Overcoming Common Exercise Barriers – THE EXCUSE LIST BLAH BLAH BLAH
Health and fitness make sense. Yet, when faced with actually being more physically active, most people can come up with scores of excuses, concerns, and worries. These barriers can prevent us from even taking the first step. Here are some common barriers and possible solutions:
“I don’t have enough time.”
Everyone has the same amount of time. We just choose to use it differently. It’s a matter of priorities. Some find a lot of time for television, but nothing to spare for fitness. It doesn’t really take a lot of time. Even 5 minutes a day is a good start, and much better than no physical activity. You may be able to combine activities, like watching television while pedaling a stationary bicycle, or arranging “walking meetings” to discuss business or family matters.
“I’m too tired.”
When you’re out of shape, you feel listless and tend to tire easily. Then you don’t exercise because you’re tired, and this becomes a vicious cycle. You have to break out of the “too tired” cycle. Regular physical activity increases your stamina and gives you more energy to do the things you like. As you get back into shape, you will recognize the difference between feeling listless or “out of shape” and feeling physically tired.
“I’m too old.”
You’re never too old for some type of physical activity. No matter what your level of fitness is or your age, you can always find some ways to increase activity, energy, and sense of wellbeing. Fitness is especially important as we age.
“I’m too sick.”
It may be true that you are too sick for a vigorous or strenuous exercise program, but you can usually find some ways to be more active. Remember, you can exercise 1 minute at a time; several times a day. The enhanced physical fitness can help you better cope with your illness and prevent further problems.
“I get enough exercise.”
This may be true, but for most people, their jobs and daily activities do not provide enough sustained exercise to keep them fully fit and energetic.
“Exercise is boring.”
You can make it more interesting and fun. Exercise with other people. Entertain yourself with a headset and musical tapes or listen to the radio. Vary your activities and your walking routes.
“Exercise is painful.”
The old saying, “No pain, no gain” is simply wrong and out-of-date. Recent evidence shows significant health benefits can come from gentle, low-intensity enjoyable physical activity. You may sweat, or feel a bit short of breath, but if you feel more pain than before you started, take a close look at what you are doing. More than likely you are either exercising improperly or you’re overdoing it for your particular condition. Talk with your instructor, therapist, or doctor. You may simply need to be less vigorous or change the type of exercise that you’re doing. All exercise programs should suit your current sate of fitness, but provide you with continuous challenges.
“I’m too embarrassed.”
For some, the thought of donning a skintight, designer exercise outfit and trotting around in public is delightful, but for others it is downright distressing. Fortunately, as we’ll describe, the options for physical activity range from exercise in the privacy of your own home to group social activities. You should be able to find something that suits you.
“I’m afraid I’ll have a heart attack.”
In most cases, the risk of a heart attack may be greater for those who are not physically active than for those who exercise regularly. But if you are worried about this, check with your doctor. Especially if your illness is under control, it’s probably safer to exercise than not to exercise.
“It’s too cold, it’s too hot, it’s too dark, etc.”
If you are flexible, and vary your type of exercise, you can generally work around the changes in weather that make certain types of exercise more difficult. Consider indoor activities like stationary bicycling or mall walking.
“I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it right or be successful. I’m afraid I’ll fail.”
Many people don’t start a new project because they are afraid they will fail or not be able to finish it successfully. If you feel this way about starting an exercise program, remember two things. First, whatever activities you are able to do — no matter how short or “easy” — will be much better for you than doing nothing. Be proud of what you have done, not guilty about what you haven’t done. Second, new projects often seem overwhelming — until we get started and learn to enjoy each day’s adventures and successes.
Perhaps you have come up with some other barriers. The human mind is incredibly creative. But you can turn that creativity to your advantage by using it to come up with even better ways to refute the excuses and develop positive attitudes about exercise and fitness.