Prepare yourself folks because I'm about to drop a revelation of biblical proportions. You might want to take a seat and prepare for a knowledge bomb.
Here it goes:
When you think an activity is fun and provides some benefit you're more likely to do it.
Is that it???
Surely there must be more to it than just that.
"A new study shows that people benefit more from exercise when they believe it will have a positive effect."
That is the opening line from an article detailing the results from a recent study demonstrating that test subjects derive more psychological as well as neurophysiological benefits from exercise if they already have positive mindsets about sports.
No More Exercise As Penance
No longer do you have to suffer through bouts exercise because you feel you have to.
Torturing yourself with endless crushing workouts are a thing of the past.
The key to maintaining an active lifestyle over the long-term is finding stuff you enjoy doing.
Here is another observation from the study:
"Test subjects who already believed the physical activity would have positive effects before participating in the study enjoyed the exercise more, improved their mood more, and reduced their anxiety more than less optimistic test subjects."
I Paid For It I'd Better Use It!
This is a common motivator for people using the gym.
I'd better get my monies worth.
If the place is not exciting you or you're relying on some kind of external motivation to get you to go then maybe it's not the place for you.
Why go through the rollercoaster of emotions when you're struggling to find the motivation to go.
You'd be much better off finding a more enjoyable activity that has the potential to become part of your daily routine and won't require so much of your mental energy to complete.
I Don't Hate It But I Don't Love It Either
Whatever your chosen activity there is one other detail to consider.
Even if you don't love it does it have the potential to become something you might love?
Like anything new there might be a few teething issues but if they are only minor and are not detracting from the overall experience then give it a chance.
A little time investment in the beginning may be the kickstart you need to build that momentum.
A Little Research
Another interesting finding in the study was the idea that participants could be positively or negatively influenced in their attitude towards the upcoming activity, in this case cycling. Seperate groups were shown films that either praised the health benefits of cycling or the opposite.
In the real world these influences can come from any number of places and have the ability to excite or turn you off trying a new kind of exercise.
The media especially have the power to promote or criticise different activities.
This could have a profound effect on your mindset before even starting.
Do your own research, get educated and this will help immensely on deciding the route you want to take.
Talk to friends and family, maybe they would want to join you on your new endeavour and then more people get to benefit.
So to summarise:
Do something you enjoy or can grow to enjoy and you'll keep doing it.
Absolutely groundbreaking stuff there but please no more torturing yourself for the sake of exercise.