News and info hub

4 exercises for people who hate exercise

Adding physical activity to your lifestyle is an important part of overall health and wellbeing, but what do you do if you hate exercise? These tips might help.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults aged between 18–64 should do: 

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week; or 
  • at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week; or 
  • an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.

How should you exercise?

While many people recognise the need to include exercise in a healthy lifestyle, there are time pressures, family responsibilities and a genuine dislike for exercise that can derail good intentions.

Ideally, adults should be doing a combination workout that includes the four exercise types:

  1. Aerobic (also called cardio or endurance), which increases your breathing and heart rate and is essential for cardiovascular health. Examples are brisk walking, swimming, cycling and dancing – while maintaining an acceptable physical distance from others.

  2. Strength builds muscle, which is particularly significant as a person ages and loses muscle mass. Examples are weight training, as well as exercises such as squats, push-ups and lunges, which can be safely performed at home.

  3. Flexibility keeps your body nimble, helps maintain a wide range of motion and helps the body to be less prone to injury. Examples are yoga and various stretches, which you can also do in the comfort of your home.

  4. Balance training is particularly important for older adults because core strength can help prevent falls. Examples are heel-to-toe walking and balancing on one foot.

Advice from a fitness expert

Nzali Bangisi is a biokineticist at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. She shares some recommendations to help you get creative about your workout routine.

Instead of running, try HIIT (High-intensity Interval Training)
‘This is an explosive way of exercising that uses short bursts of intense exercise, followed by short periods of recovery,’ explains Nzali. ‘While this kind of exercise depends on your fitness level, it generally works on a 2:1 ratio – intense repetitions of an exercise for 30 seconds and recovering for 15 to 20 seconds.’

Benefits: ‘HIIT is a great way to burn kilojoules and save time. Since it’s an exercise that promotes fat-burning exercise, weight loss can be achieved.’

Instead of lifting weights, try resistance training
‘Using your body weight to exercise is arguably one of the easiest and most underrated forms of exercise. In body-weight training, the body’s own weight is used to act against gravity, giving you the necessary resistance needed to strengthen your muscles. Resistance bands are easy to use and an affordable piece of equipment. They add so much versatility to your workout, so you won’t get bored.’

Benefits: ‘One of the major benefits is that it’s cost-effective and can be done at home. It’s also good for beginners and reduces the risk of injury. The exercises to do at home include push-ups, front squats, lunges, donkey kicks and shoulder presses.’

Instead of yoga, try Pilates
‘Pilates is a form of exercise inspired by callisthenics. It’s designed to enhance mind-body movement through a series of exercises to influence and improve flexibility, muscle tone and strength, muscular control, breathing and core centering, spinal posture and controlled rehabilitation of joints.’

Benefits: ‘The exercises are slow and controlled, so there’s less chance of injury. This form of exercise also offers different intensities and equipment modalities, so there’s enough variety. The exercises can also be incorporated into a stretch regimen.’

Instead of walking heel-to-toe indoors, try a brisk walk
‘Balance exercises on wobble boards, foam mats and BOSU balls are all great, but walking takes you outside and can improve balance, coordination and proprioception, which is the awareness of your body position relative to the space around it. If you walk in different terrains, for example, on grass or along the pavement, it changes your step grip and heightens awareness.’

Benefits: ‘There are countless studies that support the whole-body benefits of walking. Getting outside is therapeutic and you don’t have to constantly think about what you’re doing. You can just enjoy the experience. Remember to wear the right shoes, apply sunscreen, wear a sunhat and a cloth mask, and you’re good to go.’

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a healthcare professional. E&OE. Life Healthcare Group Ltd does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by the reader as a result of the information provided.