These days, there is so much awareness about how damaging a sedentary lifestyle is for a person. There are TV programs, magazines and many blogs dedicated to fitness. Many of our medical aid providers encourage a healthier lifestyle by rewarding us for taking steps to improve our fitness. Why then are there still so many people that simply don’t take action?
In this post, I will explore some of the most common excuses that people seem to use. Have a read and if you recognize any of these, maybe it is time for you to step up and start taking proper care of yourself.
1. LACK OF TIME
This must be the NUMBER 1 excuse out there. “I’m too busy”. “I just don’t have time”. Believe me, if you are truly serious about your health, you will find the 30 – 60 minute time-slot required 3 times per week to exercise. It is only 4 % of your day.
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: For those who are very pressured, monitor your activities for a week in an activity diary, be very honest about where you are spending your time. Start by identifying 3 x 30 minute time-slots that you can assign to physical activity. Add physical activity to your daily routine, for example, walk the dog, exercise while watching TV, park further away from the shops to include walking in your shopping outings. Select activities that don’t require as much time as, for instance, going to gym. Suitable activities might be jogging, stair climbing or walking.
2. LACK OF INTEREST
There are people who feel that they are perfectly healthy and don’t need to take any action to take better care of their bodies. If you are one of these people, I want to make you aware of a set of diseases known as “silent killers”, amongst others, Osteoporosis, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Coronary Artery Disease. You may have one of these diseases and not even be aware of it. I can almost hear you saying, “Yes, but we must all die of something”. This is true, however, do you want to die from something that could have been avoided or been made a lot less painful by simply eating healthier food and exercising?
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: You know you will not die happier lying on the couch, eating donuts. Be honest! You will die happier knowing you were able to live as long and as fully as possible, because you gave yourself the best chance of success. You only need 30 minutes, 3 times per week to end the negative spiral you are in. Give it a try for just three weeks! Find something that looks like fun – hiking, bird-watching, wall-climbing, trail running, walking photography excursions, walk your dogs! There are endless possibilities to try.
3. LACK OF ENERGY
Another excuse I hear a lot is “I’m too tired. When I come home from work, I am exhausted and really can’t bring myself to exercise.” Fair enough, but, if you exercised and improved your fitness, you would be less tired, yes? You know it’s true.
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: Schedule your training for the times you feel the most energetic. Perhaps this is first thing in the morning, or maybe during your lunch-time. You only need 30 minutes, 3 times per week to end the negative spiral you are in. Also, have your vitamin and mineral levels checked to ensure your fatigue is not due to being low on minerals and vitamins. Give it a try for three weeks and you will most likely find that you are less tired, and have more energy!
4. LACK OF MOTIVATION AND SUPPORT
This is a hurdle I see a lot, unfortunately often from husbands of wives who desperately need to take better care of themselves. Remember, this is your quality of life we are talking about and people who truly care about you will want you to be healthy and fit. You will need to be strong and step up for yourself if needed.
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: Explain to your friends and loved ones that you need support to improve your health and fitness and ask them to actively support you. Invite them to exercise with you. Try to make fitness and a healthy lifestyle a “couples” goal. If this is not successful, make friends with people who are physically active. Plan ahead, make physical activity part of your weekly schedule and write it on your calendar. Join an exercise group or class.
I found an interesting article about motivation here: – HealthAmbition. Please do visit and read more if you are struggling with this.
5. FEAR OF INJURY
Many of the exercise memes seem to indicate that exercise is painful. “No Pain, No Gain”. You have to “push through the pain”. “The pain of regret is worse than the pain of discipline”. This leads to some people having a genuine fear of exercising, that they might get hurt and be in pain. Some people have experienced a traumatic health or life event that may also instill a fear of further hurt and pain.
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: sign up with a trainer or coach that you can trust to gently build your fitness and who has sufficient knowledge to help you train correctly if you have a known issue. Exercise will no doubt lead to muscle stiffness and there is a possibility that you might at some stage sustain an injury. The much bigger risk, however, is not exercising at all, being sedentary and thus exposing yourself to the silent killer diseases we discussed earlier on. When exercising, proper warm up and cool down techniques can significantly reduce your risk of injury. Learn how to properly consider your age, fitness level, skill level and health status by consulting a fitness professional to help you with your exercise program. Choose lower risk activities to start with.
6. LACK OF RESOURCES
There are many people that do not have access to expensive gyms, healthy food and water or coaches. This can certainly limit their options for following a healthy lifestyle. However, fitness does not need to be expensive.
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: Select activities that don’t require much equipment, such as walking, running, skipping or calisthenics. Identify resources available in the community, such as park and recreation programs and work-site programs. If there isn’t a community team you can join, why not start a community sport team, such as a cross country running team or a soccer team. This way, you can improve your own health, your communities health and also all support one another?
7. FAMILY OBLIGATIONS
It can certainly be very difficult for mothers with babies and young children to find space and time for fitness. It is very important that they do, not only for their own well-being, but also to set the example of living a healthy lifestyle to their children from a young age.
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: Trade babysitting time with a friend or neighbour, so that you both get time for exercise. Do physical activities with your children, such as walking together, play tag or other running games, buy a kids aerobics video and exercise with the kids. Buy home gym equipment and/ or a skipping rope and do skipping, calisthenics or static bike exercises while the kids are sleeping or busy playing or, if the kids are older, while they are at school. Some gyms have baby room facilities with a babysitter so that mom can exercise.
8. TRAVEL CONSTRAINTS
People who travel a lot, sometimes like to use the travel schedule as an excuse to not take proper care of themselves. In addition to the demands of travel through different time-zones, they might travel to places where they don’t feel safe training alone, or have no access to a gym.
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: Pack a skipping rope. It is small and can easily fit in your suitcase. You can skip wherever you are staying. If your hotel has a hallway and stairwell, you can climb stair repeats and walk / jog hallway lengths. You can do calisthenics anywhere – plan an exercise routine before you travel. If you are staying in a place with an exercise facility or a pool, make full use of these. Remember to pack your MP3 player with your favourite exercise music or load this onto your smart phone to motivate you to train.
9. WEATHER CONDITIONS
Regardless of our best intentions, Mother Nature does not always co-operate. Sometimes your hike/ bike / run rains out. Perhaps you live in an area where the weather is not conducive to exercise.
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: Develop a set of back-up workouts that are available regardless of the weather. If you have a gym membership, this is easy as the gym usually has a static bike, treadmill or indoor pool to use, as well as all the exercise machines and equipment. If you do not have a gym membership, we can once again rely on the skipping rope, home gym equipment, calisthenics, indoor wall climbing or perhaps an hour’s brisk walk through the nearest shopping mall. Alternatively, you could make sure you have a weatherproof reflective jacket and equipment, and providing there is no lightning, it is usually perfectly safe to train in the rain.
The last excuse I hear quite often is “I am too old”. Wait, what? Let me introduce you to a few very fit people over 60. Please visit the website of Ernestine Shepherd. There are others like her. It takes longer and is a bit harder work to get fit when we are a bit older, but it is VERY POSSIBLE. Don’t let your age stop you. Age is only a number and fitness is the fountain of youth!
Here is how to overcome this hurdle: You don’t have to become a gym bunny if this does not appeal to you. Simply becoming more active could make a huge difference. Take up physical activities, such as gardening, walking the dogs, playing with the grandchildren. Learn a new skill, or take up a sport, such as ballroom dancing, swimming or cycling. Or, if you are keen, seek the advice of a coach or trainer to help you gradually build your fitness.
If any of the above sounded familiar, please consider how precious your body and your health actually is. This body you are living in today is the same body where you will live until you die. It can not be replaced.
If you need help with building fitness, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will discuss options on how best to help you.