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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Enjoyable Exercise: The Key to Consistency is an Active Lifestyle

Jun 01, 2023 12:00AM ● By Jack Cincotta
Many people get a sense of dread when they hear the word exercise. It’s often thought that it needs to be difficult or intense in order to produce the best outcomes. However, the chances that a person will actually stick with their exercise routine long enough to reap the most health benefits rises dramatically when they also find enjoyment in the activity. This is why, contrary to a popular notion, exercise can be, and should be, enjoyable in order to gain long-term benefits.

In a study in the Frontiers in Psychology, researchers found that individuals that experienced more enjoyment in their exercise were more likely to have sustainable habits in their regimen. They also had a higher intent to continue exercising and worked out more often than people that enjoyed it less.

Easy Versus Enjoyable Exercise

Making exercise enjoyable doesn’t mean that one’s fitness routine should be easy, per se. After all, making progress over time is what sparks growth and health improvements, and this is only achieved by pushing a little harder or going a little farther than one did the time before. Ultimately, finding the specific type of exercise that’s most pleasurable to the individual is key to making those hard workouts seem easier and even fun.

Creative Cardio

For example, many individuals believe that long hours on a treadmill is the only option for quality aerobic exercise. This modality and amount of exercise offers many benefits of course, but it may not appeal to everyone. If this is what one enjoys, then stick to it. If not, there are many other ways to improve cardiovascular health. Brisk walks, hiking, high-intensity interval training, playing with the kids and even gardening are all activities of various intensity that confer many healthy side effects.

Sports and Group Fitness

Another fun way to exercise is through a sport that one enjoys. Whether it’s basketball, softball, badminton, pickleball or another recreation, there’s likely a sport out there that matches everyone’s interest, ability and fitness level. Local parks have many welcoming spaces for different sports such as tennis courts and soccer fields, and a daily dose of the outdoors offers benefits on its own. Intramural and recreational leagues appeal to many that are interested in more friendly competition and frequency in engaging in the favorite sport.

Similarly, many people enjoy going to group fitness classes and activities such as cycling, CrossFit, yoga and Pilates, or joining a walking or running club. A great first step is to check out the fitness centers, yoga studios, group activities and parks in the area to see what’s available.

Strength Gain without Pain

It’s well known that strength training also offers many benefits such as helping to maintain and improve muscle mass and balance; maintain proper blood sugar levels; reduce fat and promote a leaner appearance; and decrease risk of falls and injury. However, the modalities to build strength are more various than many may realize.

Training with barbells and dumbbells is just one of many effective ways to improve strength. Others may prefer to try bodyweight circuits, use resistance bands or even get more creative by using random objects around the house or in the backyard.

The important point is that there is no one way to exercise, and enjoyment is key for consistency. There are many different methods to reap the health benefits of moving and strengthening the body. As such, everyone can take the time to try different exercise modalities and find what they enjoy best so that they are most likely to stay consistently active and motivated for years to come.

Jack Cincotta, an AADP board-certified holistic health practitioner and AFPA-certified holistic health coach, is located at  N4147 W. Water St., Sullivan. For more information, call 920-650-7674, email [email protected] or visit