How to "Trick" Your Body into Exercising

Get moving
Get moving

I hate January. Not because it's cold and dreary (for that reason I only slightly loathe January) but because every day I have to hear my husband complain about the "New Year's" people at his gym. The ones who take "his" parking spot, use "his" locker, run on "his" treadmill and the ones who don't wipe their sweat from the equipment they just finished using. A month ago he was urging me to joint his gym, "You'd love it! There's classes! You could do your yoga regularly again!," only now I'm worried to set foot in "his" gym lest I be considered one of "those New Year's people" he dislikes so much.

I gave up on resolutions long ago, and I haven't had a gym membership in over four years. I have what could be considered "gym anxieties and insecurities." I don't really know what I'm doing, and when Cody tries to help me (bless his heart) it usually ends in an argument. I wouldn't mind going the personal trainer route, but it's so much money and I'm just not all that worried what size my pants are as long as they fit. Cody is currently training for his second half marathon, which is wildly admirable. When I arrived to meet him at the finish line last year I'll admit I was a little jealous and really amazed at the people crossing the finish line. Big people, little people, young people, and really old people. They all looked so happy at the end with their chocolate milk and big medals. I started to think "maybe," "perhaps," until I snapped back to reality and realized running is not something I enjoy - it never has been - and surely what I was experiencing was a runner's contact high. It's very similar to the way I feel when I visit the Humane Society and imagine myself playing with my three rescue dogs at the park. It doesn't take long to realize I am not a dog person, I am a cat person and would never enjoy having three dogs around.

I love to move my body, I love what it can do and I love what it is capable of. I love that at 30 years old I can still drop into the splits without a second thought and dance really well. But I was always turned off when moving became "exercise." Even a walk around the neighborhood with my girls is less enjoyable when I'm doing it as exercise. There are far more reasons I need to keep my body moving aside from the reasons most people first think of when they consider "reasons to exercise." I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 15, the only place I ever felt consistently happy and myself was on a dance floor. Put me in a giant room lined with barres and floor to ceiling mirrors? I feel home. I also deal with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) for several months out of the year and getting up and moving is one of the few things that can immediately and noticeably boost my mood. But where does one get up and move when it's single digit temperatures outside with two little kids in tow? Sure, a gym seems like a logical choice, but that involves getting everyone fed and dressed and prepared, and oh there's so much to prepare, when I could just stay here in my nice warm house and not have to walk through slush, get in a cold car and drive through snow to get there.

Related: 10 fat-burning exercises you can do anywhere

I'm pretty sure my spirit animal is one that hibernates, because come winter? Go away, it's time to sleep until the grass is green again.

My mom loves to do DVD workouts, to which I say "boooring." They're so repetitive and predictable. I've tried DVD strip workouts; those ended when my toddler tried to do them with me. I tried DVD ballet workouts; they were better, but not the real thing. DVD yoga? Eh, I need a change in my practice each week. DVD Zumba? Pffbt. Some of you are probably thinking I'm just a giant exercise pessimist. I know my husband feels that way. But I know there are others of you who feel the same way I do; I already spend so much time inside in the winter, why would I want to do the same repetitive DVD every day (I'm looking at you Jillian Michaels and your terribly soundtracked 20-minute workouts)? Cody and I did P90X for awhile, and I'll admit watching Tony Horton's biceps made those hour long workouts far more bearable.

Here's what I like: I like fitness games on my Xbox 360, especially the Zumba and Dance Central series. There is new content added regularly and by the time I burn myself out on one of the games? A new version is released. The other great part is that I can actually do them with my older daughter. My younger one even gets in the action every once in awhile, doing her own little toddler boogie in front of me. I like going on walks with my girls, Addie on her bike and Vivi in her stroller, bonus points if the sun is out and the sidewalks are cleared off. With the strangely mild spells of weather we've been experiencing we have had a lot more chances to enjoy outside than a typical winter. The last thing I like doing at home is hooping, which is really just a fancy term for Hula Hooping. I have an adult weighted hoop and I'm really good at it, Addie is a natural hooper as well and we'll have hooping standoffs in the living room to see who will quit first.

Will I ever join Cody's gym? Perhaps, but not until March when at least half of the New Year's people have dropped off. The important thing is that I get moving however I can, even if that means hooping in my living room while dinner is cooking or fitting in a little video game dance session during nap time. I don't want my girls to see me loathe and grump about exercise, leading them to believe it is something to be hated. I simply want to lead by example and let them realize for themselves how great they feel after doing a little moving, shaking and hooping of their own.

Another reason to keep moving in the winter? So your clothes fit come spring. Hibernating for humans comes with some emotional eating pounds which means tight pants come the thaw. Big no thanks on that one too.

- By Casey Mullins
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