Discipline: The 5 Practices – Practice 5

Exercise, Discipline, Everyday, Training, Sports

Find ways to find it fun to exercise. At times, it won’t be easy.

Find your fun!

There: That’s it. That’s the fifth Practice of Discipline. Nothing more to add.

Ok, maybe a few things to add.

Find your fun is an essential practice of discipline because, contrary to most people’s view about discipline, you should not drag yourself through unpleasant activities day after day after day…

That old view of discipline must go out the window.

But you must make an effort, at times, to find the fun in what you are doing. Especially when you are doing it everyday.

What does that mean, practically speaking?

Ways to find your fun

I’m a big fan of traveling and visiting places I don’t know, even in my own city. I always find that pleasant, be it on a bike or while doing a long run. Even if it is in my own city, I enjoy taking detours that I have not taken before. That, for me, is fun.

To some, it could be always doing a very nice loop (walking, running, rollerblading, biking, etc.) in a beautiful park, or in a particularly nice residential area. Perhaps to notice doing it faster each time, but that should not be necessary.

To others it might be exercising on a stationary device (bike, treadmill, elliptical) while watching a favourite show, or a “guilty pleasure show you would not be caught watching otherwise, or listening to a podcast series on an interesting topic.

Perhaps it is to pick up again a sport you used to like doing when you were younger. Think back to then: How about badminton, tennis, basketball, water-polo? Sure, it might require finding a group to have fun with, but they exist, you just have to look for them.

It could also simply be a thought while you walk/run/cycle/swim: “I’ll be in better shape for the next time I… (insert activity for which you want to be more fit).” That’s OK as well, though it is better to find your fun in the situation you are in while exercising, not just in some future version of you.

The best fun, in my experience, comes from appreciating how your body feels as you exercise, and observing the environment around you. Especially in the environment, you can find ever changing and renewed fun everyday.

I also enjoy talking to people while I run. Especially long runs, or marathons. This is my fun, not necessarily the fun of those I talk to. You have to be careful about how you find your fun, because the fun invariably ends where someone else’s NOT FUN begins…

The best fun is solitary fun

The point is, no matter what it is, you need to find some.

Many resort to finding a training buddy, or joining some sort of team or “fitness” class. Nothing wrong with that. However, a word (or two) of caution:

When you become dependent on a partner, or on a group, for your fun, you risk stopping whatever activity it is that you’ve undertaken. For instance, if your partner does not show up. Or if the class comes to an end.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding fun within yourself. More to the point: within your own attitude towards the exercise and the world around you.

Fun for two

Fun with a partner is, as indicated earlier, acceptable.

More than that: It is an excellent way of having great fun. The closer the partner (spouse, close friend, etc.), the better the fun, and the more likely the fun will be reciprocal, and repeatable.

Be it chatting while walking/running/stationary something, or playing doubles tennis/badminton/etc., sharing a fitness-increasing activity can enhance it.

However, as noted earlier, you should not rely on an exercise partner: What if your doubles partner does not show up? What if the exercise itself causes tension with your significant other.

Better be careful, and make sure you can find fun by yourself.

Group fun

Group fun is also acceptable. It can be an excellent way of finding fun in the beginning.

But careful if you come to rely of the stimulus offered by a group (and/or a cheerleader-coach) for your fun: That’s a pretty much certain sign that your fun is teetering on the edge of not being enough to sustain your activity level.

As we all know, too much stimulation leads to a saturation, and an inability to find the fun in more mundane situations (like fun for two, or fun on your own).

To be sure, get started and use whatever means to find the fun at first, but make sure to branch off and find the fun on your own as soon as possible.

The key thing is to move a lot more.

Your body will enjoy that.

It’s up to you to bring your mind around to enjoying it as well. And that’s where discipline comes in…

Image from Pixabay.

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