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Overcoming Common Obstacles to Exercise

Here are some ways you can overcome the most common obstacles to exercise in your own life:

Obstacle 1: I don’t have time to exercise.

Solutions: You will need to schedule exercise into your week just as you do other activities. It might require getting up 30 minutes earlier, or devoting 30 minutes of your lunch hour to take a walk, or changing 30 minutes of Internet or TV time for something more active. You can also make your regular activities more active. Raking leaves, washing the car, sleeping, mopping, and gardening are all activities that can help you get fit, if you do them energetically. If you have kids, build exercise into your time with them. Instead of 30 minutes of TV or Internet, take a hike together, play sports together, or just walk around the block.

Obstacle 2: Treadmills, stair climbers, and bikes are boring.

Solutions: Having a friend on the bike or stair climber next to you makes it a lot less boring. Find a workout buddy and bring them along with you. Listening to music or watching TV or movies (which has now become easy on portable players) helps too. But if you can’t even stomach the idea of going to a gym, get outside! All you need is a pair of good shoes to walk in, or a bike if your area has good biking paths.

Obstacle 3: I can’t afford a gym or expensive workout gear.

Solutions: Choose free or low-cost activities. Take your children to the park and play with them or take a walk together. Libraries offer free exercise videos to borrow. Put on your favourite music and dance for 30 minutes. Walk to work or home, or park farther away and walk from there. Run up and down the stairs at work during your break. Local community centres often offer very low cost classes and memberships.

Obstacle 4: Someone needs to watch my kids while I work out.

Trade babysitting with another parent. You watch theirs while they work out, and then you switch. If your kids are old enough, you can play soccer with them, which is a wonderful workout for everyone. Many gyms and health clubs now offer child care – find out if yours does. Or find an after-school activity for your children, and work out while they are there.

Obstacle 5: I’m too out of shape to even think about getting started.

The wonderful thing about this obstacle is just taking the first step will show results very quickly. If you are new to exercise or overweight, and you start exercising gently two or three times a week, you’ll notice the difference very quickly, within two or three weeks you’ll start to feel better and lose weight, especially if you combine exercise with a sensible diet.

If you are afraid you will hurt yourself, choose a low-risk activity like swimming, low-impact aerobics, elliptical trainers at the gym, or walking. Forget the old adage, “No pain, no gain,” – exercise should not hurt! A personal trainer can help you learn to exercise properly, warm up and cool down, and stretch – all important components of a proper exercise program. 

Obstacle 5: It’s too hot in the summer and cold in the winter to exercise outdoors.

Solutions: There are shopping centre walking groups in most major cities. If you’re more of a solo exerciser, borrow some exercise videos from your library and work out at home. Or, join a community centre that lets you pay by the month or by the class, instead of by the whole year.

Obstacle 6: I have a health problem or an injury and don’t know if I can exercise.

Solutions: Talk to your doctor first, who will be able to recommend appropriate types of exercise for you. You can also schedule a session with a personal trainer to discuss your specific situation. Personal trainers aren’t doctors so they will probably request that you visit your doctor first, and then they will be able to provide specific recommendations for exercise for you. There is almost no condition of any kind that means you cannot exercise at all.

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