Cat copying young woman in scorpion pose as Scorpio zodiac sign
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Regardless of what it does for your weight, exercising regularly is one of those good habits we should all aim for. The benefits of working out are endless. It helps you sleep better at night; helps manage your stress and anxiety; and reduces your risk for heart disease, some cancers, and even arthritis. You can’t deny how good all those endorphins feel as they’re rushing through your system.

However, we appreciate that working out isn’t always the most fun thing to do in your spare time, especially when you could be out having a cocktail with your friends instead. It’s a habit you have to set time aside for, because it’s easy to brush off when life gets in the way.

Once you’ve figured out a way to fit it into your routine, though, there are a few things you can do to liven up your exercise time, which will only make you want to keep coming back to it. Despite what you may have experienced in your fitness past, working out doesn’t have to be a chore. We’ll give you a few pointers on how to spice things up, because there’s nothing more tragic than working a sweat up with a frown on your face.

1. Keep in mind that exercising doesn’t only mean going to the gym.

As long as you’re getting your heart rate up, moving your body, and potentially working up a sweat, you’re exercising. That could include a whole range of physical activities that have nothing to do with a gym membership — walking and playing with your dog (or your friend’s dog), having amazing sex, dancing all night with your friends. The list goes on.

Don’t limit yourself to spin classes or lifting weights when you’re trying to be active. Similarly, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it to the gym. There are all kinds of things you can do with your friends over the weekend that can replace your missed boot camp time.

2. Find a form of fitness you genuinely like doing.

Some people love weight lifting, others are into yoga. Some people hate yoga, while others are obsessed with hiking. Find whatever form of exercise best suits you, regardless of what the people around you are doing. Don’t get caught up in the latest fitness trends either. Just because it’s being advertised at every turn doesn’t mean it has to be the exercise routine for you.

Try out a few different things until you settle on the workout you love most — and whatever it turns out to be, don’t be embarrassed by your preference. Who cares if your bestie thinks Zumba is the most boring thing in the world? If it works for you, own it.

3. Mix it up!

Boredom is your downfall when it comes to exercising. If you get sick of doing it, you simply won’t do it anymore. Even if you’re really into barre workouts at the moment, add some variety to your workout plan. Not only will it keep you interested in doing all the physical activity, but it will also keep your body guessing, so you’ll be fitter than ever.

Maybe choose to do strength training once or twice a week, mixed up with yoga and running. Pick your favorites, and make a diverse workout schedule that keeps you and your body excited about exercising.

4. Find friends to exercise with.

Kill two birds with one stone: Catch up with your BFF about everything that happened over the holidays, and work up a sweat along the way. You know how time seems to pass so quickly when you’re hanging out with your best friends? Well, the same thing happens when you exercise together. You won’t even realize how hard you’re working or how fast you’re running when you’re with a friend.

Additionally, you can motivate each other to step out of your comfort zone and reach for a fitness goal you wouldn’t have had the guts to go for on your own. Life is always better with your bestie by your side — the same goes for working out.

5. Don’t concern yourself with numbers and statistics.

It doesn’t matter how much you weigh, what size your pants are, or how slim your waist is. Fitness personality Kayla Itsines (creator of Bikini Body Guide) regularly post pictures on her Instagram that prove how little these numbers matter in the world of exercising. What matters so much more is how you feel and how your level of fitness is improving. If you obsess over the silly statistics, you’ll miss out on the fun of working out in the first place — so ditch your scale and just get moving.

6. Invest in some comfortable shoes and clothes.

You look cute, you feel cute. Nothing’s wrong with investing in some fashionable workout clothes. If anything, it will just make you more excited to actually get to the gym. In addition to looking good, you’ve got to be comfortable if you have any chance at building a lasting relationship with fitness. Find shoes you can walk and run in without any pain, and only get the workout pants that feel comfortable down there no matter what kind of movement you throw yourself into.

7. Make yourself a few fun playlists.

Compile your best playlists of pop, hip-hop, and rock, and suddenly your workout time turns into a fun respite from your busy day at work. Listening to music can motivate you just as much as it can put you in a good mood. Trust us, working out in silence is no fun, so let your inner diva run free as you sweat your way through 2017.