Balanced Living

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Making Aerobic Exercise Simple & Fun

cross country skiing

Many experts say you should calculate your target heart rate and take your pulse frequently during aerobic exercise to make sure you are getting an adequate cardiovascular workout, and many gadgets are available to help you do this. I do not find this to be necessary, and I feel it can make workouts less fun. If exercise is not fun or if you do not see benefits from it fairly quickly, your motivation to continue may erode. If a period of aerobic exercise does not leave you feeling that you have labored, with your heart beating faster and your breathing stimulated, you have not done it vigorously enough. If it leaves you collapsed on the ground painfully gasping for breath, you have overdone it. I think most people can figure out the right level of intensity without taking their pulse, consulting tables and charts, and worrying about whether they are in the target heart rate zone.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Fitness - It's never too late to get fit! Promote a healthy weight, increase your energy, encourage better rest and feel great with a regular exercise program designed for your needs and capabilities. The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online plan has all you need - sign up today and get 14 days free!

Making aerobic exercise more fun and less boring is your greatest challenge, because if you fail to do this, you are likely to let your program slide before it becomes established as a good habit. Let me tell you about some of the ways I've found to make workouts more fun. One is to exercise outdoors in interesting surroundings. If you run, walk, or cycle in a visually interesting environment, your concentration on the sights around you will take a lot of the drudgery out of that thirty minutes. Another is to exercise with a companion. Aerobic time spent with a friend goes much faster than the same time spent alone.

If you are exercising indoors, experiment with doing it to music. Having pleasant, stimulating sounds to attend to can be as helpful as beautiful sights, with the added advantage of rhythm to synchronize your movements. Of course, you can take an mp3 player and headphones along when you go outside. I have listened to books on tape while exercising and have gotten so absorbed in the narrative that I have gone past thirty minutes without noticing. If you have an exercise machine at home, try reading while using it or put it in front of the television or turn on the stereo. I know some people who listen to foreign language lessons while pedaling their stationary bikes.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of play in relation to exercise, whether aerobic or nonaerobic. Ideally exercise should be fun, not drudgery, and you should be able to do it without being conscious of the passage of time. If you are always counting the minutes till you can stop, you are not having fun. Young children will wrestle playfully for hours, developing strength, coordination, and agility while getting a terrific aerobic workout and having the time of their lives. It is a pity that more grown-ups don't do the same. I try to give grown-ups permission to play in this way and have even taught workshops in noncompetitive (that is, fun) wrestling. It beats pedaling a stationary bike any day. Do not get locked into dull routines in classes and clubs with fancy equipment. Use these facilities if they help you develop good exercise habits, but also find ways to increase your activity that are creative and playful, using the resources of your own environment.

Read more articles and information on healthy exercise in Dr. Weil's Exercise and Fitness section.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here