We all know exercise is important in order to keep fit and healthy, but how many of us get to the end of a long working day and decide that going to the gym or attending a fitness class is the last thing we want to do?
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. New research by orthopaedic support specialist Neo G found that when it comes to exercise we’re full of excuses, with more than two thirds (68%) of people regularly facing barriers to doing exercise. To help, Neo G’s in-house physiotherapist Alex Clark has taken a look at the most common excuses people have for not doing exercise and how you can get past these in order to enjoy a great workout.
I lack motivation (37%)
A lack of motivation was cited as the number one thing preventing people from exercising, so if this is you, it’s time to step it up a notch. Having a goal in mind rather than just aimlessly going to the gym will do wonders, but the key is to make it achievable and physical as you’re likely to tire of aesthetic goals, which are often unrealistic. Decide on a goal that is SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound. For example, you could decide that within the next six months, you want to be able to run 5km in under half an hour, and you’ll attend your local Park Run every Saturday in order to do so. Seeing yourself progress towards an end goal will help kick-start your motivation and ensure you keep at it when the going gets tough.
I don’t have enough time (27%)
With our ever more hectic lives, being too busy to exercise is a common excuse, but for the vast majority of people, it IS possible to fit it in. Try some simple tricks to make it more likely that you’ll stick to your regime, even when you’ve had a tough day at work or an unexpected task has left you feeling drained. Schedule workouts or classes into your calendar so that mentally you’re less likely to skip it or join a sports team or find a workout buddy for accountability. You’re much less likely to decide you haven’t got the time if you have a group of people relying on you to turn up to your workout.
I’m not fit enough (12%)
You might worry about not being fit enough to exercise but with so many different types of exercise available for everyone, you really shouldn’t worry. The majority of sports clubs and workout classes are inclusive, with different levels and adaptations of key moves available so that all abilities can take part. If you’re still concerned or are new to exercise, start with something lower intensity before you jump head first into that high-intensity spin class. Try an at-home workout, or something as simple as a light jog at lunchtime to ease yourself in. If you’re concerned about hurting yourself or getting an injury, make sure you take it easy. Start off slow and work up to more intense sessions, ensuring you warm up and cool down properly before and after each session.
I don’t enjoy exercise (19%)
For many people, exercise conjures up images of dull gyms, uninspiring aerobic classes or lonely runs in the park, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The UK has seen a massive growth in the number of classes and activities available in recent years, so if you think you don’t like exercise there will be something out there that works for you. Try a running club or team sport if you like the camaraderie of a group or find a new type of class you’ve not tried before such as bouldering, dancing or an outdoor boot camp class. Treat exercise like an adventure rather than a chore and make it a part of your social life so it becomes a fun activity that you look forward to. If you’re still struggling, remember that exercise doesn’t have to be high intensity – walking the dog, a leisurely bike ride or a country walk will also have benefits.
I don’t like my body (9%)
Body image worries are cited as one of the biggest barriers, with nearly one in ten people saying this prevents them from doing exercise. However, it’s important to remember that when you’re exercising people will not be judging – the chances are that they are too busy concentrating on themselves! You’ll also probably find that the more you exercise and achieve your goals through physical activity, the more your body confidence will grow. If you’re struggling to take the first step, recruit a friend to come with you to your first few classes or visits to the gym. Working out with a familiar face will help distract you and put your mind at ease, and before you know it you’ll be too focused on your workout to even consider what other people might be thinking.
Alas, I’ve just read this and still lack inspiration. Any other ideas. I used to swim when I had a decent size pool nearby, and I used to ice skate. What else?