June 13, 2021

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How Long It Takes to Start Enjoying Exercise, According to Reddit

3 min read

man doing lunges in his living room

Photo: Gorodenkoff (Shutterstock)

Exercise isn’t always fun, and if you’re doing it to benefit your health or to support a weight-loss goal, it may feel like an awful chore. “People who enjoy exercise, when and how did you start to like it?” u/DaylightChampion asks in one of many reddit threads on the subject. Here are some of the answers.

If often takes a few months to start enjoying exercise

Among people who named a specific period of time, 2-4 months seemed to be a common answer. Weightlossrant2017 pinpoints 80 days:

I’ve exercised for 100 days straight now – 15 minutes of quick walking up steps + walking and yoga. It took me like 80 days before I went from “ I have to do this” to “ ok this is fun I feel better after i get it in”

Many of the answers highlight consistency within that early period. After a few months, you’ve proven to yourself that you can stick with the routine, and you’ve also likely had enough time to see some results. asapwaffle writes:

I used to hate it and now I absolutely love it. The turning point was about 4 months of consistent exercise. Don’t get me wrong… I am not like ohyeah! 90 minutes of cardio this is a BLAST, but once you start to see the results of your hard work you become hooked. You are basically conditioning your mind to do something that is not enjoyable for a reward (being fit,body looking better). If your mind associates the “not enjoyable” action with the reward..the action slowly becomes enjoyable because of the reward attached to it.

It helps when you do it every day

Many redditors highlight having a daily habit, which gives you a lot of wins at first, even if those wins are just checkmarks on a calendar. A_Big_Rat writes:

When you start doing it everyday, you become proud of yourself. That pride first thing in the morning made the rest of my day better. I became addicted to feeling good, then that doubled when I began to see results.

You’ll know you made it when you start to miss it

LadySmuag writes that she didn’t notice a particular moment when she started to like exercise, but about two months in she had a realization:

Last week I missed three days in the gym because of my crazy work schedule and I felt irritable and grumpy because of it. My mood immediately improved once I was back in the gym.

You’ll enjoy exercise when you can work out for longer

Several redditors noted that longer workouts are the ones that are more enjoyable, and that it takes time to get fit enough to be able to do those longer workouts. cpmoellering started running on a military base, and writes:

When I got to where I could run for an hour non-stop, I really started to enjoy it. I wasn’t fast, but just to get out and go was a great way to clear my mind.

You’ll enjoy exercise when you aren’t in pain anymore

The early days of an exercise routine can be difficult, especially if you’re not used to moving your body and everything kind of hurts. But getting stronger and more fit helps your body to feel better. OriginalCompetitive astutely observes:

A big part of what makes exercise enjoyable is the wonderful feeling that your body is strong enough to run, or swim, or bike, or whatever. It’s not the pain – it’s the realization that what should be painful really isn’t.

While many redditors also suggested finding a form of exercise you love (team sports? Dance videos?), many of the people who successfully learned to like exercise didn’t always enjoy it at first. They often got hooked on the habit, and then the results, and didn’t necessarily love (or even like) exercise until after that point. And it often took months to go through that process.

As our parenting editor Meghan Walbert learned, you can make a lot of progress toward liking an exercise (in her case, running) in a month. It’s okay if you don’t love exercise on your first day; sometimes things take time.

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