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When you think back to your childhood P.E. classes, what do you remember?

Many of us smile about the silly hours we spent playing with that mysterious parachute but then grimace over the annual timed fitness tests… So. Much. Running.

If you’re athletic—and always have been—remembering P.E. may boost your heart rate a bit as you channel your competitive spirit. But if you’re not athletic—and never have been—you may be feeling defeat all the way down to your tippy-toes.

That feeling is the textbook definition of “irony” as it’s been proven over and over again that exercise is good for mental health! (Maybe it was something about being graded on it that made us feel sad.)


Fortunately, there are no P.E. requirements for grownups. We are no longer forced to break into a sweat mid-day and then go about our lives as if we didn’t just have a rubber ball bounced off our faces during a seriously unfair round of Battle Ball. And that means, we non-athletes can now reframe our ideas about exercise around doing things we enjoy when we can enjoy them!

 5 Ways to Reframe Your Thoughts About Exercise

  1. If you’re currently thinking, “I’m not athletic and I hate everything about sports and exercise.”

    Change that thought to, “Exercise is not a competition.” Approach your developing exercise habit as a path to a healthier body and mind. Self-improvement is not a competition! Exercise can be for you and you alone.

  2. If you’re currently thinking, “I don’t have time to exercise every day.”

    Change that thought to, “I can exercise every other day or when I have time.” We benefit from just 30 minutes of exercise per day even if we only manage it a few days per week. Plus, that 30 minutes can be broken up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions. There’s no need to overcommit to a lengthy and complicated workout session.

  3. If you’re currently thinking, “I can’t afford a gym membership.”

    Change that thought to, “I don’t need one! I can exercise almost anywhere.” Brisk walks in the park are great for getting fresh air, but you can walk around your neighborhood, too. If you prefer to stay indoors, there are affordable options for at-home gear like treadmills and bikes so you can get moving in the comfort of home.

  4. If you’re currently thinking, “Exercise is so boring.”

    Change that thought to, “I think I might like yoga.” or “I’ll jump rope while my favorite show is on.” Starting an exercise plan is an opportunity to try some new things. You may need to discover what you like! And you can always tie your exercise time to another activity like watching a game show or catching up on the news.

  5. If you’re currently thinking, “I hate getting up early to exercise,” or “I’m too tired after work.”

    Change that thought to, “I can exercise any time I want to!” There are NO rules for your personal exercise plan except the ones you make for yourself. Try exercising at different times of the day to see what works best for you.

There are also no rules about waiting until the first of the year to start getting healthier. We can start a couple of weeks late, or next month even. And there’s no need to give up the whole idea because we missed a day—or a week. No matter the reason we stopped, we can just start again. And no matter the reason we learned to hate it, we can approach it with our now grownup perspectives and at least learn to appreciate it.