It’s possible you’ve made all kinds of excuses for skimping on exercise. Some are legit, such as serious health issues, but many are mere obstacles you can hurdle. The staff at California Pacific Medical Center Outpatient Physical Therapy address nine of the most commonly cited exercise barriers and offer solutions for conquering them.
"I Get Bored"
Variety is key. Shaking up your program not only keeps things more interesting, it also gets you in better shape than doing the same routine every time. Listen to upbeat music for motivation, or enlist a buddy to work out with you, just so long as you both keep up a good pace and don’t let your chatter slow you down.
"I Have a Hard Time Committing"
Schedule three or four workouts at the beginning of each week; treat them as you would a doctor’s appointment or important work meeting. Plenty of free or inexpensive smartphone apps and basic fitness trackers can ping you with alerts and offer motivational support.
Tell yourself you’ll just start with a few minutes. Once you make it through the first 10 minutes, those endorphins will get pumping and you’ll feel energized, both physically and mentally—and most likely, you’ll keep going for the whole allotted time. Also, prioritize a good night’s rest because sleep is an important part of your body’s recovery process.
“The Gym is Too Inconvenient”
If it’s located too far from your home or workplace, if parking is a persistent problem or if it’s so busy that you’re always waiting for treadmill time, chances are you’ll skip more workouts than you complete. Find a new gym; they’re popping up everywhere. Or take up running, cycling or another no-gym-required cardio routine, and purchase a few weights, an exercise ball and resistance bands to strength train at home.
“I Don't Know How to Use Gym Equipment”
Most gyms memberships include an introductory walk-through with a trainer to show you how to work all of the equipment properly. Even so, you’ll likely still have questions after day one. Ask about purchasing a multi-session package of one-on-one time with a trainer to help you out. Or save your cash and simply flag down the on-duty trainer whenever you have a specific question.
“Workouts Hurt My Joints”
Plenty of low-impact, non-weight-bearing workouts, such as cycling, elliptical trainers or swimming, go easy on knees, hips, ankles and other joints while making you sweat. This is also where strength-training comes in: The stronger the muscles surrounding your joints, the less pain you’ll feel after cardio.
“I Have Small Kids”
Many gyms offer child care for little ones, sometimes free of charge. You can also attach a child carrier onto your bike or take a hike with your kiddo strapped safely onto your front or back.
“I Have Busy Older Kids”
Why not walk the perimeter of the soccer field while you watch your child practice or play? When you drop off your kid at karate or choir practice, leave the car parked and go for a run. Best of all: Share with your kids the physical activities you love, whether it’s cycling, hiking, skiing, running, rock climbing or mountain biking, so you can enjoy exercise together.
“My Partner Doesn't Work Out”
It’s motivating and efficient if your significant other is equally driven to stay in shape. But don’t let a couch-potato partner keep you from exercising. Make sure he or she understands that fitness matters to you, and try to get your honey into working out, too. Recent research shows that when one spouse become more physically active, the other is five times more likely to follow suit.