Difficult exercise can be uncomfortable. However, it’s worth doing because it makes you stronger- physically, mentally, and psychologically. Here are four ways to make difficult exercise feel easier, whether you are an elite athlete who wants to push even harder or a beginner who wants to make exercise a habit:
1. Choose types of exercise that you enjoy.
There are so many different ways to work out. Choose exercise methods that you enjoy, and you will be able to train harder and for longer periods of time.
For example, I really dislike riding a stationary bike. It’s boring, and it hurts my back and neck to be hunched over. So, I primarily focus on jumping rope, trail running, and sprinting for my cardiovascular activity. By focusing on activities that I enjoy, my workouts feel easier- even though I train harder and longer than I would if I was riding a stationary bike.
2. Listen to loud, energizing music.
Brunel University psychologist, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, has spent more than twenty years studying the relationship between music and exercise. His research has found that the right music can significantly reduce the perception of effort and increase endurance by as much as 15%. 1
Songs with a faster beat (more than 120 beats per minute) are generally better for exercising at a higher intensity- when your heart rate will be higher. 2 Increasing the volume can also help make difficult exercise feel easier.
3. Work out with inspiring people.
There is a poster at my gym that states, “It’s easier to push yourself when other people are pulling for you.” This statement is true in many aspects of life, including when you are doing difficult exercise.
Working out with friends, family, a local workout group, or a great personal trainer can make difficult exercise feel easier than working out alone. Choose your workout companions carefully though. Exercise with people who lift you up, not people who pull you down.
4. Warm up properly before your workout.
Many people fail to warm up properly before they work out. This is one of the worst and most common exercise mistakes that you can make. A thorough warm-up helps you prepare mentally and physically for difficult exercise. It reduces your chances of injury and helps you train harder and for a longer period of time.
The best warm-up is a lower-intensity version of the exercise(s) that you plan to do that day. Start slow and easy, and build gradually. Target your entire body or the major muscles that you plan to use during your workout.
Summary and Final Thoughts
Difficult exercise makes you stronger- physically, mentally, and psychologically. Here are four ways to make difficult exercise feel easier:
- Choose types of exercise that you enjoy.
- Listen to loud, energizing music.
- Work out with inspiring people.
- Warm up properly before your workout.
Follow these tips, and you will be able to train harder and for longer, which will lead to better results.
- Carl Foster and John Pocari with Mark Anders, “ACE-Sponsored Research: Exploring the Effects of Music on Exercise Intensity,” ACE, accessed on June 11, 2017, https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednews/images/article/pdfs/MusicStudy.pdf.
- “Dr. Karageorghis reveals science behind Spotify Ultimate Workout Playlist,” Brunel University London, January 16, 2014, https://www.brunel.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/articles/Dr-Karageorghis-reveals-science-behind-Spotify-Ultimate-Workout-Playlist.
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About the author: Pete Leibman is the Creator of StrongerHabits.com. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, executive recruiter, athlete, and peak performance coach. His work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and CNNMoney.com, and over 500,000 people across the world have read his articles.