How to Make Exercise Fun

Seniors in a group exercise class sitting on exercise balls and stretching their arms over their heads

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Exercise is one of the pillars of longevity. The benefits of exercise are many: heart health, weight management, better sleep, improved mood, more energy, and many more.

The biggest benefit? Reducing your risk of chronic illnesses. Through exercise, you’ll stay healthy longer, age well, and feel great.

Top Ways to Make Exercise More Fun

Getting started on a routine exercise habit is the hardest part. Use these ideas to put some more fun into your exercise routine.

Add a Friend

Find someone to be your exercise buddy. Don’t choose just anyone: Pick someone full of energy, fun, and who you look forward to spending time with. That way, you’ll want to exercise just to be with your friend.

Try Group Fitness Classes

Group classes are a way to meet new people, have an instructor to keep your form and effort reasonable and be motivated to go each time. Shop around for your class: Find an instructor who has both knowledge and enthusiasm.

You can gauge the social tone an instructor creates by watching if anyone talks to them before or after the class and if the other participants talk to each other.

Play Something

We use the word “play” in front of sports because they are fun. You “play” tennis, golf, soccer, softball, or any other sport. Find a sport that you used to “play” when younger and take it up again. Choose a team sport when possible to add some socialization.

Listen to Audiobooks and Podcasts

Get yourself a tiny music player and download some audiobooks or podcasts. Hundreds of free podcasts are available covering any topic you can imagine.

Audiobooks can also be easily downloaded. This way, when you think about exercising, you can be looking forward to “reading” the next chapter in your novel.

For safety reasons, if you are exercising outdoor, especially on the road running or cycling, make sure you either leave one ear open to surrounding sounds, or skip this tip altogether.

Buy New Shoes

Go exercise-fashion shopping. Start with your shoes. Go to a good running or fitness store and have a salesperson help you find the perfect shoe. Each type of shoe supports your foot differently, so you need to make sure you have the right shoe for you.

Bring your old running or exercise shoes; the wear marks will tell the salesperson how you run. After the luster wears off your shoes, go back for some new shorts, shirts, or other accessories.

Chart Your Stats

Thousands of people obsessively chart the stats of their favorite baseball, basketball, or football players and teams. Do the same for yourself. Create a wall chart and log your exercise activity, vital statistics (weight, measurements, best times, maximum lifts, etc.).

Chart every detail of your exercise routine for a month. You’ll feel great as the information gets up on the wall.

Change Your Routine

Don’t do the exact same exercise routine every day; mix it up. If you always run on the treadmill, run outside on a nice day. Take a week off your lifting routine and do a Pilates class instead. As soon as you feel your exercise routine becoming a rut, find something else to do. If you have a deck of playing cards around the house, use it to develop your own workout.

Measure, Don’t Weigh

The scale can be the worst factor when it comes to motivation. You may be working hard, but your weight just stays the same. Part of the reason may be that you are adding muscle while losing fat. Another reason is that it just takes time and changes in your diet to lose substantial weight.

So stop looking at the scale every day; instead, take some measurements.​ The tape measure will show change well before the scale does. Measure your chest, upper arms, stomach, waist, upper thighs, and calves. Be sure to measure in the same place each time. Add those measurements to your wall chart and watch the progress.

Distract Yourself With TV, Videos, and Music

Many people find that a bit of distraction helps get them through a workout. Make a playlist with inspirational music (change it weekly to give you some surprises).

Watch TV shows on the treadmill or put in your favorite movie and watch half of it each time you exercise. That way, you’ll be able to watch one or two movies a week.

You can do the same with TV shows; record your shows or rent a series and watch while exercising. You’ll look forward to your exercise just to find out what happens next in the show.


At the end of exercise (after your cooldown), give yourself 5 minutes of relaxation. Just lie down on your back and let your body sink into the floor. Close your eyes. Relax. Feel the effects of exercise on your body.

Look forward to the deep relaxation that can come after physical activity. You may find that you start exercising just to experience this feeling.

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. MedlinePlus. Benefits of Exercise.

  2. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. What are the bottoms of your shoes telling you?

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Losing Weight.

By Mark Stibich, PhD
Mark Stibich, Ph.D., FIDSA, is a behavior change expert with experience helping individuals make lasting lifestyle improvements.