My Top Excuses for Not Exercising
It was pretty quiet at the gym today.
And, while I so didn’t want to be there, by the time I finished my workout—albeit not one of my finest—I was glad I had made the effort.
Truth be told, me even getting there was a long shot given that the holiday break had made me lazy and messed with my routine.
Regardless, I really can’t take too much credit because my workout buddy provided much of the incentive for me actually getting my butt in the door.
Like most people these days, I know there are significant benefits to exercising. I know that physically active people are less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. I have also learned firsthand that exercising on a regular basis means I’m happier, less stressed, sleep better, and have more energy.
But, the reality is that there are a lot of things that make it difficult to exercise as much as I should. Whether it’s a lack of time, not enough energy or discipline, or simply not liking exercise, I’ve come up with every excuse in the book. On the plus side, over the years I’ve also come up with some strategies for overcoming my top five excuses.
1. I’m too busy.
This is likely everyone’s most common excuse but as someone once bluntly asked me, “What fits your busy schedule better—exercising an hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?”
My most important lesson was learning to make it a priority by seeing it as an investment in my own health.
It was also key for me to put it in my calendar. Keeping a log and sharing it somewhere public—even on Facebook—is another way of holding yourself accountable.
For some, working out at home with videos or exercise machines may be an option. Exercise doesn’t have to be a formal workout either. Try small lifestyle changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking at the far end of the parking lot, or exercising during commercials.
2. I’m too old.
No one is too old to work out. In fact, the older you get, the more important it is to make sure you exercise regularly. While it may mean you have to start slower, every bit of movement will help. If my 84 year old mother, who has never been a fan of exercising, can do aqua-size classes two times a week, you can too.
3. Its so boring.
The best way to avoid being bored is to find an activity that doesn’t bore you. If you don’t like to run, don’t do it. Bike, box, skate, swim, tap dance, or walk at the mall. If it makes exercise more enjoyable for you, its fine to watch TV or read while you’re on the exercise bike or treadmill—just don’t forget to keep moving. Even when you find something you enjoy, make changes every once in a while to keep you motivated. That’s why I’m shaking things up now with a weekly zumba class.
4. I’m just not motivated.
If you can’t do it on your own, find a workout buddy or sign up for group classes. You’ll be more motivated to show up and to work harder once you get there. It may also help to work out in the morning before you can talk yourself out of it and before your brain figures out what you’re doing. When I first started working out, I found it helped to lay out my workout clothes and running shoes on the floor beside my bed. But, if you’re not a morning person, just work out whenever you feel best.
5. I’m overweight and/or out of shape
Extra pounds and being out of shape aren’t an excuse for not exercising. Just be sure to start gradually and choose exercise that doesn’t involve a lot of pounding. Also know that while the first couple of times may be challenging, ultimately working out will give you much more energy.
If you don’t like to move because you’re uncomfortable with your weight, start with an activity that’s less public, like using an exercise video at home or walking in your neighbourhood.
Set small, attainable goals. If you exercise for five minutes a day for a week, you’ll feel good—and be more likely to want to try ten minutes a day the next week.
If all else fails, think of movement as medicine. Even if you don’t like it, it will make you feel better and just a little bit smug because you know that if you move it, you won’t lose it.Posted on 12-28-12
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