created about 1 year ago | Tagged:
I'm just going to come out and say it: screw the gym. Screw it right in the face. There is a better way to get the body you want, one that's actually fun and that uses your brain's reward system. Really.
In general, gyms are are mind-numbingly boring. Don't believe me? Why do you think there are TVs attached to every treadmill, bike, and elliptical machine? It's all that stands between us and the realization that "Holy crap, we're all just hamsters running on wheels! I hate the whir and drone of these machines and the recycled air. Why is this thing wet? This place smells like asses and armpits!" The distractions are all that keep you from feeling like you're in a sweaty version of Groundhog Day, where every time you go it's the exact same, mundane thing. Not surprisingly, the sort of ennui can kill your motivation to exercise.
If it feels like a chore, you won't want to do it, and if you're doing something you don't really want to do, you're probably going to drag your feet and not go as hard as you could.
Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy. However, the results suggested that feelings of calmness may be decreased following outdoor exercise. Participants reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and declared a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date.
You know what else releases endorphins and is addictive? Fun. If you are having fun while exercising, not only will you be less focused on your labored breathing and heavying limbs, but you will come to associate exercise with fun, further increasing the likelihood that you will re-engage in said activity. It's true. You ran really hard when you played soccer as a kid, and you were eager to go do it again (on a Saturday, no less). Lifting a heavy stack of weights may give you a sense of accomplishment, but it's not fun. Seriously, nobody picks things up and puts them down recreationally. And if you do, you should investigate more hobbies.
So what should you do? Whatever you like doing. If it's dancing, dance more. If it's rock-climbing, go rock-climbing. Join a dodgeball team, or a running club, or sign up for yoga classes, or go hiking. What sounds like fun to you, personally? Do more of that, as often as you can. You'll work harder—and address a wider range of muscle groups—when you're enjoying what you're doing. Not only will this get you into better shape, but it'll also increase your overall happiness.