How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

We’ve all been there — you just don’t feel like exercising today. You know you should, you know it’s in your best interest, but your head’s just not in the game. Maybe you’re stressed or your body is telling you it’s not up to the task. Whatever it is, you’re just not into getting your exercise today.

It’s okay. This probably isn’t the first time this has happened and it most likely won’t be the last. Everyone has days like this, and they’re not a big deal. It’s a part of making training a part of your life. But, that doesn’t mean you should do nothing.

Every single day, you should be doing something that helps improve your life. If you’re curious about the Whole Life Challenge or are a past participant, then you’re looking to be great and live your best life.

With that being said, you can improve yourself even without following through on your scheduled exercise routine. Today, I’ll be talking to you about things you can do on days when you don’t feel like working out that will help make you the best “you” that you can be.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

1. Go for A Long Walk or Hike

Sometimes what you need is to be outside, walking or hiking in nature. You can vary the speed, duration, and difficulty of the walk or hike depending on how you feel.

If you’re looking to take it easy, try walking in your neighborhood, through the local park, or hiking through some flat nature trails. If you’re looking to make things more challenging, try hiking a local mountain, difficult trails, or walk through the neighborhood while wearing a weight vest or loaded backpack.

Walking and hiking are not only great for the body, but they’re also one of the best forms of moving meditation. When your mind is busy, a good long walk can help to keep it calm and allow it to think freely in new ways.

2. Play a Sport or Participate in an Activity

If you’re not rundown, stressed, or tired, then maybe your blah feeling just means you need to switch up what you’re doing for the day. Sports and outdoor activities are a great way to get in a workout without being stuck in your scheduled routine.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Getting together with friends or family and playing a game of soccer, basketball, baseball, or whatever you enjoy is one great option. If you’re not the sports kind of person, an activity like rock climbing, paddle boarding, or biking might be more your style. Find something that you enjoy, keeps your heart rate up, and doesn’t feel like work. Try mixing it into your weekly routine, and making it a part of your life.

3. Meditate

If you’re not up to doing anything physical, a long bout of mediation might be what you need. Mediation can help reduce stress, improve cognitive function, ease anxiety, and much more. It’s as important to train your mind as it is your body. In my opinion, most people should be practicing some form of mediation on a daily basis to help improve their overall well-being.

There are countless forms of mediation you can try, and it’s not a practice that is “one size fits all.” My suggestion would be to do a little research into the many forms available, take a class or lesson, or read a book about how to do it. Download an app or find a YouTube video if you want to start with a guided meditation. Try a different style out each week for a few weeks, and decide which works best for you.

4. Self-Massage or Self Myofascial Release

If you’re committed to improving your health, then chances are you’re exercising frequently, and if you’re exercising frequently, then regular massages are also a must. Massages have ton of benefits ranging from reducing stress, improving muscle function, increased mobility, and aiding in recovery. Of course, getting regular massages can be expensive. However, self-massage — or myofascial release — is not.

All you need to get started is a foam roller or PVC pipe, lacrosse or tennis ball, and enough floor space to lay down. Using those tools to roll out your muscles, work out tension, and break down knots in your tissues is a wonderful addition to your training routine. Self-massage will show your body some much needed love, and it should be a part of everyone’s training routine.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

5. Exercise Anyway

Maybe you’re not sore, stressed, or even tired. Maybe you’re just having a bad day or are simply feeling lazy. Maybe you should workout today.

My father once told me, “Sometimes you have your best workouts on the days you don’t feel like doing it.” In my experience, he’s right. Sometimes what you need is a workout to help boost your morale and make yourself a little stronger — inside and out.

You’re not always going to feel like training, but if there’s nothing actually wrong, then you might just need to make yourself do it anyway. Exercising when you don’t feel like it helps build inner strength, and afterwards you will also feel the benefits of a boost of positive endorphins. Sometimes, you just need to be a grown-up about things and do the stuff you don’t feel like doing.

Remember, you’re always going to have days when you don’t feel like training. The key is to know what to do on those days. Listen to your body: know when it’s time to step back and take it easy, know when it’s time to play a game or switch up your routine, and know when it’s time to do your planned workout anyway. Follow the options above and you’ll always be taking the steps toward becoming stronger — even on the days you don’t actually exercise.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Timothy Bell is a fitness coach and writer from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Timothy has trained countless people using his unique minimalist approach to bodyweight training. Tim’s relaxed, no-nonsense, adaptable style of fitness allows his clients the ability to train anytime, anywhere, with little to no equipment needed. He prides himself on being able to deliver world-class training regardless of the location. Timothy firmly believes your training should be a part of your life, and not be your whole life.

Timothy’s goal is to help everyone he works with find a unique fitness and nutrition program that fits their lifestyle. He’s known for giving out tons of free advice, videos, and articles on his blog Timothy Bell Fitness.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

I think we all know the feeling. We know we should work out, but what we really want to do is relax on the couch. And sometimes… the couch wins.

Motivation can be a tricky beast. Even when we know that exercising would be in our best interests, sometimes we need to give ourselves a little pep talk to just do it! I thought I’d share some of my favorite motivational strategies:

  • Think about your “why.” Why do you want to work out? Is it to be stronger? Maybe it’s to decrease body fat or increase lean muscle mass. Maybe it’s so you’ll have the endurance and energy to play with your kids without getting fatigued or injured. Sleeping better at the end of the day is another huge one. Take a couple of minutes to think about your reason for cultivating a fit and healthy lifestyle. For me, my huge reason is that it makes me a better person! I have so much more energy, patience, and focus when I take some time to sweat.
  • Think about how you’ll feel when it’s over. When I’m debating getting in a workout, chances are that I’m feeling a little blah. When I remember how energized and accomplished I’ll feel if I just go for it, it’s just enough to get me moving.
  • Give it 5 minutes. When I really don’t feel like working out, I set a timer for 5 minutes and get started. I tell myself that when 5 minutes are over and I still don’t feel like working out, I’ll stop. 100% of the time I want to keep going. Often it’s simply a matter of getting started.
  • Assess your workouts. If you’re not feeling motivated with your routine, there’s a good chance that you’re forcing yourself to either do too much or do something you don’t necessarily enjoy. The treadmill is a great example. If you hate the treadmill, there’s no way you’ll feel motivated to get on there and press start. So, ditch the treadmill! Do something else you love for cardio, like walking around the neighborhood, taking a dance class you love, spinning, boxing, etc. There are so many fitness options out there – choose one you truly enjoy and you’ll be way more likely to get it done! Also, make sure that your fitness plan is balanced and includes at least 1-2 full days off each week. When you’re overtraining, it’s very hard to feel motivated because your body is telling you it needs a break.
  • Set small checkpoints and treats for yourself along the way. I’m a huge believer in rewarding yourself for consistency! Set monthly goals (like “I’m going to work out 3x a week for the entire month”) and when you hit your goal, treat yourself to a new workout top, pair of leggings, massage, spa treatment, or something to congratulate yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything huge; just something to acknowledge that you put in the work and have remained consistent.

Gina Harney is the blogger behind the healthy lifestyle brand, The Fitnessista, which reaches millions of viewers all over the world. She’s been featured on Greatist, Forbes, Buzzfeed, Shape, Fitness Magazine, and Well + Good. She’s the author of “HIIT It!” and the voice behind the Healthy In Real Life podcast. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission from purchased products at no additional cost to you. See my full disclosure here.

Most days, sitting on the couch relaxing sounds much more appealing than a workout, but there are simple ways to help you exercise when you don’t feel like exercising!

When I woke up this morning, all I wanted to do was hit the snooze button, roll back over, and go back to sleep.

And for many years, I did just that. I skipped my workouts when I felt like it because, well, exercise can feel like torture sometimes.

It’s something we try to do because we know it’s good for us, but it’s so easy to skip your workout when you are low on time, low on energy, and just not feeling it.

The temptation is real, beckoning us to stay in bed, sink into the couch, or just watch one more show.

But, over the years, I have built up a bag of tricks that I pull out to push the excuses aside and keep exercise as a regular habit in my life (though I do still skip the occasional workout!).

Here is how I still exercise when I don’t feel like exercising.

Simple Ways To Get Yourself to Exercise When You Really Don’t Feel Like It

Phone A Friend

When you don’t have the motivation to get yourself up and moving, getting a friend involved can give you that extra boost you need.

I probably would have skipped at least a dozen runs over the last year if I didn’t have my mom expecting me to show up and run with her.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Find a workout buddy you enjoy spending time with and you are much more likely to want to get up and move!

Don’t feel like you have any friends to call or aren’t sure how to ask? Learn How to Build A Support System For Your Weight Loss Journey.

Remind Yourself of the Benefits

I’m not just talking about the general (but very important) benefits of improving your overall health.

I’m talking about the more immediate benefits of giving you more energy, fighting stress, and improving your mood.

Exercise is like a wonder drug and it is incredibly underutilized! It’s hard to get started, but I have never ever regretted a workout.

Here are 15 Reasons to Workout Today to get you started!

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Try Something New

I am a creature of habit and I love routine, but sometimes routines just get boring.

Do something that actually sounds fun – go rollerblading, break out your old hula hoop, play an active game on the Wii, or just throw on some of your favorite music and dance it out (I love doing this one).

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Get your heart rate up for at least 10 minutes and you’ll reap the benefits!

Think of A Reward

There are a million reasons why exercise is a good idea, but adding one more sure doesn’t hurt!

Tell yourself that you can watch your favorite TV show after your walk or think of small incentives like a new bottle of nail polish for a week of no skipped workouts.

The key is picking something that actually motivates you!

The promise of new nail polish doesn’t do much for me, but the lure of a bubble bath or some reading time sure gets me moving!

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

If you need ideas, check out this list of over 50 ideas for non-food weight loss rewards.

Start With The First Step

Getting up is the hardest part, whether it is dragging yourself out of bed or pulling yourself off the couch.

Put your shoes on.

Tell yourself you just have to walk down the block. I’m a big fan of bartering with yourself.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Chances are, once you get yourself moving, you will want to go farther to make the most of your workout.

You don’t have to do your ideal workout. Just make one small change and get moving!

Make A Happy Playlist

Music can not only boost your mood, but it can actually benefit your body by relieving stress and giving you more energy.

Put together a peppy playlist to listen to while you walk, run, elliptical, or lift weights that brings a smile to your face and adds an extra spring to your step.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Check out this list of Christian exercise music for your playlist that I use to get me pumped on my runs.

Invest In Your Workout

There are a million ways you can work out for free and it’s true that many gym memberships go unused, but when you invest financially in your workouts by buying a membership or paying for classes, you are more likely to stick with it.

Try our 5-Day Faith & Fitness Challenge to see if you might enjoy our workouts in Faithful Fitness!

Especially if you are frugal, having that money down is going to give you extra motivation to get out the door and make the most of your investment!

Sneak Movement Into Your Day

Maybe you can’t get yourself motivated for a full-on workout, but there are tons of little things you can do throughout your day to stay just a little bit more active.

Put away the remote and stand up every time you want to change something on the TV, use a whisk instead of a mixer, take the stairs instead of the elevator.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Did you know that all of those shortcuts can add up and lower your calorie burns by 800 calories a day? Craziness!

Remember Your Main Motivation

Yeah, yeah, you know that exercise is good for you, but why are you really doing it?

  • Do you want more energy to play with your kids?
  • Are you sick of feeling tired all the time?
  • Do you want to walk up a flight of stairs without exhausting yourself?

Think of the reasons you really want to work out past the general “it’s good for me.”

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Get specific and think about those things to get yourself moving.

Those are really helpful in setting SMART goals to keep you moving toward your exercise goals.

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How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Join the 5-Day Faith & Fitness Jumpstart Challenge!

Join the 5-Day Faith & Fitness Jumpstart Challenge to make exercise an act of worship with daily at-home workouts for beginners, Bible verses, devotions, and a healthy meal plan!

We all have those days when mustering the motivation to exercise seems like more of a challenge than usual. We just can’t seem to get going and we end up giving ourselves permission to skip the gym or yoga class, or postpone the run or walk.

I don’t have my gym clothes on. I’m too tired. I haven’t eaten. My back has been bothering me. I just washed my hair. It’s raining. It’s getting dark.

The excuses are endless and it seems that the older we get, the harder it is to resist taking the easy way out.

As a result, we end up feeling guilty about our laziness or regretful about missing an opportunity to do something that would improve our physical, emotional and cognitive health and increase our longevity. To make matters worse, the hour that would have been spent building strength and endurance, or increasing mobility and flexibility is replaced with more time sitting at the computer or lounging on the couch. Instead of burning calories and increasing metabolism, we’re doing just the opposite.

If you really want to know how to motivate yourself to exercise, here are a few tips.

So, how do we get workout ready? Replace laziness with preparedness.

We prepare for natural disasters and emergencies by keeping a disaster kit in our home and a spare tire in our car. Exercise is equally important to our survival, so it stands to reason to be prepared for it as well!

Here are five surefire ways to increase your chances of working out on any particular day:

How to exercise when you don’t feel like itEliminating the task of having to change into your workout clothes can go a long way toward getting yourself to that yoga class or starting your run.

Put on your athletic wear as early in the day as possible. If you’re retired or work at home, put on your fitness garb first thing in the morning. If you work or volunteer outside the home, bring your workout clothes with you and dress out before leaving the workplace. Being dressed and ready to go can mean the difference between a sure bet and an unfortunate regret.

Nothing is more motivating for me than hearing the songs from my workout playlist. If you like working out to music, have your earbuds and playlist handy and turn on your music before hitting the gym or Pilates studio. Put on a song that gets you into the workout frame of mind and you will surely get up and go!

Between-meal hunger can be a workout killer. Don’t let your appetite get the best of you. Keep a favorite protein bar and sports drink in your backpack, gym bag or purse, and make a point to fuel up and hydrate. Once you have some nourishment, your body will be revved up for an awesome workout!

Sometimes we can’t seem to pull ourselves away from what we’re doing, especially when at the computer, and the day seems to just slip away. Don’t let time pass you by. Schedule your workout and set your phone alarm to go off 15 or 20 minutes beforehand. This will give you enough time to finish up what you’re doing and get yourself out the door.

Invite a friend to work out with you at a specific time of day. Agree to take a fitness class together or go for a walk, hike or run. For extra insurance, have the friend pick you up. This will decrease your chances of a no-show. Exercising with a friend adds a social element to your workout, which is almost always an extra bonus!

It’s hard to go wrong if you combine all five strategies. Put on your workout clothes as early in the day as possible, turn on some energizing music, power up with a protein bar and a sports drink, set your alarm and invite a friend for good measure.

Being dressed, motivated, nourished, duly reminded, and partnered up will make it easier for you to steamroll through excuses, get your workout in, and feel fantastic!

And, of course, wearing your Tenáz Top from Tenáz Athletics you will always will be workout ready. You’ll look great and be prepped for fun and fitness anytime! Get your tenacity on!

How do you get motivated to exercise? What motivates you to go for it whether you’re tired or the weather is bad or you’re just not in the mood? Any favorite workout music you’d like to share? Please join the conversation.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

How to exercise when you don’t feel like itLife can get hectic, and some days, you simply don’t feel like working out. This feeling happens to everyone sometimes, even personal trainers.

That said, if you haven’t fully established your exercise habit and turned it into a routine, feeling unmotivated to workout on one day can quickly snowball into multiple days. If you repeatedly give in to not feeling like exercising, this trend can cause you to relapse or backslide on your fitness goals.

Thankfully, you can take control of the situation. Your response in these moments is what matters, not your feelings. You can choose to exercise even though you don’t feel like doing it.

The more you practice following through on your workout plan, the easier it gets. You can create the habit of exercising, no matter how you feel.

How to Get Yourself Exercising Even on Days You Don’t Feel Like It

We all have ‘off days’ when we don’t feel like doing certain things. While being motivated to workout helps get you going, feeling motivated isn’t required to get started. You can develop techniques that help you get going even when you don’t feel like it.

Identify why you don’t want to workout

If you follow through on your fitness plan most of the time, then an occasional day off is less likely to jeopardize your exercise habit. However, if you struggle most days to get started with exercising, you may want to dig deeper to discover what’s interfering with your motivation to workout.

When exploring what’s getting in the way, consider:

  • Practical elements, like the time of day and type of exercises you’ve chosen
  • Emotional factors, like how it feels to exercise and your confidence
  • Past experiences that may be influencing your current beliefs and motivation

These factors influence your mindset and motivation. Take time to create a list of everything you identify. Be open and honest with yourself during this process. You may discover there is more than one thing. Additionally, your reason for not feeling like exercising may change. You can’t problem-solve this situation if you don’t know what is holding you back.

Once you have your list of barriers, beliefs, and feelings, look through each one and dig deeper to find solutions. Perhaps, you hate working out at the gym because it takes too much time, or you don’t like being around others. Work out at home. Find an online program you enjoy or exercise in your neighborhood.

Do you hate exercising? Explore why. Is it because of past experiences? Do you struggle to find an activity you enjoy? Consider setting a goal to try different types of workouts. Ask a friend to exercise with you once a week (or more), so you’re pairing something you like (being with your friend) with something you don’t like (working out). Over time, you’ll enjoy your workouts more because they are associated with things you like.

Do you struggle with feelings of low confidence because of difficulties establishing an exercise routine in the past? Try journaling, or doodle journaling your emotions. These activities can allow you to get the feelings out and then look at them openly and honestly.

The more you understand what interferes with your desire to work out on most days, the easier it will be to select specific strategies to overcome these barriers so you can be successful.

Be prepared—have a set of alternative actions ready to use

Do you follow through on your exercise plans most of the time and only occasionally struggle with not wanting to work out? Then having a set of alternative actions you can use at those times may be all you need.

Some alternative actions you can take when you’re not feeling motivated include:

  • Making a deal with yourself to exercise for only 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes are up, you can stop—guilt-free. You may find that most of the time, you continue exercising once you’ve gotten started. However, even if you stop, exercising for 10 minutes can help your health and fitness. Plus, you’ve kept your habit intact.
  • Visualizing how you’ll feel if you skip your workout versus how you’ll feel if you complete it. Think of a time when you didn’t exercise because you didn’t feel like it. How did you feel later? What kind of self-talk did you engage in? Then think of a time when you worked out even though you didn’t feel like it. How did you feel during and afterward? Were you glad you pushed yourself? Visualizing can help you reconnect with your reason, or your why, for making a healthy change.
  • Reminding yourself that feelings change, and you can still get started even if you don’t feel like it. You don’t need to be motivated to workout. Motivation is helpful—it can help us start new habits, make changes in our lives, and keep us going through difficulties. That said, you can still do difficult tasks even when you don’t feel like it. Your motivation will likely increase as you do the activity.
  • Trying a new exercise or workout. If you’ve been feeling bored with your regular workout, change things up with something new for that day. Taking an occasional day to do something different can help increase your motivation and keep exercising fun.
  • Working out with a friend.Exercising with a friend helps your motivation, consistency, and can even result in you working out harder.
  • Reminding yourself of why it’s important for you to exercise. You started working out consistently for a reason—maybe you wanted to set a good example for your family, reduce your risk of a chronic illness, lose weight, or feel better. Your reason why is a powerful motivator. When you feel yourself wavering, take time to remember your ‘Why.’ If you haven’t already, write down your reason why in a journal or on a sticky note and make it easy to access.
  • Completing the small actions you usually do before you exercise. When you exercise, you likely have a set of tasks you do right before working out. You may change into your workout clothes, set out equipment, or fill up a water bottle. Go ahead and complete those actions even if you don’t feel like working out. Doing those actions may be enough to get you started.

You Can Get Yourself Exercising Even On Days When You Don’t Feel Like It

Everyone has an occasional day when they don’t feel like working out. You may decide to take it easy on those days, or you may incorporate an alternative action to get you moving despite not feeling like it.

However, if you struggle most days with not wanting to exercise, then consider taking time to understand why you don’t want to work out. The more you understand your barriers, the easier it will be to find a solution that keeps you moving forward with your fitness goals. You do have control over your actions, even on the days when you don’t feel like exercising.

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Physically, it helps you maintain a healthy weight, it lowers your blood pressure and resting heart rate, it strengthens your bones and muscles, and makes you less vulnerable to accidents and illnesses. Mentally, exercise improves your mood, concentration, working memory, and self-control. It makes you less sensitive to pain and gives you more energy. It actually helps grow neurons in the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with creating memories. Exercise has been shown to help people struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, and chronic pain, as well as people suffering from diabetes and heart disease.

Exercise should be a part of daily life for anyone who wants to feel healthier and happier, but unfortunately, the people who would benefit from exercise the most find it extremely difficult to get regular exercise. For example, if you’re struggling with depression, regular exercise will almost certainly make you feel better, but it’s hard to exercise when you can barely get out of bed. Taking a pill is easy, but exercise requires effort. How are you supposed to muster the energy when you’re whole problem is that you’re constantly exhausted and nothing seems worth the effort? Here are some strategies for getting regular exercise when you really don’t feel like it.

Start small.

Starting small means two things. First, it means if you’re not in the habit of exercising regularly, don’t try to go out and run five miles every day. Instead, try walking for 10 minutes every day and slowly build from there. You don’t want to injure yourself trying to do too much at once and you don’t want exercise to be a daunting obligation. It should be a moderate challenge, not a source of stress. Don’t worry that your 10-minute walk isn’t doing anything. Recent studies have found that 10 minutes is enough to get mood-boosting benefits from exercise. And it certainly beats doing nothing.

Second, starting small means taking a little bite at a time. If you’ve planned a 30-minute walk and it just seems like too much, first just think about getting your exercise clothes on. Then, remember you’re in control of your exercise. If you’re feeling that bad, you can just walk for five minutes and see how you feel. Usually, the hardest part is getting started and once you do that, you can just keep going. But if not, that’s fine too.

Schedule your exercise.

Have a definite plan for when you’re going to exercise. Make it about the same time every day if possible. Scheduling exercise instead of just saying you’ll do it keeps you from putting it off and it keeps other obligations from interfering. It also helps you prepare mentally for it. If you just wait until you feel like it, the time may never come.

Make it a habit.

It takes a little while to build a habit, but once you do, it makes exercising so much easier because it’s basically automatic. You don’t have to psych yourself up to get dressed and take a 20-minute walk. You just do it because it’s time for a walk. Scheduling exercise at the same time every day helps build a habit, as does tying it to something you already do. So maybe you get up in the morning, feed the cat, and put on your running shoes. Even if you don’t actually run at first, putting on your shoes will help build the habit.

Try something new.

Walking, running, biking, or doing calisthenics at home are all effective and convenient forms of exercise, but they get old after a while. Or maybe they don’t appeal to you at all. It’s hard to do something that’s both difficult and boring. Consider trying something new. If you’ve always wanted to learn kickboxing, sign up for a class. The excitement of trying something you’ve always wanted to do can help overcome your lethargy. You’ll be more mentally engaged while learning a new skill and hardly notice all the work you’re doing.

Exercise with friends.

Exercising with friends is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable and keep exercising even when you don’t feel like it. Having a standing appointment gets both of you past those rough patches when you have no energy would rather be doing anything else. If none of your friends are interested in exercising, consider joining a class, such as kickboxing or yoga. You may also want to consider joining a running or cycling group, or maybe a recreational sports league. Studies have shown that participating in team sports is especially good for mental health. When you exercise with other people, you also add a social dimension that gives you extra benefit. It’s a great way to make new friends and bond over a positive activity.

Hire a personal trainer.

If you have the resources, consider hiring a trainer. A good trainer can save you a lot of trouble. She can start at your current fitness level and motivate you to improve. She can help you avoid injuries and beginner mistakes. And if you pay ahead of time, you will be reluctant to skip sessions.

Reward yourself.

At a certain point, you’ll notice you feel better after you exercise and you’ll want to keep doing it for that reason. Until then, you may need to find other ways to motivate yourself. One trick is to reward yourself after you exercise. Think of whatever it is you really want to be doing and make that your reward after your exercise. It could be watching a movie, listening to music, or just lying on the floor staring at the ceiling. Go for your walk, then stare at the ceiling for as long as you want. That way you’ll build a positive association with exercise.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or other mental health issues, The Dawn Medical Rehab and Wellness center can help. We are one of Thailand’s most respected addiction treatment and wellness centers. We incorporate exercise such as yoga, kickboxing, and personal training to provide personalized care to treat addiction, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, PTSD, and executive burnout. See our contact page to reach us by phone or email.

Is strapping on your sneaks after that holiday party actually worth it?

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Even gym bunnies have moments when the last thing they want to do is exercise. But new research shows that those precise times offer unique perks. Three surprising occasions to get moving:

1. AFTER A HAIR-PULLING DAY
Exercising for 15 minutes post-stressful workday may help you eat 125 fewer calories than if you were to veg out. Study authors think the sweat session could distract you and nudge you to make healthier choices. (Score quickie workouts with Women’s Health’s 20-Minute Workouts DVD!)

RELATED: The 3-Minute Abs Workout Kayla Itsines Swears By

2. DURING A LAZY WEEKEND
Just a small effort to help shed fat: Research in the Journal of Obesity found that adding 20 minutes of activity on Saturday or Sunday leads to 1.6 percent less body fat over a year. The researchers say we consume more calories on the weekend, which exercise helps offset, and even minor movement usually leads to more.

Try these dance-inspired squats to start your Saturday night right:

RELATED: 7 Simple Exercises That Show Results After One Workout

3. DURING A FEW NIGHTS OF DRINKING (AHEM, HOLIDAYS)
Getting in your 150 minutes of weekly exercise could negate the risk for death by cancer that moderate drinking presents, found a new study. Working out helps repair physical damage in the long term. Short term, it’ll get your endorphins pumpin’, kicking grogginess on its ass.

Last updated January 13, 2021

So you’ve just woken up from a terrible night’s sleep. Your body is still aching from what felt like a two-hour boot camp workout you did three days ago. You have so much work to do. Can you relate?

There are times when we don’t have the availability to workout. Other times, we need to heal and strengthen by allowing our bodies to rest and heal. But what about those times when we know we’d like to work out but we just can’t summon the motivation to get up and get going?

I know the feeling too well. Deep down you know that exercising will make you feel better and experiencing endorphins pumping after a great workout is really where you’d like to be.

However, at the same time, your mind is racing to find the best possible excuse to avoid it. Sound familiar? Below I describe my favorite energizing forms of exercise that you can do from home (or while traveling) at those times when you really don’t feel like working out.

7 Alternative Forms of Exercise

Luckily, there are many ways you can move your body that can be a great workout at home. A 45-minute spin class or an hour of a rigorous boot camp aren’t the only ways to get the body moving.

The next time you’re feeling unmotivated ask yourself this, ‘What I am in the mood for?’ Perhaps you really don’t want to go to the gym today but walking to the office might make a nice change. Or if you’re still hurting from a previous session, deep stretching might be just what your body is yearning for.

For me, it’s the times then I don’t feel like exercising that always end up being the best workouts at home. I finish feeling alive, proud of myself for deciding to move that day.

These seven alternative forms of exercise will still leave you feeling strong, invigorated and ready to take on the day.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Yoga is all about the connection between body, mind and breath. It’s the perfect form of exercise for when you need a bit of grounding. Yoga allows the body to move in gentle or more challenging sequences while rejuvenating the mind and balancing ourselves.

Yoga is also a great way to stretch out the body first thing in the morning with a practice that will ground you for the rest of the day. If you’re not feeling like jumping around or sweating buckets, yoga might be the perfect form of movement you’re after.

Consider a yoga retreat for a chance to leave behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life and step into a magical sanctuary of self-discovery

Take a Walk

Walking can be both functional and mindful and whichever way you do it, it counts as exercise. Skip the run and go for a long walk around your neighborhood or to a nearby park and reconnect with nature.

You can also incorporate it into your daily routine by walking to work or by running your errands on foot instead of driving or using public transportation.

Deep Stretching

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

If you’ve woken up stiff and achy, a short morning session of deep stretching can do wonders for elongating the body to make you feel less tense and more flexible.

Stretching out any sore muscles increases blood flow, allowing them to recover faster. If you’ve had a stressful day at work, deep stretching can also be extremely beneficial for relieving stress and leaving worries behind, allowing you to get on with your evening.

Join a Class

Joining an exercise group or class online can be a great motivator by holding you accountable for workouts, especially if it is just a little motivation you’re lacking.

Making a commitment often helps us to stick to it — and the same rings true for workouts at home. If you find it really difficult to exercise on Mondays, for example, joining a class might be the ideal motivator to get you out of bed and set the tone for the rest of the week.

Do Housework

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

While not officially considered a form of exercise, you are technically moving while cleaning. Cleaning, sweeping, vacuuming, scrubbing and washing are all actions that involve a lot of movement, especially in the upper body.

This is one of my favorite things to do when I don’t feel like working out. It’s movement without feeling like exercise — and you also end up with a sparkling clean house as an extra bonus.

Tabata Workout

A Tabata workout is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) method that involves 20 seconds of active movement followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times.

Ideally, all you need is four bodyweight exercises of your choice and a Tabata timer app that can be downloaded onto your phone. This workout at home is just 4 minutes long, so it’s superb for anyone pushed for time or for when you don’t want to do too much for too long.

Go Swimming

With summer fast approaching we’re looking for the perfect place to cool off. There’s nothing better than a refreshing swim on a summer’s evening after a sweaty, muggy day at work. Use this desire to cool off by combining a short dip with a long swim.

Not only will the cool water be just what your body needs but swimming is also one of the best forms of exercise.

Working out shouldn’t be a chore! The key to sticking to your exercise routine is finding activities you enjoy. Try one of these fun fitness ideas.

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Summer is a great time to break out of the gym rut and experiment with new workouts. “The most ideal activities for summer are ones that don’t feel like exercise,” notes San Diego’s Jessica Matthews, MS, certification director for the American Council on Exercise and an adjunct professor at Miramar College in the department of exercise science, health, and nutrition. For many, Matthews adds, riding bikes, going for walks, and playing a game of tennis are high on the list. Switch up your routine this summer and try one of these 10 workouts – you won’t feel like you’re working out and you’ll still reap the fitness benefits.

Walk This Way

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Walking is a great low-impact aerobic exercise that almost anyone can do, Matthews says. It’s one of the best workouts because you can do it just about anywhere, whether you’re on a ‘staycation’ or are renting a place by the beach or a lake. To make a walking workout seem even less like exercise, take a walk after dinner around the neighborhood with a friend or a family member. Walk together at a brisk pace, about 15 minutes a mile; if you weigh about 150 pounds, you’ll burn about 300 calories an hour.

Everyone Into the Pool

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Summertime is ideal for swimming, another low-impact aerobic exercise. You can get a great total body workout from swimming and have so much fun doing it that you won’t think of it as exercise, Matthews says. “Swimming puts limited stress on your joints, bones, and connective tissue, which makes it a suitable option for almost anyone, from children to pregnant women to older adults.” Thirty minutes of lap swimming at a slow to moderate pace burns about 286 calories if you weigh 150 pounds.

Practice Self-Defense

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Doing martial arts activities can be a wonderful workout that doesn’t feel like you’re working out at all. Any form of martial arts will have lots of benefits, Matthews says, because they all incorporate strength, coordination, and mental discipline. “With martial arts, proper training and equipment to prevent injury are a must,” she says. A 150-pound person will burn about 340 calories for every 30 minutes of kickboxing, karate, or Aikido.

Round the Bases

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

A game of summertime baseball is a great way to be active and exercise without that workout feeling. Baseball can improve your hand-eye coordination and strengthen your upper body (from throwing) and your lower body (from short bursts of sprinting). Baseball also improves your concentration and mental focus. Play two innings — about 30 minutes — and you’ll burn about 170 calories. Exercise for all nine, and you’ll burn a whopping 765 calories.

Tennis, Everyone?

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Tennis is a fun form of cardiovascular exercise that not only burns calories but also helps you maintain and improve agility, strength, balance, mobility, and overall fitness, Matthews says. A 150-pound person will burn 272 calories for every 30 minutes of tennis. Whether you play singles or doubles, if you concentrate on your game, this best workout option won’t seem like exercise at all.

Video to Go

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Any number of active video games, such as Dance Dance Revolution, Nintendo Wii, Wii Fit, and Dancetown, to name a few, can be included as part of a well-rounded exercise routine, Matthews says. And because video games are so much fun, you might not even realize that they’re helping you to stay fit — the hallmark of all the best workouts. How many calories you’ll burn depends on the workout game, but 30 minutes of Wii Boxing can burn 216 calories; whereas, 30 minutes of Wii Fit Free Fun or Island Run can burn 165.

Take a Hike

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

When the weather cooperates, there’s no better way to burn calories and enjoy the beauty of nature than with a scenic hike. “Hiking produces many of the same overall health and fitness benefits as walking,” Matthews says. A half-hour of cross country hiking burns 204 calories, and if you’re into hiking, you’ll probably find that 30 minutes of this workout exercise isn’t nearly enough. Go with a group, and you’re sure to have more fun than when you exercise alone or even in an exercise class.

So You Can Dance

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Dance is another fun activity that also happens to offer one of the best workouts. You’ll burn calories whether you choose ballet, hip-hop, country-line, or ballroom dancing. Dance is an exercise that encourages creativity and moving your body freely. And, while you’re learning new moves, you’re also getting a great workout. “Depending on the intensity of your steps, dancing can burn between 130 and 250 calories per 30 minutes,” Matthews says.

Go for a Ride

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

Bike riding is a wonderful summertime exercise that’s fun and helps you stay fit. You can bike as a family and feel that you’re getting great quality time along with a painless workout. Many communities offer great riding trails for exercise with a view. For safety, be sure that everyone wears a helmet, Matthews says. If you’re going for a longer ride, pack a healthy picnic lunch and stop to refuel. You’ll want to take water with you, too.

Dig Your Garden

How to exercise when you don’t feel like it

You may not realize it, but gardening is also one of the best workouts, with many types of exercise built in. A half-hour of gardening, Matthews says, can burn about 150 calories and is an effective form of resistance training. If you turn over your compost pile, pull weeds by hand, and do some raking, you’ll get an upper-body workout — upper arms, shoulders, chest, and back. Hoeing trains your upper arms in particular, while digging is good for your thighs and glutes. Use a push mower and you can get your heart pumping, too.