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    How To Get Into Working Out As An Adult If You Hated High School Sports

    Written by someone who's been there, truuuuust me.

    It can be hard to get into regular exercise when, ya know, maybe you didn't exactly try too hard in your high school P.E. class.

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    Maybe you got embarrassed at being the last to be picked for kickball, so you stopped trying. Maybe you wanted to use the 45 minutes to actually hang with your friends, even if it meant getting yelled at for walking too slowly on the track. Or maybe the only activity offered was climbing a rope in front of everyone and being shamed when you couldn't (BTW, do people actually do that or is it only in movies??)

    Whatever the reason, just because you loathed gym class with every fiber of your being as a teen doesn't mean you're destined to hate all forms of exercise forever. And if you find a routine, you might actually end up loving it!

    So here's how to dive into it:

    1. Start small.

    me doing one bicep curl at the gym

    Going from being pretty sedentary to a die-hard CrossFit enthusiast right away is a big leap. Instead, just start with taking longer walks, doing light cardio on bikes or ellipticals, or going to a beginners yoga class. All of these things can still make a noticeable impact on your mental and physical wellbeing, even if they're not as easily quantifiable as running 13 miles or climbing a V5.

    2. Make the change ASAP instead of waiting for a time like New Year's.

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    No shade on any future resolutions, but the average time people spend at the gym after January 1 is...a few weeks. (Also, it gets SO PACKED and will give you an inaccurate idea of what the normal gym is actually like.) Same goes for weight-focused things like "bikini season" that are rooted in shame over what actually feels good to you.

    Instead, the moment you think you want to work out more, just go for it as soon as you can. Waiting for a specific time period adds more pressure to be perfect or give up, which makes it soooo much easier to do the latter.

    3. Pick something that doesn't feel like exercise.

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    Things like rock climbing, pole dancing, aerial yoga, and '00s pop music video choreo are a few examples of still working out without feeling bored as hell. Seriously, whatever you want to do to get your body moving, there is probably a class for it.

    4. Invest in a gym membership and decent equipment, even if you're only starting out.

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    The logic of not wanting to spend money on something you may not commit to makes sense...until you realize that not taking your newfound interest in exercise seriously doesn't give you a fair shot at keeping it up. So sign up for a Planet Fitness or similarly budget-friendly gym. Get new running shoes if you haven't swapped them since actual high school. Buy a set of small starter weights you can easily stash under your bed. It can be worth it!

    5. Set a (reasonable!) plan for yourself you can't easily get out of.

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    Like: signing up for a 5K at the end of the month. Sure, you can technically walk it, but after the $40 admission fee, you might be a little less inclined to half-ass it.

    6. Enlist a friend (or five.)

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    Having someone who'll be waiting outside your apartment at 7a.m. even if you don't want to roll out of bed is a great motivator. But also, it turns exercising into a social activity, which can (and should) include treating yourself to a nice dinner after.

    7. Spend time curating that playlist or podcast queue.

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    If you're someone who is super dependent on music or entertainment of some kind when you work out, then a snoozy ep or too-slow track can seriously throw you off. So take your time finding a lineup that works for you, or search for playlists on Spotify.

    8. Track how you feel over time.

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    People say working out makes you feel better, but you feel...the same? Well, the change is usually small and gradual. You won't necessarily feel a night-and-day difference until it becomes a routine, and then you might be one of those people who says things like "ugh if I don't run in the mornings I'm a MONSTER."

    One good way to realize it's all worth it? Write it down. Quickly journal your overall mood on days you work out versus days you don't, and see how you feel! Bet there'll be a difference.

    And, most importantly: don't give up!

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    You might get called out in your spin class for riding too slow or feel like you have to gingerly lower yourself to pee because your Barre class left you that sore. It sucks, but it's also kind of humbling. So long as you're not overdoing it, risking injury, or dealing with a particularly insensitive instructor, a little discomfort can be part of the process.

    Powering through an annoying feeling is one of the best lessons of working out–and it starts extending towards the rest of your life, too. Suddenly all the things you used to struggle with might feel way, way more doable. It's worth the wait (and the leg cramps), so keep at it!

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