We all have favorites—color, food, movie, exercise, gerbil—and unfavorites. When it comes to fitness, we need to pay attention to both of those things. Doing our favorite form of exercise is the easy part. Quick, ask me if I want to ride my bike. Duh! Prioritizing kinds of exercise we like makes fitness fun, which is all to the good.
But those unfavorites can be useful, too. When my kids were little, I found myself saying, a lot, “You don’t have to like it, but you do have to do it.” In workouts, if we always work the same muscle groups, we are asking to look like, say, Popeye, with his strangely developed forearms and no other discernable muscle. We also set up a situation for our bodies that is unbalanced. That adds strain and tension. It can also lead to injury.
Often we don’t like a particular exercise because we aren’t good at it. It is okay not to be good at every single exercise. People do not expect football players to be good at synchronized swimming or sprinters to be good wrestlers. Let’s allow ourselves to explore, to try, and to learn. A sense of humor also helps, especially at those times when we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror or when we make an accidental loud noise. Sometimes letting go of having to be good at something makes it feel a lot better.