The Secret to Enjoying Exercise: Find Something you Like

By Jason M Carlton

During one of the weekly reports submitted by the My Heart Challenge: Play at Home Edition contestants, one woman elaborated on a question asking for any advice they would offer other people who want to become more healthy. She shared some great advice that has worked well for her, and it has applicability to everyone else as well. 

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Kelly Kline writes:

I have decided that one of the most important things I have had to do in terms of a more heart-healthy lifestyle is to find an exercise that I enjoy. I know I need to exercise, but if I am not enjoying myself, I won't make the effort to get it done. Last year I started riding the recumbent bicycle in order to protect my knees (I currently am dealing with PMR). It was easier on my knees, and I was losing weight. I enjoyed going to the gym!

After a while, I flat lined in terms of weight loss. I heard about Zumba from a retired friend of mine. I thought, "No way!  If she can do that, then I can do that!" I started Zumba last summer and have loved it. The instructors at The Cottonwood Recreation Center are patient, encouraging, and do not expect my arthritis ridden body to keep up with them. They encourage us to modify moves in order to keep moving without causing injury and pain.

As we all know, our bodies are still in charge and I have flatlined again in my weight loss. That is why I decided to join this 100-day My Heart Challenge; hoping for a jump start of some kind. In the last few weeks, my daughter has encouraged me to try a different type of exercise in addition to what I am already doing, to see if that will help me start losing weight again. Her suggestion was her passion: Spin Class.  She loves the dark room, loud music, and the intense work out. I got the padded seat, signed up for bike 19 at The Cottonwood Recreation Center and was ready to go. Doug, the instructor, met with me before and helped me set up my bike correctly. That put me at ease.

Well, 60 minutes later my sit-bones were killing me and my knees were screaming. I know that I need to give it a few more tries before I throw in the towel. I could learn to enjoy Spin. I just need to stick out the initial pain!

I love taking my dog for a 30 minute walk about the nearby cemetery. It gets me outside, gets her outside, and lifts my spirits. It is not going to cause huge weight loss, but I know that my positive attitude towards exercise is just as important as the exercise itself.  

So, bottom line, my advice for a heart healthy lifestyle is to find ways to exercise that you are passionate about. That way you exercise because you WANT to, not because you want to see weight loss, or because your doctor told you to, but to lift your spirits, clear your head, and help your heart along the way.