, you can easily increase your aerobic level by practicing. Maybe run drills with other team members or practice the mechanics of the sport on your own.

You can easily hit tennis balls off a wall to improve your swing, work on your timing and your footwork.

Practice dribbling the basketball and trying shots from layups to 3-pointers.

Go to the local high school and practice kicking the soccer ball and doing drills.

If you sign up for a golf league, go to the driving range regularly and hit balls; work the putting green to improve your short game.

Play catch with your husband or one of your kids - or even one of your teammates when you join the company softball team.

You can also learn to ride a horse. This is another way to see new places and be physically active while not technically working out.

Clean Your House

Did you know that you can actually get in a lot of exercise by just cleaning your house? It's true. Here are some great exercise-packed chores anyone can do around your house:

  • Vacuuming - do it fast and get in some aerobics
  • Climbing stairs at a quick pace
  • Lifting things and move them from place to place
  • Scrubbing furiously
  • Mopping
  • Gardening and weeding
  • Digging
  • Chopping wood
  • Painting
  • Stripping wood or furniture
  • Cleaning windows
  • Washing the car

All of these things have physical activity written all over them. Some are more strenuous than others but if performed quickly and repetitively, these are great ways to work out without having to go to the gym.

Here are some more ideas on how to get aerobic exercise at home.

Get Physical and Work Out

Even the person who hates to exercise can participate in an exercise program.

A great way to exercise is to get a Wii and play games instead of exercising. You won't even realize you're working out.

Or you can try some of the suggested great not really exercise ideas above. Also watch the video below for ideas on how to exercise even when you're watching the kids.

You can try a swim aerobics class at your local pool. It might say exercise but it really isn't once you start experiencing the healing properties of water. This is a great way to socialize and to get about 5 times the benefit of regular exercise. Or just plain swimming is a wonderfully relaxing activity and keeps you in shape.

People who hate to exercise find many ways to stay physically fit. Some do it by skipping, kick boxing, jumping rope or doing calisthentics.

Whatever way you like to remain active, that can be your form of exercise. Even if you hate to exercise, having fun and doing something is better than doing nothing.

How do you exercise even if you hate to exercise? Leave a comment and share your thoughts and ideas.

Working Out

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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      CarNoobz...well, hard to argue with those sentiments~

    • CarNoobz profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Dude, I hate to exercise. But I hate vacuuming too LOL

      voted up =)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Johnooo- I agree with you wholeheartedly and makes it seem "more" worthwhile I guess~ Thanks for stopping in.

    • john000 profile image

      John R Wilsdon 

      8 years ago from Superior, Arizona

      It's amazing the sweat you can work up doing housework! Whenever I don't want to do it I tell myself it's good exercise. Somehow that makes it seem a little less boring to me. We all really do need to be careful to make the time to exercise. You feel better when you do it.

      Enjoyed this article.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Cool Lezsaysit - thanks for stopping in~

    • lezsaysit profile image


      8 years ago from New York, NY

      This is very useful and will bookmark it.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Moonlake - can't think of a better way to exercise than chasing butterflies....I am currently on a mission to get a photo this summer of the beautiful monarchs in my yard but they keep flying away - I guess I'll have to start running, too~ Thanks for stopping in.

    • moonlake profile image


      8 years ago from America

      I run butterflies around the yard. I have health problems so I have to be careful how I exercise. My husband was having a fit today because I was in the sun trying to get butterfly pictures. I have a stationary bike and I use that. I'm always cleaning so at least I'm moving around. Voted Up on your hub.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      BJ - Me thinks there is a hub in there somewhere...for you...I actually jog at swim aerobics - it is not fun- but wow - what a buzz~ Good workout if you don't mind getting sweaty - but then if you're in the water - who knows?

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      I know how important exercise is, Audrey, so whenever the weather is accommodating, I swim and walk. Just not simultaneously . . . yet.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Virginia~~ Glad you like!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      8 years ago from United States

      Terrific ideas for making exercise fun! Pinned and voted up.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Gypsy48 for stopping by - indeed when it is so hot, the only thing I look forward to is swim aerobics~ It gives me pause to say many 'ahhhhs'!

    • Gypsy48 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub. I love walking outdoors but this Texas heat keeps me inside. I walk in place or turn on some music and dance. I try not to think of it as exercise but a way of staying flexible and limber :) Voted up and useful.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Sharilee - I find that most things can get boring unless you approach them from a creative angle~ Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Akirchner, I like how you think. I think that the whole idea of "exercise" can get pretty boring, but if you make it a fun part of your lifestyle, it's much easier to maintain. Great hub! Voted up and more.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Sounds good one to get to know....anything that works for us~

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 

      8 years ago from Olney

      Interesting ways to exercise...I don't like exercise but I walk....swim and bike as much as I can.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Lambservant~

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      8 years ago from United States

      Great hub.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Hi Om - I'll have to mention that good idea to Bob~ He tends to watch TV and forgets to go for his walk especially when it's hot out - but he could jog in place. I really like that workout I found in the chair, too...I'll tell him you said to do it~ ha ha! Thanks for stopping in.

      Kristy - definitely motivation is a factor but whatever it takes to get our butts in gear...I know I can find plenty to do so never seem to be at a lack for exercising something though I personally love swimming. I only wish I could do it year round but since we only have an outdoor pool here in town - too bad for me~

    • kissayer profile image

      Kristy Sayer 

      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great hub! It's so true that a lot of people need motivation to exercise and finding ways they enjoy is the only way they will do it!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      8 years ago

      Nice tips, Audrey! Yoga, walking and jogging are my favorite types of exercise. And sometimes when I don't want to go out, I just run in place while watching T.V. in my own living room. I like that you mentioned house cleaning and gardening as ways to stay fit. We really don't need an expensive gym membership to get in shape. Any activity that keeps our bodies moving is good!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Losefat101 - truly you are right on!

    • losefat101 profile image


      8 years ago from Singapore

      An effective exercise regime can be as easy as all the exercises you've mentioned in this hub! And we can do it alternately! Good work! Many will find it is easy to get into a healthy lifestyle from this! =)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Hi Joyce - I know - the heat can be an exercise eraser~ If you happen to come back and read the comment, check out the other exercise article I just did - that one is great for R/A and other joint problems. Of course if it's hot, do it in front of the fan~~~ Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      8 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Great hub, all ideas are good to walk but here it's still way too hot.

      My only choice is to do house work. However my R/A has swollen my fingers right now,so there's not much house work is going on at this moment.

      Voted up,useful and interesting, Joyce


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