How to Exercise During Pregnancy When You Hate Exercise

hate exercise.pngThere are those who can't imagine a day without hitting the gym. And there are those who can't imagine "going for a run" unless they were being chased. Just because you fall into the latter camp does not mean you're stuck there. It just means you may need some extra motivation and tricks to get you moving. After all, even a short amount (20-30 minutes) of exercise on most days can improve your health and mood during pregnancy and beyond. If you hate the "e" word (exercise), then let's just call it "purposeful movement."

 

Problem: Exercise feels like too much work; I'm so out of shape. 

Solution: Start slowly -- literally. Purposeful walking doesn't feel like exercise, but it is! Start by taking a 20 minute walk in your neighborhood or near your workplace. Without realizing it, you will build up muscle and endurance and can increase your pace and length of time.

 

Problem: Exercise is boring. 

Solution: Think about what would make it fun -- meeting up with a friend, taking a zumba class, listening to your favorite podcast or playlist, joining an online or gym sponsored fitness challenge. Think about how can you incorporate the things you find fun into something you don't enjoy. 

 

Problem: I don't know where to start.

Solution: Download a fitness app. Take a class at the nearest gym or yoga studio. Look for a simple 15 minute routine you can try in the comfort of your own home. You don't have to have all the answers before you begin. Consider it like spinning a globe with your eyes closed and visiting the country your finger lands on -- the point is to just start somewhere. 

 

Problem: I've tried exercising regularly before. I last about a week before I lose motivation and quit.

Solution: Repetition and motivation are key to sticking to an exercise routine. One way to stay motivated is to designate an accountability partner. Find a friend who already attends a regular class at the gym, for example, and join her. Or, connect with a friend or family member to help keep each other accountable for daily exercise. Check in via text or download an app that you both can use for accountability and tracking. 

 

Problem: I'm too busy.

Solution: This is going to sound harsh, but how much time did you spend yesterday on social media, scrolling endlessly? (No judgement here, as I too am a regular offender.) What would happen if you went to bed 30 minutes earlier tonight and woke up 30 minutes earlier tomorrow to fit in some purposeful movement? Being too busy is a myth. It's all about where we spend our time and what gets priority. Pregnancy is an ideal time to reevaluate your commitments and decide what, if any, can be (or should be) cut down or out. Regular exercise is key to good health, without which you would not be able to maintain your busy-ness. Just because you've made it this far without exercise does not mean you should keep chancing your luck. Make exercise a priority: schedule it in your calendar, mark it as "busy," and tell others it's a non-negotiable. Your future health depends on it.

 

Problem: Gym memberships are too expensive. 

Solution: Simple exercise doesn't cost a dime but your time (which, as discussed above, is worth it!). Walking, running, using a fitness app, inviting a friend over to do YouTube yoga in your living room -- all are free. 

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