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Conquer Your Fitness Fears

Hate exercise? Here's how you can learn to love working out
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Falling in Love with Exercise

Just tolerating exercise isn't enough, Kimiecik believes. In his book, The Intrinsic Exerciser: Discovering the Joy of Exercise, he advocates learning to love exercise for its own sake. "Most people don't like (exercise)," he says, "because the information they're given doesn't do much to get them to like it."

People know exercise will help them live longer and be healthier, "but that doesn't do much in the way of motivation," he says. "It's external, or outside, in. Those reasons are not powerful enough to keep you motivated for the long term. Those people, on a daily basis, aren't paying attention to the feelings of exercise."

On the other hand, Kimiecik says, people who consistently exercise are motivated from the inside, out.

"The people who maintain exercise on a regular basis are those who really enjoy the movement," he says. "Regular exercisers almost always talk about how exercise makes them feel; they rarely talk about disease reduction."

So how do you get there?

"Find activities that make you feel alive and make you feel enjoyment," he says. To do that, he suggests: "Think about how you want your body to feel when you're exercising. Do you want it to feel fast, do you want it to feel strong, do you want it to feel pushed?"

In other words, be involved in the activity mentally and physically. Connect your mind and body.

Kimiecik admits it's not always easy, but without internal motivation, he says, it's next to impossible to keep up an exercise routine.

"To become a regular exerciser," says Kimiecik, "we all have obstacles. Like with most things in life, if you don't find a powerful inner motivation for doing something, obstacles are easier to find."

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Reviewed on December 14, 2005

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