Four tricks to ditch the exercise excuses
We all know the benefits of exercise inside out. But getting more physical activity is often one of the hardest changes to make as part of a transition to a healthy lifestyle.
Especially if we’ve never been sporty, or if we live sedentary lifestyles, the barriers to exercise can seem painfully high. So if we’re not working out, it’s not because we don’t know it’s good for us.
But getting motivated when we feel out of shape can be tough, especially when so many of us fall into negative thought patterns about exercise.
Here are some of the most common barriers when it comes to exercise, and how to overcome them. Many of them are actually myths – do any of them sound familiar?
1. I don’t have time to exercise.
One of the most common traps we fall into is thinking that exercise needs to take a significant chunk of time in our already busy lives.
So seizing every opportunity, whether it’s taking the stairs or walking to work, can help start making a big difference.
A little preparation goes a long way too when you’re fitting exercise into a busy routine. Get yourself some comfortable sportswear and keep it where you’ll need it most – if you know you’ll be exercising after work, keep some trainers at the office so you’re ready to go as soon as you clock off!
2. Exercising is way too expensive.
Your health and wellbeing is one of the best investments you can make. Nevertheless, spending money on exercise can feel like a luxury we just can’t afford.
But there’s no need to cough up for eye-watering gym prices. From community yoga classes, to exercise meetup groups in your local park, there are plenty of options to keep fit for free, or for little more than the price of a few takeaway coffees.
That said, if you can afford to invest just a little – many yoga studios, for example, have great introductory offers – that may be the nudge you need to get going. If you’ve paid for something, you’re more likely to commit to it.
3. I’m not sporty.
How many of us have been cajoled out for a run, only to find ourselves out of breath after five minutes, embarrassed and vowing never to exercise again?
It’s totally normal if you’ve been out of action for a while to find the transition back to fitness uncomfortable and offputting.
But don’t hang up your trainers just yet. Every little really does help, and with just a little persistence (try starting with run-walk-run patterns – running for two minutes, walking for two minutes, and so on) you’ll be amazed at the gains you make in a relatively short time.
You don’t have to be able to run a marathon – but you’ll glow with pride the first time you make it around the park without stopping!
Having a fixed routine to commit to, and a mentor for when times get tough also helps – OurPath mentors can help on the days you’re struggling to stay motivated.
4. Exercise is just so boring.
We’ll admit it: the treadmill can really be a drag.
When exercising, it’s important to find what works for you – only then can it become part of a sustainable routine. Experiment and find out what you enjoy, be it dance, swimming, aerobics, or something else entirely – and make it part of your routine.
Getting a friend involved always helps – not only does it double up as socialising, but you’re also far more likely to haul yourself out of bed for some early morning Zumba if you’ve made a date with a friend for it!
Progressing towards your goals little by little can be incredibly satisfying. You might not become a marathon runner overnight (and you don’t need to!), but you can still reach the point at which exercising (and its benefits) becomes a pleasurable part of your routine.
Try it – you just might be surprised!
Find out more about the OurPath programme.