8 proven ways to become an 'exercise person'.

It’s official – you can teach yourself to love exercise.

Experts say it’s all about forming the right habits and training your brain to work in a particular way. Spoiler alert: there are no shortcuts or life hacks to becoming an exercise person. But we reckon some of these ideas will set you on the right path.

1. Get by with a little help from your friends

You’re 10 times more likely to show up at the gym if you’ve arranged to meet someone there, or complete a full lap of your running circuit if you’ve got a friend sweating it out beside you. In other words, if your workout session contains a social element, then it’s automatically less of a chore. Try to find a friend who has similar fitness or weight loss goals to you and plan a month’s worth of weekly workouts. Hold yourselves accountable by adopting the swear-jar principle: whoever cancels or reschedules a session has to buy the other person a drink.

2. Move to the music

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Music provides the good kind of distraction when it comes to working out. Research has consistently shown that listening to music distracts athletes from their ‘bodily awareness’ (i.e; pain) and puts them ‘in the zone’. Songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute (bpm) have the maximum effect on moderate exercisers and music with ‘high-groove’ qualities causes the brain to get excited and induce movement in the listener. Create playlists especially for workouts and be sure to include songs that you associate with a particular time, person or place as they have added motivational power.

3. Get back to your roots

Young woman running.
Get outside for some running inspiration. (Image via iStock)

Even if you’re a born-and-bred city girl, it’s good to reconnect with nature from time to time. Take your bike for a ride along the river or head to a park near you for an early morning yoga session. Organise a half-day hike at a national park with friends or forgo the treadmill for a run through your local neighbourhood. A 2001 study in Environmental Science & Technology showed that sweating outdoors was associated with increased energy and physical engagement, as well as improved mental wellbeing.

4. Be an ‘appy fitness person

There’s an app for just about anything in the field of fitness and health. Your smartphone can provide a daily reminder to check in on your progress and keep your motivation pumping. Some apps for fitness can link you up with a community of people; others will add a competitive edge to the process. Try a basic activity-tracking app like Argus if you preferred form of exercise is walking – if you have an iPhone 5s or higher, it has a built-in M7 motion co-processor designed for this exact purpose.

We've come up with the definitive list of the fitness accessories you need - and the ones you don't. (Post continues after gallery.)

5. Be a joiner

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Enter a fun-run to give yourself an extra incentive to stick to your workout plans. If it’s for charity, you’ll get bonus karma points. While it sounds like a cliché, joining your local running or biking club can be not only a great way to meet workout buddies but a fun way to explore new places and exercise patterns.

6. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Try a friend’s workout regime for a week. A switch-up in workout patterns not only ensures you don’t plateau, it helps you find new forms of exercise that you may not even have realised you enjoyed and you'll develop new skills.

Try a friend's workout regime for a week. (Image via iStock)

7. Go easy on yourself

While it may seem contrary to the aims of this list, if you imbue each workout with too much importance, your brain’s talent for self-sabotage could kick in and make you less likely to maintain a regular workout routine. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day in your regime – this will happen, and it’s okay. Plan out the maximum and minimum number of days per week that you want to exercise so that if/when you miss one, you can just reschedule it. Don’t hold back if you actually feel like exercising on an ‘official’ day off, either. The only rules are the ones you set for yourself.

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8. Be vain

Post workout glowing skin is just one of the benefits of exercising. (Image via iStock)

Think about the almost instantaneous hit of endorphins you get from a workout and the benefits to your mental health. Post-workout glowing skin doesn’t hurt, either. Think of exercise as uplifting, not optional, gruelling and stressful. Exercising today will, guaranteed, help you maintain your mood and improve your mental landscape so you can wake up feeling happier tomorrow.