Enjoy Exercise: 5 Tips for Falling in Love With Fitness

woman giving thumbs up on treadmill
Starting small and setting an intention for each workout can help you enjoy exercise more.

by Mary Lambkin

Stepping into a gym as a newcomer can feel a bit overwhelming. But that first step is the biggest and most important one you'll take toward achieving your goals!

Everyone (and anyone) can feel like they belong in the gym. Following the five workout tips below can help you learn how to enjoy exercise — not feel intimidated by it. We're here to help you stick to your goals and become comfortable in the gym, even if you feel like you don't know where to start!

1. Start Small

A good workout can be as simple as a 15-minute walk on the treadmill or a 10-minute ab routine. Don't over-commit yourself to an hour-long workout if you're new to the gym or simply don't have time in your schedule.

Squeeze in whatever you can — at whatever intensity level is right for you — and remember that something is always better than nothing. As you become more comfortable and confident in the gym, you'll be able to add on a few more minutes or an extra set to each one of your workouts.

2. Appreciate Your "Me" Time

Instead of viewing your workout as a chore or a challenge, appreciate it as an opportunity to fit in some much-needed alone time. Many of us spend all day stressing out about meeting the demands of others and then neglect to meet our own needs as a result! Working out is a way to maintain your own mental and physical health, as well as "unplug" from the rest of the world for a while.

Before you begin a workout, try setting an intention or goal you want to accomplish during your time at the gym — such as overcoming a fear by trying a new piece of equipment or simply enjoying the sensation of feeling your heart rate rise on the treadmill. By focusing on something workout-specific, you can clear your mind of other stresses.

3. Find a Fitness Friend

The gym is definitely a great place to enjoy some "me" time, but on the other hand, having a workout buddy is another rewarding way to enjoy exercise! Gym newbies often love working with a [email protected] trainer because the certified fitness professionals help them learn workout basics and get comfortable using different equipment.

Once you get started, invite a friend to join you for a workout or introduce yourself to another member you've seen around the cardio or strength-training areas. A fitness friend can help hold you accountable and encourage you to push your fitness limits. And, of course, working out is simply more fun with a friend.

4. Bask in the Post-Workout Bliss

Regular exercisers love going to the gym because it's more than just a habit — it's their secret to happiness. Exercise helps reduce depression and is linked to increased happiness. Raising your heart rate, flexing your muscles, and moving your body in new ways could change the way you think and even alter the way your brain creates or modifies its cells.

In return, you might find that you have a more positive attitude at the office or increased patience with your kids. You'll also feel more accomplished when you achieve your workout goals! Enjoy these blissful benefits of working out and remind yourself that they are good reasons to stay consistent with your gym schedule.

5. Celebrate Your Triumphs

It's important to celebrate your workout by treating yourself to a healthy reward, logging your progress in a fitness diary, or sharing your accomplishments with the Planet of Triumphs community. Acknowledging your successes (no matter how small they may seem) can help you stay motivated and allow you to enjoy exercise as part of your journey to a healthier, happier self.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.