No more excuses! Overcome exercise barriers
Excuses – we’ve all made them. Here are a few of the most common workout excuses I hear, and some tips to help you overcome those mental barriers.
I DON’T HAVE TIME
Yes we all have truly busy lives but be honest with yourself, how much time do you spend browsing on your smartphone or watching television? We make time for what’s important to us.
If you can’t fit in an hour-long workout session, don’t! Keep it short. Maximize your results in minimal time with a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout instead – alternating 7- to 20-minute exercise sessions with rest periods. This method boosts your metabolism and keeps on burning fat long after you’re done.
Even the smallest effort to keep on moving throughout the day can make a difference. Combine physical activity with tasks that are already part of your day, such as: parking further away from the office/shops so that you have to walk further; do squats each time you take a bathroom break; work out with resistance bands or small dumbbells when you’re watching TV, and how about some bodyweight exercises (jumping jacks, squats, lunges, push-ups) during the ad breaks.
I’M TOO TIRED
Regular moderate physical activity helps to reduce fatigue and even manage stress. Exercise may make your muscles physically tired, but you’ll actually feel more energised after a workout. This is because exercise increases your circulation, pumping oxygen to the brain, muscles and tissues faster. It also promotes the release of feel-good hormones (endorphins), so more often than not, you’ll come away from your workout feeling invigorated and refreshed.
If you tend to have more energy in the morning than you do at the end of the day, try exercising first thing, before your day gets away from you. If you’re not a morning person, go with your natural energy peaks and schedule your workout accordingly.
IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE
As lockdown has proved, you don’t need a gym membership or fancy workout gear in order to do exercise. Simply wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and a good pair of trainers, and you’re all set.
Keep it simple and get outdoors – going for a brisk walk or evening jog won’t cost you a penny.
If you prefer to be indoors, any space can be used as workout space. If you’re not sure what to do, you can stream some great workouts online totally free (take a look at my video’s as a prime example).
As for exercise equipment, you can use household items instead of weights – such as bottles of water or cans of beans – and you can find some great deals for secondhand fitness equipment online and in second hand stores.
I DON’T GET A BREAK FROM THE KIDS
It’s true that little ones can be a limiting factor when it comes to exercise, however active time doesn’t have to be a structured workout. Kids naturally love to keep moving and there are plenty of fun ways to get fit as a family:
- Play a game of tag, run races or jump rope in the garden/park.
- Practice sports like badminton, soccer or basketball.
- Go cycling as a family.
- Put on some upbeat music and have a dance party.
- Use an active game console (like XBox Kinect or Wii) for lively video game fun.
- There are many exercises you can do with your baby strapped safely to you in a baby carrier. Try a simple brisk walk or some squats and lunges. It’s a great way to burn calories.
I JUST DON’T WANT TO!
I get it. Exercise is not something we always want to do and it can be hard to stay motivated. So how do you make exercise more appealing?
Try the magic of music. An upbeat playlist can lift your spirits and help power you through even the most grueling workout. Alternatively, if you like a good boogie, pump up the volume and try a dance fitness routine or Zumba.
Having an exercise buddy is a powerful way to keep you motivated and committed. You’re less likely to let a friend down, and you’ll keep each other accountable and encouraged – and any opportunity for some extra social time is an additional bonus.
Choose activities that you actually enjoy and look forward to. Go for a nature hike or cycling with friends, this is great exercise for people of all ages and physical types. Try Zumba, yoga or dance fitness classes. Even a round or two of golf is good exercise as long as you walk the course and don’t use a golf cart. Simply find something that gets you moving. Variety is the spice of life, so mix it up and don’t be afraid to try something new.
IT’S TOO DIFFICULT
Exercise is supposed to be challenging!
To help keep you in a positive, forward-looking, mindset, break down your ultimate goal into several smaller goals, celebrating the smaller victories on the way.
When something is difficult, and you do it anyway, you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment, achievement and confidence going forward.
And finally, we Brits love a good whinge about the weather… it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy to do much of anything, but the weather is simply not an excuse. There are plenty of indoor options.
Just find a space, grab some weights and get on with your work out. You could utilise space in a spare room or the garage to create a home gym, with items such as a yoga mat, an exercise ball, resistance bands, weights, kettlebells and/or larger equipment like a treadmill or exercise bike. Mother Nature will never get in the way of a good workout again.
For fitness classes without leaving your living room, exercise DVDs are a great fitness staple and there are limitless exercise videos available to stream online.