“I hate exercise.”

“You’d never catch me in a gym.”

Someone tells me this every other day (usually in a proud and defiant tone) and I have to admit that my heart sinks a little when they do.

We go to work every day. For most of us it’s because we need to, not because we want to. The financial consequences are what drive us, otherwise we and our family end up skint.

When it comes to health, we’re not accountable to anyone and there aren’t any immediate consequences. If we choose not to exercise then what harm is it doing? Old age seems so far down the line that it’s not worth thinking about, and will it really make that much of a difference?

Well yes it will. You’ll live a longer, healthier life if you keep yourself active on a regular basis. Doing even some basic resistance training will keep you much stronger as you hit your 40s, 50s and 60s. Your risk of major illnesses will be reduced and recovery time much quicker. While others your age are talking about their list of ailments (many of them self-inflicted lifestyle choices), you’ll be bounding up the stairs without getting out of breath.  It’s the best insurance policy you will ever have.

And it’s so hard to imagine when you’re in your 20s and 30s. You can burn the candle at both ends, eat and drink what you want, but at some point it does catch up with you, and by then the bad habits are much harder to change.

As much as you like to tell yourself that exercise is not for you, maybe you could try to re-evaluate what you want your life to look like in the years to come. Look at the family members around you for inspiration. See the aunt that’s still climbing hills in her 60s or the grandad that’s playing 5 a side football in his 70s, or the parents in their 40s who are away on cycling trips with their teenage kids.

Look at exercise as a means to an end and enjoy the huge physical and mental benefits it brings rather than focus on the short term discomfort. Who knows, we might catch you in the gym one day.