How to Fight Exercise Excuses and Win

by Naomi Tupper on March 1, 2013 · 0 comments

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We all know that we should exercise.  There is no doubt that being physical activity improves our health, mental well-being and makes us more productive and generally feel better.  Not to mention the benefits on how we look…

However, despite all these advantages, it is easy to make excuses for skipping a workout.  Here are some of the most well worn excuses and how to beat them to get your exercise routine on track for the long term.

I haven’t got time to exercise

Make time.  This may seem tough, but exercise is essential for good health and thus worth prioritising.  With a job to do, kids to care for, housework and other commitments to fulfil, getting time to work out may seem totally impossible, but the benefits to making time are well worth the effort.

Firstly look at activities you do that are not as important as exercising, or activities than can be combined with exercise.  For example if you meet your friends once a week for coffee or a meal, how about going for a walk in the park together whilst you catch up instead?

If you watch TV as a way to unwind after work every night, try replacing this with a evening workout or walk, or if you really don’t want to miss a program invest in a exercise bike or some weights that can be done in front of the TV.  Remember that exercise will help you relax and unwind.

Another good way to find a bit of extra time to work out is to get up just a little bit earlier in the morning, even a quick 20 minute jog before work can make a huge difference to your health and won’t make too much difference to your sleep.

Another possibility is to work out on your lunch break, or after work, but make this as time effective as possible by joining a gym that is close to your workplace or home so that extra travel time does not eat into your day.

Make exercise as time effective as possible by doing intervals to maximise results in a short time, or join a gym that specialises in quick workouts of about 30 minutes.

I can’t afford gym membership

There is no need for an expensive gym membership to keep fit and healthy.  Get outdoors and walk, run or ride a bike for quick cardio, or even use a jump rope in your house or garage if the weather isn’t so good.

Invest in a few free weights, a resistance cord, fit ball or exercise mat and you have yourself a perfectly good home gym at a small cost.  Exercise videos and yoga are also great ways to stay fit at home and therefore cut costs.

I have an old injury that keeps playing up

Get it seen to by a professional.  Giving up exercise for the rest of your live because of an old injury that may flare up is unreasonable and there are plenty of solutions.  Getting professional advice can help you to strengthen your body to support the injury and minimize further damage or even help in recovery.

Even if your injury is not fixable, chances are there is something you can do, such as swimming or other low impact sports, so speak to a physio or doctor and see what they recommend.

It’s too cold/hot/wet/windy to exercise

Unless you live in one of those delightful places where the weather is 22 degrees and sunny 364 days of the year, the weather plays a part in your exercise regime.

But rather than use the elements as an excuse to miss your work out, you could see them as a challenge.  Rugging up warm and heading out for a jog in cold wet weather can sometimes be invigorating and running in the wind makes an excellent resistance workout.

Of course there are situations where it’s not so wise to brave the elements and snow, ice, extreme temperatures etc may put a stop to outdoor pursuits.  In this case join a gym or class that is held inside or set up for home based work outs with a couple of useful props such as resistance bands and a fit ball.

I exercised a lot last week

The idea is that exercise is something you do on a regular basis and build on as you get fitter and stronger.  If you see a good week of exercise as an excuse to slack off the next, you will never make progress and see results.

Try to form a routine that means that a work out is part of your day no matter what at least three days a week as a minimum, then you can add in extra sessions if you are having a good week or have more time.

I’m too tired to exercise

Sleep is definitely important for our health, and it’s often very tempting to use this argument to justify an extra half hour in bed rather than hitting the streets for a jog.  However, remember that exercise gets endorphins flowing and can actually boost energy levels, so a workout may be just what you need to feel energized and awake throughout the day.

If you normally exercise at night, but often feel too tired, try switching to the morning or midday.  If getting out of bed is just too hard in the morning, make an effort to go to bed a little earlier and remember that you are likely to feel tired if you start getting up earlier than usual, however, if you preserver, your body becomes used to this pattern and it will get easier.

Exercise is boring

So find something you enjoy.  Plodding away on a treadmill or lifting weights, which might work for some people, is not everyone’s idea of fun, so find an activity you enjoy and are more likely to stick to.

There are a huge amount of activities that can help to improve fitness levels and health, so chances are there is one that you won’t find boring.  If you like more sociable activities, join an aerobics or dance class, if you are competitive, try team or competition sports such as tennis.

If you prefer to be outside, go for a bike ride, or if you like something different try pole dancing or zumba.  The sky is the limit so there is no need to be bored.

I’ll just quit in a few weeks anyway

A negative attitude is never a good way to start an exercise program and stick to it.  Set small realistic goals to motivate you to continue and there is no need for this to be an excuse.

Goals could include running in a fun run, losing a few pounds, dropping a dress size or improving your time over a set distance.  Look at exercise as a long term commitment and it will become one.

I have to look after the kids

There is no reason why you cannot exercise with the kids, so this excuse is generally fairly thin.  Kids need exercise too, so take them to the park and play a game of football or simply throw a frisby.

Go for a family bike ride or take them to the local pool for a few laps and remember smaller children can always be put in a stroller for a bit of extra resistance training.

Some gyms offer day care for younger children and teenagers may enjoy taking a class with you such as yoga or Pilates.

It doesn’t make any difference anyway

This excuse doesn’t cut the mustard as even if you are not seeing visible results, you are definitely doing your body some good.  Remember visible changes, particularly in weight take time and persistence and will not happen overnight.

Sometimes waist circumference measurements or dress sizes are a better way to gauge results as weight can be affected by body composition and if you gain more muscle through working out the results may not be seen on the scale.

Remember to that physical changes are only one part of why you exercise and that working out is good for your overall health, mental wellbeing and mood, so it always makes a difference.

How to Fight Exercise Excuses and Win by
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Naomi Tupper
About the author

Naomi studied Nutrition and Dietetics and Biotechnology. She is a certified dietician with experience in Type 2 diabetes and menu planning for weight loss. Naomi is a contributor for our Diet and Nutrition sections. You can connect with her on Facebook and Google+

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