Fitness Barrier: Not Having Enough Time to Exercise
Use a little creativity to get the most out of your time.
- Get up 30 minutes earlier. If your days are packed and the evening hours are just as hectic, get up 30 minutes earlier twice a week to exercise. Once you've adjusted to early-morning workouts, add another day or two to the routine.
- Rethink your weekend rituals. Your Saturday matinee with the kids or best friend could be reborn as a Saturday bike ride, trip to the pool or hiking.
- Squeeze in a few 10-minute walks throughout the day. If you don't have time for a full workout, don't sweat it. Shorter spurts of exercise spaced throughout the day offer benefits, too.
- Park in the back row of the parking lot. Or park a few blocks away and walk quickly to your destination.
Fitness Barrier: Too Lazy to Exercise
If the thought of a morning jog makes you tired, try these thoughts on for size:
- Work with your nature, not against it. Plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic — or at least not quite so lazy.
- Set realistic expectations. If your mental bar is too high, you might give up without even trying. Start with a walk around the block. Don't give up if you feel worn out. Take another walk around the block tomorrow. Keep it up, and eventually you'll no longer feel worn out.
- Schedule exercise as you would a meeting or appointment. Schedule times for physical activity, and make sure friends and family are aware of your commitment. Ask for their encouragement and support.
Fitness Barrier: Too Tired to Exercise after Work
Without exercising, you'll have less energy. Physical activity is one of the best ways for increasing your energy.
- Try exercising in the morning. Hop on the treadmill or stationary bicycle for 30 minutes while you listen to the radio or watch the morning news. Or step outside for a brisk walk.
- Be prepared to workout. Put workout clothes on top of your dresser. Keep a full bottle of water in the fridge. Have an exercise video queued up and ready to go when you get home at night.
- Make lunchtime exercise time. Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk, and take a brisk walk during your lunch break.
- Go to bed earlier. Running on empty is no way to face a full day. Go to bed earlier to make sure you're getting enough sleep.
Fitness Barrier: Self-Conscious about How You Look While Exercising
If you feel uncomfortable exercising in the presence of others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video or an activity-oriented video game. Consider investing in a stationary bicycle, treadmill or other piece of home exercise equipment. As you become healthier and more at ease with exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.
Fitness Barrier: Exercise is Boring
It's natural to grow weary of a repetitive workout day after day, especially when you're going it alone. But exercise doesn't have to be boring.
- Exercise with relatives, friends, neighbors or co-workers. Enjoy the camaraderie, and offer encouragement to one another when the going gets tough.
- Vary the routine. Rotate among several activities — such as swimming, walking, and cycling — to help keep you on your toes while working different muscle groups.
- Check out sports leagues or exercise classes at a local health club or recreation center. You’ll learn new skills while getting a great workout.
- Think of exercise as an activity. If you choose activities you enjoy, you're more likely to stay with it.
Fitness Barrier: Not Athletic Enough
Natural athletic ability isn't a prerequisite to physical activity. Try something simple, such as a daily walk or team up with friends who have similar athletic ability. Don't worry about becoming a superstar athlete or joining the hard-bodied athletes at the fitness club. Simply focus on the positive changes you're making to your body and mind.
Fitness Barrier: Afraid of Hurting Yourself if You Exercise
If you're nervous about injuring yourself, start off on the right foot.
- Try an exercise class for beginners. You'll learn the basics by starting from scratch.
- Consider working with a personal trainer. Get a customized fitness tutorial from a certified expert, who can monitor your movements and point you in the right direction.
- Keep the exercise simple. Start with a simple walking program. As you become more confident in your abilities, add new activities to your routine.
Fitness Barrier: Tried to Exercise in the Past and Failed
You can't see it when you’re reducing your risk of diabetes or lowering your cholesterol, but that doesn't mean you aren't doing yourself a great favor. Re-evaluate what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes.
- Set realistic fitness goals. Don't promise yourself you're going to work out for an hour every day, and then get down on yourself when you fall short. Stick with goals you can more easily achieve, such as exercising 20 minutes a day, three days a week for the first month.
- Start small. Start small and build up to more-intense workouts when your body is ready.
- Remember why you're exercising. Use your personal fitness goals as motivation — and reward yourself as you meet your goals.
Fitness Barrier: Can't Afford to Join a Health Club or Buy Expensive Equipment
You don't need a gym membership to get a great workout. Consider these alternatives.
- Try the community center. Exercise classes offered through a local recreation department or a community fitness group, might fit your budget better than an annual gym membership.
- Take the stairs. Skip the elevator when you can. Better yet, make climbing stairs a workout in itself.
- Do strengthening exercises at home. Use inexpensive resistance bands in place of weights. Lift plastic milk jugs partially filled with water or sand. Do squats or push-ups or using your body weight.
- Watch exercise videos. Try videos on cardio-kickboxing, dance aerobics, tai chi or yoga.
- Start a walking group. Round up friends, co-workers or neighbors for regular group walks. Plan routes through your neighborhood, near your workplace, local parks or at a nearby shopping mall.
Fitness Barrier: Family and Friends Don't Support Your Efforts to Exercise Regularly
Remind those close to you of the benefits of regular exercise and then ask them to join you.
- Suggest a new adventure. Instead of working out at the gym, invite a friend to go to an indoor climbing wall or rent a tandem bicycle.
- Do double duty. Volunteer to drive your teens to the mall, and then walk laps inside while you wait for them. Do the same at your child's school during lessons, practices or rehearsals.
- Exercise and play with your kids. Sign up for a parent-child exercise class. Take your family to the park for a game of tag or kickball. Swim with the kids in the pool instead of watching from your chair.
Bottom Line on Overcoming Common Fitness Barriers
By understanding what these common fitness barriers are and how to best overcome them, you now can reap the benefits of being physically active for your health, your heart and your happiness.
About Lynn Glenn