Are You Having Fun When You Exercise?

Do You Enjoy Exercise?

July 29, 2014   21 Comments

Exercise can be a chore. I find that it can hurt and make me uncomfortable.

Also, many of us pay money for gym memberships or classes because we want instruction and motivation. Spending money on a chore doesn’t seem like much fun.

Some of us (I am not going to point fingers here) might even have an ice cream sundae as a reward for completing our exercise chore – or chocolate pudding or soda.

In a recent study on exercise, researchers asked the question, “Do people eat more junk food if they do boring exercise?”.

They gave one set of people an MP3 player with hopping music and told them to take a quick walk and enjoy themselves (fun group). They told another group to take the same walk and make sure that they got some exercise (chore group).

Then the researchers gave them lunch and carefully watched and measured what they ate.

Are you ready?

The chore group ate 42% more of chocolate pudding and Coca-Cola than the fun group. See: Fun or Exercise?


What does this mean for you? If you perceive exercise as a chore, you may be undermining your weight loss efforts.

Not only do you have to get some physical activity, but you need to BELIEVE you are having fun doing it.

Which brings me to my story of my gym membership. I thoroughly enjoyed my gym when I started. I went two–three times per week and looked forward to my “Boot Camp” workouts (because I have a screw loose).

After about 18 months, I noticed that I started to feel ambivalent about the workout. Burpees, push-ups, and crunches felt like……….work!

Oh dear.

So I quit and joined another gym where I am now suspended from the ceiling twice a week on something called a TRX.

Not only that, but a friend of mine asked me to join her in PLAYING Ultimate on Monday nights and I bought a pair of cleats and joined her. (In case you don’t know, Ultimate is a sport like Frisbee football.)

Playing!!! Playing is key. With work, family, and chores we have so little time for fun. Why not make the time you have for physical activity as fun as you can make it?

Fun = eating less! How cool is that?

Do you find exercise fun? Why do you enjoy it?

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First 20 Comments: [ see all 21 ]

What an interesting study! I can relate though. I used to ONLY run, and many times during my run I would think about what I would eat when the run was over. Now, I swim, bike, and lift weights too. However, I can't say that I "play." Now I have a new goal! Thanks Lisa! :)

on July 29, 2014

Perfect timing! I was on my way to the gym when I read this and was not particularly motivated about working out. Now I'm thinking I'll pump up some music and call it a play-out instead (I didn't coin the phrase, first heard it from Bliss Mistress, Edie Weinstein). Blessings.

on July 29, 2014

I only do fun exercise! I do 5 water aerobic classes per week with a wonderful group at the local Y. We're a chatty, friendly group of seniors, but we get the "job" done! Then, every Friday morning I take a beach walk with my dear friend, Linn. All great fun! This routine and Weight Watchers has helped me lose 95 pounds in 2 years. My retirement gift to myself is better health!

on July 29, 2014

Way to go, Susan! Such an inspiration!

on July 29, 2014

Thanks for finding such an interesting way to share this information! I can't wait to share it with all my weight management clients.

on July 29, 2014

Jazzercise! Most fun ever. It is a group of the friendliest people of all ages who move at their own level to great music in a space with NO mirrors. Where else do you get the opportunity to shimmy on a regular basis? What's not to like about that?

on July 29, 2014

Like your mother always said -- "go outside and play"
Studies by researchers in England and Sweden have found that joggers who exercise in a natural green setting with trees, foliage and landscape views, feel more restored, and less anxious, angry and depressed than those runners who burn the same amount of calories in gyms or other urban settings.

on July 29, 2014

I enjoy exercise all around. In losing 86lbs I have not only become a gym junkie who loves the burn. I also have become certified in spinning and working on becoming a personal trainer this fall. This is a very interesting read you have given. Not sure about the test though, sounds a little far fetched that the chore ate 42% more.

on July 29, 2014

ZUMBA! Join The Party! Feel The Mu'z'ic!:)
Exercise in disguise! Most fun and smiles ever!
Come Join The Party and dance like nobody is watching you! Have FUN!:) No Worries!:)

on July 29, 2014

As for the study.... some people react stupid where there is free food..and then add " I deserve it"...It could make for an interesting study. I am 65 and love walking and do several 5K's a year. I also work out with weights at home. After all these years I have found that if you aren't motivated within yourself it doesn't matter if you belong to a gym, take part in a study, or have a thousand dollar piece of equipment in your bedroom to hang clothes on. Learn to move in a way your love and think of as fun. Walking and weight lifting is just that for me. OH! Also the right music to do it by.

on July 29, 2014

Due to issues with my back and knees, I do water aerobics 3 days a week at my local YMCA. I have an awesome instructor and a group of participants that make the 50
minute workout sessions a fun experience. By eating less and moving more, I have shed 72 pounds since I started doing water aerobics last August. Here's to having FUN while you're exercising!

on July 29, 2014

I always make sure that I have fun because if it's not fun, I can't stick with it, I end up losing interest 2 months in. So I my choice of exercise is Ariel Pole. It's fun, it's challenging,when I can actually nail a trick or pose, I feel like King (or Queen)Cock of the walk, and when I feel not so sexy or I'm too much in my head I go to the studio or I hope on my own pole at home and dance it out. Even if it doesn't look great. I feel so much better. This type of exercise isn't for everyone, but its my exercise of choice.

on July 29, 2014


on July 29, 2014

Another reason I exercise is because I love the way I feel when I am finished. Also, I am proud when I can lift heavy objects, climb stairs without getting out of breath and still keep up with my twentysomething kids. For everyone whose primary fitness if water aerobics or swimming, keep in mind those are not weight bearing exercises so your bone density could be compromised if that is your only form of exercise. It is important to include weight bearing exercises, too.

on July 29, 2014

I walk, walk, walk and love it. No headphones, no music, just me and the dog with birds, traffic, whatever. If you have a dog, go and walk it - it's the best! Lisa, whatever you're doing, TRX or gym, it has paid-off because the photo you posted of yourself last week was AWESOME!

on July 29, 2014

I just finished my first month of TRX, IT IS AWESOME!! Love the instructors, love the movements! I get sore so we all know we are working the right stuff and I am sleeping better too. I am hoping to lose some weight but mostly I just wanted something that wouldn't bore me. I have to agree Lisa, when I feel good after the workout I don't want to eat at all (although I know i need too!) and the other stuff at home that I did on my own just didn't motivate me and I would think of what I could eat to "break even" on the calories I just burned! LOL Thanks for your column and all the great snacks.

on July 29, 2014

This is so interesting! Fun is an important part of just about any activity if you think about it.

on July 29, 2014

My favorite thing to do for exercise is to walk about 3 miles at a beautiful park near my house called Otsiningo Park. The park has many small wild animals and birds and it's is just lovely

on July 29, 2014

I do not find exercise fun, but watch TV while doing it and that takes my mind off it and the time flies by!

on July 29, 2014

I have, and am back to doing WW. I lost 40lbs in 2013 and have gained 15 back but w/i today and down 1.8. Back to the subject...I used to walk ALOT and burned out on it but I also belong to the Y and do water aerobics, spin, and weights..I HAVE to have music regardless of what workout I am doing. I love this website

on July 30, 2014

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