When Exercise Isn’t Fun Anymore

kids on monkey bars Remember back in the day when you had recess in elementary school? It was always the highlight of the day, the time where you could run free outside, swing on the swings, play tag, or climb the monkey bars. Then after school, if you were lucky, you were allowed to play kickball outside with your friends until it got dark. Before you ever thought about being active or needing to exercise to be healthy, you were already doing it. But you were having fun!!

Things have changed. It seems to me there are few adults that I know who do fun active things because, well, they are just FUN. Most adults, especially those with body image or weight concerns appear to be “forcing” themselves to “exercise” with the intention of losing weight and/or changing their body. Not to be stronger, feel better or have more energy. This typically organized movement (aka exercise) sometimes involves a gym, a treadmill, a video or some other activity that the person does not look forward to (not like the monkey bars back in the day). Yes, there are many people who actually really love to going to the gym and actually have a blast doing their Zumba class. These are not the people I am referring to.

In her book “Body Wars: Making Peace with Women’s Bodies”, Dr. Margo Maine explains that particularly if you exercise excessively it could be a symptom of an underlying psychological condition. If you are not able to solve the issue yourself you may need the support of a therapist. She describes the following behaviors that may indicate a problem:

  • you judge a day as “good” or “bad” based on how much you exercised
  • you base your self-worth on how much you exercise
  • you never take a break from exercise no matter how you feel or how inconvenient it is
  • you exercise even though you are injured
  • you arrange work or social obligations around exercise
  • you cancel family or social engagements to exercise
  • you become angry, anxious or agitated when something interferes with your exercise
  • you sometimes wish you could stop but are unable to
  • you know others are worried about how much you exercise but don’t listen to them
  • you always have to do more (laps, miles, weights) and rarely feel satisfied with what you have done
  • you count how many calories you burn while exercising
  • you exercise to compensate from overeating

So, if any of these description ring true for you, just being aware is the first step. For more information on Dr. Maine’s book which includes many great resources for those struggling with body image concerns, check out this link:Body Wars

And remember, it is never too late to start going to the playground again!!!

3 thoughts on “When Exercise Isn’t Fun Anymore

  1. Pingback: Healthy Balanced Lifestyle: The Ultimate Guide | www.lifestylehitlist.com

  2. Anonymous

    I was a very sickly child who couldn’t run fast like other kids (asthma, and cerebral palsy), and didn’t have enough muscle strength to kick a ball well or manipulate the jungle gym. Kids didn’t pick me for teams, and I loathed recess. This isn’t said as a ‘woe was me’—its simply how it was.
    I still hate exercise as an adult; it’s really boring, I’m neither fast nor strong (even at my fittest), and my body is severely uncoordinated.
    Yes, my weight keeps creeping up; at this point I really don’t care. Movement is not something I like at all, and only do it to get point A to B.
    Exercise only works with bodies that work well enough.


    1. Thank you so much for your comment, such an important thing to remember that we are all so different in our abilities and experiences. I am sorry you had such a negative experience when you were in school. I am so fortunate to work part time in a school for children with all kinds of issues physically, socially, etc and it is an exceptional environment where activities are adapted so everyone can participate and nobody is made to feel left out. I know this is not the real world for most kids, and many people are totally turned off from moving because of what they went through. I think we all need to pick our battles, and we just can’t do it all! I just hope everyone thinks about moving in the right direction when it comes to health, no matter how small the step….drinking more water, adding in a fruit, getting to bed an hour earlier…..every little thing counts, even just one thing to some makes them feel better about what they are doing. Exercising isn’t for everyone, that is for sure. And getting from A to B is a good thing too! Thank you again : )


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