Top 5 Exercise Excuses (Plus Solutions)

Regular exercise helps you get or stay healthy. That’s a well-established fact. But many people who need to start a program of aerobics or strength-training, or both, just don’t get around to it.

An exercise program could be the key to better health, especially for procrastinators who are overweight or have been diagnosed with heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar or undesirable blood cholesterol readings.

“People don’t realize or fully understand how an active routine can improve their lives and bring them better health,” says Fabiola Yasky, a fitness instructor for Community Health at Baptist Health South Florida. “Exercise also leads to better mental health, higher self-esteem and renewed energy.”

Here are the top five excuses people give for not exercising, with solutions to jumpstart a fitness program.

1. “I don’t have the time.”
Solution:  Make exercise as convenient as possible.

Not enough time is the top excuse for not exercising. But despite how hectic daily living gets — with the constant juggling of work and home responsibilities and taking care of the kids — there are ways to find the time and location for activities that promote health, says Ms. Yasky.

“Convenience is very important,” she says. “If there’s a nice park on the way home from work, start taking brisk walks. Or if there is an affordable health club near your workplace or home, consider joining.”

If you don’t have a long period of time available, break up your exercise routines throughout the day. All it takes is a minimum of 20 minutes daily of moderate-to-intense activity.

2. “I don’t have the energy.”
Solution: Buddy system.

This one is an odd excuse, since regular exercise is the most proven method of gaining strength, stamina and energy. But if you don’t feel up to it, one of the best solutions is to develop a buddy system with a friend, family member or coworker in which both can inspire the other to hit the gym or go for brisk walks or start jogging.

“I know people who start exercising and after a while they say, ‘Wow, I never expected my pain to go away and feel this energized,” Ms. Yasky says. “Many people don’t understand that exercise can help young people and older people recover from injuries and feel reinvigorated.”

3. “I have to look after the kids.”
Solution:  Support system.

This one is quite understandable if you have small kids who need much more of your attention. A support system of family members and friends is important to help parents find the time to exercise.

“Worries come into play when you’re expected somewhere else or you have to take care of someone else,” Ms. Yasky says. “Getting families involved is crucial.”

Even doing activities with your kids is an option. Going on brisk walks with them and  joining them on cycling paths are good options. Parents can also try to tag- team looking after the kids while the other goes jogging or to the gym.  The healthiest families are usually those that support each other when it comes to fitness and activities.

4. “Exercise is boring.”
Solution:  Do something that’s fun.

Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. You can even turn a hobby into a healthy activity. And it’s just fine to watch TV or read while on a treadmill or a stationary bike.

“If you find exercise boring, then try to find something that’s fun. Follow your favorite hobbies, whether it’s golf, tennis, gardening or another sporting activity,” she says. “There are a million ways of approaching exercise. You can walk — you don’t have to run a 5K.”

5. “It hasn’t worked before.”
Solution:  Set realistic goals and seek guidance.

It’s important to set realistic goals. Often, individuals who have dropped out of exercise programs don’t have the proper guidance, motivation or goals. Solutions to overcoming fitness failures include finding a program at a health club, getting advise from your primary care physician, finding a personal trainer through your workplace or nearby gym, or seeking out a friend who exercises regularly.

“People have different styles and levels of exercise that are appropriate for them,” Ms. Yasky says. “As an instructor, I get older people who have been told by a doctor that they have to exercise. I get younger people who start exercise to look better. But both groups end up surprised that they can do this, and they realize how much better they feel.”

Related articles:

  • Running 5 Minutes a Day Has Long-Term Benefits
  • How Much Exercise Do You Need?
  • Don’t Get Derailed: Overcoming Exercise Hurdles
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