Let’s put ‘fun’ back into our fitness vocabulary


womam smiling on yoga mat

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Isn’t it about time we had more fun working out? No matter what your level of physical activity is, if you’re not having fun during your workout, why bother doing it?

In her latest column entry in the March issue of Runner’s World, pro runner Lauren Fleshman discusses the “aha” moment” she had after she was forced to withdraw from the Olympic 5k Trials due to a broken foot: Have fun out there!

“The athletes who did the best weren’t the most robotic and hardcore,” Fleshman recalls in her column. “They were the ones who looked the most relaxed, were smiling and maybe even having fun.”

The concept of fun can be understandably foreign to pros like Fleshman, but it also plagues the rest of us who are working toward our own fitness goals. We stress when we don’t make that 6:30 spin class, beat ourselves up with shame when we don’t perform our absolute best in the sports we play, and sulk when the numbers on the scale don’t drop fast enough. All of this negativity could wipe out your fitness goals. Stop it!

Have fun out there.

This is the new rule that I am following now that I gave birth to my daughter, was cleared for exercise by my doctor and have gone back to playing and cross-training for roller derby, and started running again. Life is stressful and I love being physically active. I refuse to let my favorite pastimes stress me out as well.

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that I’m not working as hard as I used to. It means I’m not taking myself as seriously, I’m keeping a positive attitude and I’m accepting my body’s (temporary) limitations as I work it back up to where it was pre-baby.

So … how can we have fun?

It’s all about getting into the right headspace. If that means blasting your favorite cheesy 80s hair metal anthems, or wearing those distractingly bright leggings sitting in your drawer — do it! Sign up for a local event that will keep you focused and inspired. I’m a big advocate of “fun” runs that spew colorful powder or bubbles at you at the start line; where neon necklaces and sunglasses are encouraged; and runs that have their own theme (like tacky prom night). Not a runner? Try a Farm-to-Fork event or sign up for yoga on top of a mountain. The wackier the event, the better if it means that you’ll push yourself harder and have a blast in the process.

Do what you truly enjoy. Seriously, if you hate CrossFit, don’t buy a one-year membership to a CrossFit gym. Life is too short not to enjoy as much of it as possible. The more you love your workout, the more you’ll go back to it — and that leads to a happy, healthy life.

“At the intersection of pushing your limits and experiencing joy is where the magic happens,” Fleshman writes.

How do you keep your workouts fun? Comment below!