Raise your hand if you've ever promised yourself that...
"I mean it. THIS time,
I'm going to set up an exercise plan and stick to it,"
....and then you quit in a couple of months.
Wow! Look at all those hands!
Yup. I've been there too. You're not alone.
Exercise is harrrrd. You know it's called a "WORKout" for a reason, right? It's WORK!!
Excuse #1: I don't have enough time.
Excuse #2: I'm too tired.
Excuse #3: My legs (feet, arms, shoulders, back, neck, etc.) hurt.
Excuse #4: I'm too old/fat/uncoordinated/embarrassed to workout at the gym. Besides, it's expensive.
Excuse #5: I hate working out alone. And exercising is boring.
Hey, I'm with ya. I think I've used ALL of those excuses at one time or another. But the thing is...exercise is important. A body in motion stays in motion...a body at rest? Well, it gets all soft and mushy, it's more easily injured, it has more inflammation, the joints ache, the energy wanes, and we just kinda sit there like a lump. Blah. If you want an active future for yourself...you gotta keep your body moving.
So what about the excuses? The best way to stomp out your excuses is to prepare for them! KNOW that they're on the horizon and be prepared to meet them head on!
So let's break it down!
Excuse #1: "I don't have enough time."
We live crazy busy lives--work, kids, commute, errands, taking care of the house, etc. and when time gets tight, exercise is often the first thing to go. But what if we got creative with our time? Think we could make it work?
- Solution #1: Put exercise on your schedule. Set an alarm if you're going to exercise first thing in the morning. See it as part of your day...an immovable appointment. And remember...it doesn't have to be an hour long thing! 10-15 mins is better than nothing, right?
- Solution #2: Did you binge watch Game of Thrones or Stranger Things? If so, you've got time! TV time is a great time to sneak in a little exercise! Squats, push ups, lunges, marching in place, stationary bike, plank, leg lifts, stretching...there's time for all of that! You just gotta decide to do it!
- Solution #3: Want healthy kids? Exercise is important for them too! Grab the kiddies and get outside! Play at the playground, go for a walk, throw the frisbee around, head out for a swim, build a snowman, jump in puddles...there's lots to do outside! Too cold? Have a dance party inside, do yoga together, practice karate kicks--who knows? Your kids can probably come up with something pretty creative if you ask them! :)
- Solution #4: Got little kids? Pop em in the stroller or strap them to your body and walk them around town! Got bigger kids who play sports, have dance lessons or music lessons? While they are doing their thing, you can take that time to walk the ball field, run up and down stairs, pair up with another parent and have a "walk and talk" around the building.
Excuse #2: "I'm too tired."
- Solution #1: Exercise. Yup. Exercise is the solution to your problem. Hear me out... Ever had one of those times when you dragged yourself to the gym even when you were super tired? Do you remember how you felt when you were done? Most likely, you were tired in your muscles but more energized overall. Why? Exercise increases your blood flow which means that your heart is pumping oxygen to your brain, muscles, and tissues faster. It also promotes the release of neurotransmitters that will make you feel better and give you MORE ENERGY. Even moderate exercise can improve your energy levels! Don't believe me? Next time you get out of bed in the morning, do 20 jumping jacks right away. Bet you feel more energized! And that's a great way to start your day!
- Solution #2: Exercise when you DO have energy. A lot of people "save" their exercise for the end of the day. But that's when a lot of us are really tired and we just want to relax. Next time, try getting your exercise done first thing in the morning. Start small. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier and setting your alarm for 15 mins earlier. Then pop out of bed and do 15 mins of exercise before you start getting ready for your day. If mornings aren't great, try going for a brisk walk during your lunch break.
Excuse #3: "My legs (feet, arms, shoulders, back, neck, etc.) hurt."
- Solution #1: If you've got an injury, check with your doc and see what exercises are ok to do! Lots of times, you can work around your injury. If it's a foot injury for example, you could work your upper body, and you could most often do floor exercises or chair supported exercises. If it's a shoulder issue, you could still go for a brisk walk. Now, that being said, maybe you have a more encompassing injury (like a back or a neck injury) and in that case, your doc might give you PT to do...PT counts as exercise! But remember, always follow your doctor's orders! :)
- Solution #2: If you're hurting because you overworked a muscle, then give it a rest. Vary your exercise--upper body one day, lower body the next. And think about building rest days or light days into your schedule--maybe boot camp every day isn't a good idea for you! Have days when you go for a walk or take a gentle yoga class instead of that hardcore class you usually take. Give your muscles a chance to recover and rebuild.
Excuse #4: "I'm too old/fat/uncoordinated/embarrassed to workout at the gym. Besides, it's expensive."
- Solution #1: Face your fears. I know. It's easier said than done. But the thing is, it's just YOU and YOUR MIND standing in your own way! Just go once. Just go for a little bit of time or for half of a group ex class. Sign up for beginner classes, gentle classes, or a free demo of how to use the equipment. Bring a supportive friend who can show you the ropes. Ask the front desk attendant when the gym is the least crowded and go then... There are lots of ways to ease into working out at a gym. You can do this!
- Solution #2: So let's say you face your fears. You go to the gym and let's say it's the WORST experience ever! Snooty people. Cruddy facilities. Classes WAY more hardcore than you need. Crazy crowded. And just NOT good. Welllll...you could always try a different workout facility, right? Check out your local library, health care center, community center, and YMCA. Typically, classes offered at these locations are much more beginner friendly.
- Solution #3: Now, about the expense. A lot of gyms have free trials. Yoga studios and Barre studios often offer reduced rates through Groupon.com or LivingSocial.com. The Y sometimes offers financial assistance to those who qualify. Community Centers and Recreation Departments usually have inexpensive ways to get your exercise on too! You could also join Meetup.com where many exercise classes/opportunities are offered for free or at a reduced rate.
- Solution #4: So, some people are just introverts (I'm one) or they just don't have money to spend on a gym. This is perfectly cool! Exercise at home! There are TONS of free exercise classes on the internet--any kind of workout you could possibly want. Plus you don't have to pack a gym bag, you can workout in your jammies, and shower in your own bathroom! You could also borrow dvd's from your local library or stream video on your TV! Lots of options for the at-home exerciser!
Excuse #5: "I hate working out alone. And exercising is boring."
- Solution #1: Bring a friend or a family member when you workout. Besides, you're more likely to stick to an exercise routine if you've got someone as dedicated as you who will come with you.
- Solution #2: Join Meetup.com. Sign up for activities you like and get the bonus of making new friends who enjoy the same activities.
- Solution #3: Mix it up. You don't have to do the same type of workout every day. Yoga, Bootcamp, Weights, Crossfit, Tabata, Swimming, Tennis, Dancing, Hula Hooping, Skating, Surfing, Skiing, Hiking, Snowshoeing, Slack Lining, Biking, Rowing, Horseback Riding, Frisbee, Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, Tag, Jumprope, Swinging on the Swings ...you get the idea, right? Exercise doesn't have to be boring. There are lots of choices! Have fun with it! Plus, if you cross train, you activate different muscles and build new brain pathways! Fun, right?
OK, so now you are prepared to face all your exercise excuses head on! Boom! You will not let anything or anyone derail you from the promises you made to yourself, right?
YOU ARE IMPORTANT!!
Now go make your exercise plan, get out there, and kick some booty!
Good luck you guys! (And have fun!)