Master your fear of working out!

Exercise is one of the best stress-reducers—and yet, it’s the one thing far too many of us don’t make time for. There are lots of reasons why (and we can be pretty creative with coming up with them!), but often the idea of working out can create enough stress that you skip it—and end up missing out on many physical and mental benefits.


Anyone who’s ever tried a new workout routine knows that even our best-laid fitness plans can give rise to undue stress, especially when we’re intimidated by them. Walking into a gym, especially if you’ve never been in one, can be stressful. You might give yourself a hard time for not being fit enough or for being out of shape, and then start dreading exercise. But this has more to do with your lack of self-compassion than fitness itself.

However, the mental health benefits are as critical as the physical ones, and well worth the effort. In fact, exercise was recently designated an appropriate treatment for major depression, with new research showing that regularly working out can lessen depressive symptoms in as little as four weeks.

The key thing is to set realistic fitness goals so that the benefits of your routine outweigh any of its attendant stress. A great deal of stress can come from setting a goal and not living up to it. The key thing to focus on is to set the right goals based on your current lifestyle as throwing yourself into an over ambitious routine could mean you end up demotivated and giving up completely.

Here’s some ways to make fitness a little less stressful and build it into your life:

  1. Hold back the negative thoughts.If you think you’ll never be able to do a perfect plank, run a marathon, or whatever it is that you aspire to fitness-wise, well, the fact is you won’t. Our own thinking traps stop us in our tracks before we have a fair shot at succeeding at something. Don’t put artificial limits on your potential. Remember that you can build up to just about anything as long as you give it time.
  2. Find something you truly enjoy.  When exercise is just another thing to check off your to-do list, it adds to your stress levels. You’ve got to see exercise as a retreat from your stresses, or as an escape or remedy. There are so many ways to get moving, so explore them, and have fun in the process.

  3. Know your workout time-zone. The time of day that you choose to workout will influence whether it sticks. If you’re not a morning person then don’t force yourself to go to a class at 6am. Finding your right time of day can be hard initially, especially as you balance other priorities, but it’s ultimately stress-relieving to know what will work for you long-term.

If you would like more help and information on setting goals and making exercise a non-stressful addition to your lifestyle contact us at

You can do this!