Have you ever made an excuse about why you avoid exercising? Maybe you’ve even bought a gym membership or a piece of home fitness equipment, and yet you still never exercise. If this all sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
Many people avoid working out and present excuses that aren’t entirely true or can easily be overcome. If you’re creating barriers to fitness, these strategies can help you get to the other side and make working out a normal – and enjoyable – part of your routine.
Barrier #1: I Don’t Have The Time
Modern life is busy, leaving most of us scrambling to find even a few minutes of peace and quiet, so when are you supposed to find time to exercise? If you’ve been avoiding working out because you can’t find the time, the first step is to stop expecting so much. You don’t need to set aside an hour or more to go to the gym or go on a five- or ten-mile run.
Instead, make the simple choices, like taking a short walk during your lunch break, take the stairs to that meeting, or keep a set of hand weights by your couch and do bicep curls during your favorite show. Success comes from starting where you are, not from trying to change your life overnight.
Barrier #2: I Don’t Know Where To Start
If you weren’t an athlete growing up, your only real experience of working out might have been gym class in school – and many people don’t enjoy those few hours a week. In fact, having a hard time in gym class can create a negative relationship to fitness more generally and lead you to avoid trying new activities as an adult.
If you’re avoiding working out because you don’t really know how to approach the process, you might consider booking a few sessions with a personal trainer. A personal trainer can teach you a range of things, including how to use gym equipment, what kinds of exercises you can do at home, and how to work out without injuring yourself. Most importantly, they can provide a combination of accountability and encouragement so that you can build a new relationship with fitness.
Barrier #3: I’m Afraid I’ll Get Hurt
A lot of people who avoid working out do so out of anxiety because they’re worried that they’ll get hurt, and this is particularly common among people who have recently suffered an injury, such as having been in a car accident or had surgery. This is understandable, but not working out after an injury can lead to deconditioning that leaves you more vulnerable to future injuries. That’s why it’s important to start a gentle movement routine after getting hurt – you need to protect what strength you do have.
If you’re worried about hurting yourself while exercising, one thing that you can do is to try taking a beginner exercise class where you can receive a lot of guidance, and where the expectations aren’t too high. Depending on your health and previous fitness background, you might also choose very simple activities that help restore your confidence, like going on short walks or doing some simple bodyweight exercises at home.
As with anything we’re trying to avoid, we can make up countless excuses in an attempt to avoid exercise. It’s a common problem, and it keeps us from achieving our goals. The only way to overcome these barriers is to stop creating them and take that first step.