Can Fitness Really Be Fun?

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By Tony DeSantis

This seems to be the eternal question of the patron dabbling with the idea of buying into that big idea that is fitness. We know that exercise is essential, in one form or another, to living a healthier life. I don’t need to give you a recap on the decades of evidence that real scientists have compiled in exercise science. Yet, why do people avoid exercise when they know it is something that can help them in the long run?

I have come across this answer time and time again. It sounds like this: “I have to go to the gym because…”

There within that statement lies the problem. When I feel that I have to do something, as if I am not making the choice on my own, I am already starting off on the wrong foot. For example, I have to pay bills and have to do laundry. I generally don’t enjoy these tasks. I have to perform these tasks to keep my lights on and my clothes clean. Necessary as they are, I don’t find them fun because I feel forced into having to do them. We don’t want to be forced into doing anything. Feeling this way can cause anxiety and fear. I’ve never come across anyone whose idea of fun is to feel anxious and afraid. In return, the probability of failure is high. Therefore, I call on you to set yourself up for success.

When we change the word have to want, we are changing our tone and tuning ourselves to be positively focused. To want is to already have the mind open to the idea. The idea may be the want to paint a picture or the want to take a road trip. You have designed that mental image, and you can see what it looks like. But to fully produce what you want in life, you need to act on the necessary steps to get there. The same goes for getting fit.

When you have consciously made the decision that you want to get fit, the next step is finding the avenue that leads you towards attaining that goal. This is not an easy task. You have created the mental image of being fit, but how are you going to get there? This is where we need to find our happy zone.

When I say happy zone, I refer to place where you feel most comfortable, where you are at your highest level of focus and where you have to ability to reach your full potential. We can have a happy zone in other parts of our lives. Reading a book can be a happy zone for someone who is looking to gain knowledge. Doing the morning crossword puzzle can be a happy zone for someone looking to challenge their intellect. We all have a fitness happy zone. For some, that zone is a hike through a hilly park. For others it can be a bike ride along the beachfront. This happy zone is what we are looking for; that unique place in our lives that makes fitness fun and invigorating.

My happy zone is when I am working out with my class in my cross-training program. I found that I love the changes from high to low intensity work, the limited rest periods and the ability to use techniques that border the abnormal in the fitness world. I love flipping truck tires. I love carrying sandbags. I really, really love swinging sledgehammers. And best of all, I love being able to build camaraderie and share the experience with my team. To some this may seem crazy. To me, it is exactly what the doctor ordered. It brings me clarity. I feel like I am in the right place at the right time, every time. The best part is it brings a smile to my face.

So can fitness really be fun? The answer is yes. Anything can be fun if you find your happy zone. But you cannot truly answer this question until you’ve explored the world of fitness. We all have different needs and tastes. My love for the obscure may be someone’s nightmare. My advice is to try different options. Cycling, Zumba, CrossFit, Boot Camp….whatever you choose, at least try. The worst that can happen is you don’t like it and move on. But what may happen is that you change your life forever. You may just find your happy zone, where fitness is not just used to attain better health and wellness but is your gateway to fun and excitement.

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