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5 Things to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

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We’ve all been there — you just don’t feel like exercising today. You know you should, you know it’s in your best interest, but your head’s just not in the game. Maybe you’re stressed or your body is telling you it’s not up to the task. Whatever it is, you’re just not into getting your exercise today.

It’s okay. This probably isn’t the first time this has happened and it most likely won’t be the last. Everyone has days like this, and they’re not a big deal. It’s a part of making training a part of your life. But, that doesn’t mean you should do nothing.

Every single day, you should be doing something that helps improve your life. If you’re curious about the Whole Life Challenge or are a past participant, then you’re looking to be great and live your best life.

With that being said, you can improve yourself even without following through on your scheduled exercise routine. Today, I’ll be talking to you about things you can do on days when you don’t feel like working out that will help make you the best “you” that you can be.

1. Go for A Long Walk or Hike

Sometimes what you need is to be outside, walking or hiking in nature. You can vary the speed, duration, and difficulty of the walk or hike depending on how you feel.

If you’re looking to take it easy, try walking in your neighborhood, through the local park, or hiking through some flat nature trails. If you’re looking to make things more challenging, try hiking a local mountain, difficult trails, or walk through the neighborhood while wearing a weight vest or loaded backpack.

Walking and hiking are not only great for the body, but they’re also one of the best forms of moving meditation. When your mind is busy, a good long walk can help to keep it calm and allow it to think freely in new ways.

2. Play a Sport or Participate in an Activity

If you’re not rundown, stressed, or tired, then maybe your blah feeling just means you need to switch up what you’re doing for the day. Sports and outdoor activities are a great way to get in a workout without being stuck in your scheduled routine.

5 Things to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

Getting together with friends or family and playing a game of soccer, basketball, baseball, or whatever you enjoy is one great option. If you’re not the sports kind of person, an activity like rock climbing, paddle boarding, or biking might be more your style. Find something that you enjoy, keeps your heart rate up, and doesn’t feel like work. Try mixing it into your weekly routine, and making it a part of your life.

3. Meditate

If you’re not up to doing anything physical, a long bout of mediation might be what you need. Mediation can help reduce stress, improve cognitive function, ease anxiety, and much more. It’s as important to train your mind as it is your body. In my opinion, most people should be practicing some form of mediation on a daily basis to help improve their overall well-being.

There are countless forms of mediation you can try, and it’s not a practice that is “one size fits all.” My suggestion would be to do a little research into the many forms available, take a class or lesson, or read a book about how to do it. Download an app or find a YouTube video if you want to start with a guided meditation. Try a different style out each week for a few weeks, and decide which works best for you.

4. Self-Massage or Self Myofascial Release

If you’re committed to improving your health, then chances are you’re exercising frequently, and if you’re exercising frequently, then regular massages are also a must. Massages have ton of benefits ranging from reducing stress, improving muscle function, increased mobility, and aiding in recovery. Of course, getting regular massages can be expensive. However, self-massage — or myofascial release — is not.

All you need to get started is a foam roller or PVC pipe, lacrosse or tennis ball, and enough floor space to lay down. Using those tools to roll out your muscles, work out tension, and break down knots in your tissues is a wonderful addition to your training routine. Self-massage will show your body some much needed love, and it should be a part of everyone’s training routine.

5 Things to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

5. Exercise Anyway

Maybe you’re not sore, stressed, or even tired. Maybe you’re just having a bad day or are simply feeling lazy. Maybe you should workout today.

My father once told me, “Sometimes you have your best workouts on the days you don’t feel like doing it.” In my experience, he’s right. Sometimes what you need is a workout to help boost your morale and make yourself a little stronger — inside and out.

You’re not always going to feel like training, but if there’s nothing actually wrong, then you might just need to make yourself do it anyway. Exercising when you don’t feel like it helps build inner strength, and afterwards you will also feel the benefits of a boost of positive endorphins. Sometimes, you just need to be a grown-up about things and do the stuff you don’t feel like doing.

Remember, you’re always going to have days when you don’t feel like training. The key is to know what to do on those days. Listen to your body: know when it’s time to step back and take it easy, know when it’s time to play a game or switch up your routine, and know when it’s time to do your planned workout anyway. Follow the options above and you’ll always be taking the steps toward becoming stronger — even on the days you don’t actually exercise.

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Timothy Bell
Timothy Bell is a fitness coach and writer from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Timothy has trained countless people using his unique minimalist approach to bodyweight training. Tim’s relaxed, no-nonsense, adaptable style of fitness allows his clients the ability to train anytime, anywhere, with little to no equipment needed. He prides himself on being able to deliver world-class training regardless of the location. Timothy firmly believes your training should be a part of your life, and not be your whole life.

Timothy’s goal is to help everyone he works with find a unique fitness and nutrition program that fits their lifestyle. He’s known for giving out tons of free advice, videos, and articles on his blog Timothy Bell Fitness.