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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

When I was younger, the word “exercise” usually conjured up images of long runs or sessions on the treadmill, gasping for breath and feeling a stabbing pain with each inhale. Or, it meant 10-minute ab workouts from YouTube, led by fitness influencers who have the type of body I could only dream of. 

Safe to say that exercising wasn’t my favorite thing to do.

It wasn’t until I changed my idea about what exercising can be that I finally stopped dreading it, and even like it! Since I hated running and using the treadmill, I looked at other options. What kind of physical activity will get me moving, and more importantly, excited to exercise?

I never would’ve guessed, but strength training turned out to be the answer. I bought a set of dumbbells and looked through YouTube for weighted workout videos. I tried lots of different fitness channels and videos, some became favourites while others didn’t. In the end, I found myself starting to look forward to exercising every day. I spent hours looking through different videos and curating playlists of workouts for the week. Before, I couldn’t have ever imagined that I would enjoy the burn and exhaustion that comes with exercising, but I do. 

This changed my whole mindset about exercise; it no longer felt like punishment, but rather an enjoyable hour of my day. It became a way for me to relax, and I often went for a workout whenever I felt overwhelmed and stressed. Since I loved it so much, I managed to stick with it for months. I became consistent with exercising when before, I couldn’t manage two consecutive days of running. 

Strength training might not be for you. This just means you’ll have to find which activity is. It might be yoga and pilates, swimming, sports, dancing, or even just taking a walk in nature. The important thing is that the activity has to be something you’ll have fun doing, and look forward to doing multiple times a week. So, the next time you find yourself dreading a workout session, think about how you can change it up so you’re actually looking forward to it!

Sally Adil

U Ottawa '25

Sally is a third year Biomedical Science student at uOttawa. When she's not studying, she's reading romcoms and watching k-dramas.