Making Excuses Not To Exercise? Here's How To Beat 'Em

by Sheri Colberg,

This article was originally published on—a website dedicated to helping people with diabetes live happier and healthier lives—as “Exercise Excuse Busters,” and is reposted with permission from the author.

Are you one of the many people who makes a New Year's resolution to get more fit and then breaks it by February? You're not alone! From the weather outside to simply not having the time or energy, there are plenty of reasons to skip a workout. What are your exercise obstacles? Are they more obstacles or ... excuses? We've gathered up exercise tips to squash every excuse in the book. Read on and get moving!

Excuse #1: "I'm too tired to work out!"

You may claim that you're too tired to exercise, but your lack of exercise may be the very reason you feel that way. Even normally active individuals who take a few weeks off from exercise begin to feel more sluggish, lethargic, and unmotivated to exercise. Exercise will give you more energy. Start standing up and moving around more frequently, and you'll start to feel re-energized. Then, just keep it going!

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Excuse #2: "I'm too busy to work out!"

The most common excuse for not exercising on a regular basis is lack of time. The best way to fit physical activity into your day is by writing it down in your schedule or calendar like you would other appointments and activities. Make exercising a priority! Even if you don't have time for an hour at the gym, remember that unstructured activities burn calories too. Take steps to ensure you're moving all day long - little things like raking the leaves, taking the stairs, or a brisk 10-minute walk during lunch will add up. If you need a visual reminder, wear an inexpensive pedometer as a simple way to motivate yourself to take extra steps every day.

Excuse #3: "Exercise is inconvenient."

Exercising can seem like a hassle if there are no parks, walking trails, fitness centers, or community recreational centers located nearby. Does it feel like every time you make great plans to power walk outdoors, it starts to rain? Make a backup plan so that these setbacks don't keep you from exercising! You can try walking in the mall or doing an exercise DVD at home. Look on the bright side: Stay-at-home fitness gives you complete control of your workout plans! If nothing else, use the time that you're exercising at home to also watch your favorite TV show or catch up on your reading.

Excuse #4:"I don't like working out."

Most adults need exercise to be fun, or they lose their motivation to do it over time. To prevent boredom, try varying your exercise frequently - both what you do and how hard or long you do it. Learn about exercise programs in your workplace or nearby in your community. Get a group of coworkers together to take walks during lunch breaks! How about taking up ballroom dancing or yoga classes? All activities count, and you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to stick to your goals if you participate in workouts that you enjoy. Our best tip to fight workout boredom: keep it fun, simple, and varied!

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Excuse #5: "I don't feel well."

Poor health is another major obstacle to exercise participation, but not one that can't be overcome. In fact, becoming more active usually improves your health in so many ways, even if it's ailing. Age itself may be considered an exercise barrier. What you don't use, you lose, though, so fight back and prevent some of the decline just by being physically active. Even engaging in physical activity around your home helps.

Excuse #6: "I can't get motivated."

Just think about all of the reasons you have to get in shape and live a healthier life. Make a list and post it in a place you look at every day; this will remind you of your workout ambitions and help keep you on track! Friends are also a great source of motivation, so get yourself a reliable exercise buddy. An exercise buddy increases your likelihood of showing up and also makes your activities more fun. Having a good social network to support your exercise habit will help your adherence over the long run.

Excuse #7: "I am intimidated by workouts that seem too difficult for me."

Exercising at a high intensity at first might feel too hard and make you want to quit. If you can't comfortably carry on a conversation with someone else while you are exercising, then you are working harder than you need to. Focus instead on exercising a little bit longer at a slower pace instead of burning yourself out. The important thing is that you've made the commitment to becoming more active. Maybe you want to start with a walking program or some time in the pool to ease into exercise and build your way up.

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Excuse #8: "I don't see any results."

It is important to understand that exercise may not produce immediate physical changes. That doesn't mean, however, that you aren't making any progress. Remember your long-term goals and think about how working out makes you feel. Set realistic goals, keep track of your hard work and progress, and reward yourself when you reach milestones! Writing down any little improvement you see on a daily basis can be helpful. Who says that stickers and treats are just for kids?

Excuse #9: "I fell off the exercise wagon and I can't get back in my groove!"

A short break from your normal routine-- such as for vacations, illness or injuries, or other changes in your normal schedule -- does not mean that you can't start scheduling your physical activity back in again. You may need to begin or start back at a lower intensity to avoid burnout, muscle soreness, or even injury.

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