We see and hear the message everywhere, screaming at us from newsstands to newsfeeds: You need to exercise!
It’s true that exercise is incredibly important and so very beneficial. Yet very few of us actually do it consistently. We may start out strong with a rock-solid resolution involving daily gym sessions and a clean-eating plan, only to find ourselves skipping out in favor of lounging on the couch with a hefty helping of forbidden treats by the end of the month.
The mind is a funny thing. It can come up with the craziest yet seemingly sensible reasons to keep us from anything that takes us outside our comfort zone.
But since your goals won’t work unless you do, are you ready to cut to the chase and find out what’s really holding you back?
We’re ready to help you smash those excuses once and for all!
I DON’T HAVE TIME
This is the most common reason given for lacking a fitness routine. After all, we have truly busy lives. Who has an extra hour to spend every day?
Be honest with yourself, though. How much time do you spend browsing on your smartphone or watching TV? It’s more about priorities. We make time for what’s important to us.
How to Crush It:
Schedule it in.
Just like any other task, work meeting, or appointment, clear a block of time in your schedule for exercise — and don’t cancel on yourself (that’s just rude).
Keep it short.
If you can’t fit in an hour-long session, don’t! Shorter workouts, even just 10 minutes long, are still worth it. Small efforts to move more all day also make a difference, from taking the stairs to doing squats each time you take a bathroom break. Wear a fitness tracker and you’ll see those steps add up!
Or, try doing HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to maximize your results in minimal time, alternating 7- to 20-minute exercise sessions with rest periods. This method boosts your metabolism more than a longer steady-state session and keeps burning fat long after you’re done.
Make your screen time do double duty. Hold some planks while you scroll social media. Walk on a treadmill while you watch your favorite show. Do bodyweight exercises during commercial breaks (jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups). Just get off the couch and move some during normally lazy times.
THE WEATHER SUCKS
No one wants to force themselves outdoors in frigid conditions or when it’s too hot and humid to breathe. Honestly, that’s not even safe. But don’t throw in the towel altogether. You’ve got plenty of indoor options, even if you can’t make it to the gym.
How to Crush It:
Just press play.
Workout videos are the perfect indoor staple. Build your own fitness library with exercise DVDs of your choice — Zumba, P90X and Jillian Michaels are popular brands — or search for online videos. Sign up for an online membership — try Daily Burn, Cody App or Beachbody On Demand — if you want fitness classes without leaving your living room.
Build a home gym.
If you like having all the accessories, you can set up your own fitness center in the garage or a spare room. Include items of your choice like yoga mats, exercise balls, resistance bands, kettlebells, weight sets, medicine balls and larger equipment like a treadmill or elliptical and weight machines. Once set up, your at-home gym is always ready to go even when Mother Nature isn’t.
EXCUSE #3: I CAN’T AFFORD IT
Yes, gym memberships and fancy workout clothes can be pricey, but you don’t really need all that. All you need is a good pair of sneakers, and you’re all set to work out anywhere!
Think of it another way — can you afford to NOT be healthy? Inactivity puts you at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney and liver diseases, gastrointestinal problems, cancer and early death. Any of these will hit your bank account hard with associated medical expenses and lost work time, not to mention the physical and emotional costs. The good news is many of these conditions can be prevented, controlled or improved simply by being more active.
How to Crush It:
You don’t need to spend a dime to get going. Keep it simple. Start with walking out the door. Just get out and go!
Burn on a budget.
If you do want accessories, you’ll find great deals on used fitness equipment on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or through the Letgo app. You’d be surprised what you’ll find at yard sales as well.
It’s a goldmine for an endless (and free) supply of workout videos of your choice. Use search terms like “no equipment workout” and “bodyweight exercise” to find plenty of options using just your own body. Make sure to subscribe to your favorite fitness-focused channels so you always have something new to try.
I HAVE KIDS AND THERE’S NO ONE TO WATCH THEM
It’s true that little ones can be a limiting factor when it comes to exercise. But they should be your reason, not an excuse! In order to take care of them well, you must first take care of yourself. You’ll set a healthy example for them to follow, not to mention being better able to keep up with them.
How to Crush It:
Consider all childcare options.
If you can’t find family or friends to watch your brood, bring them with you! Many gyms and rec centers offer kiddie care on-site for their members. See if there’s one in your area and consider making it your fitness home.
Get fit as a family.
You’d be surprised how willing kids are to follow along with your exercises or go for a walk or jog (bring a stroller for little legs that may get tired). Kids naturally love to move but may lose interest in monotonous rep-counting routines (don’t you?). Luckily, active time doesn’t have to be a structured workout.
There are plenty of fun ways to get everyone moving:
- Play a game of tag.
- Practice sports like soccer or basketball.
- Have races in the yard.
- Go to a park (or your yard) and sneak in some exercises yourself while they play.
- Put on some music and have a dance party.
- Call out different exercises in a “red light, green light”
- Use an active game console (like XBox Kinect or Wii) for lively video game fun.
- Wear your infant or toddler in a baby carrier while you walk, and also use them as “weight” for exercises like squats and lunges.
EXCUSE #5: I JUST DON’T WANT TO!
We get it. Exercise is not something we always want to do. But it can actually be enjoyable, your valuable me-time, something you look forward to.
How to Crush It:
Use the magic of music.
Even a not-so-fun session can be empowering with the right tunes to motivate your movement. Pump up your workout with an upbeat playlist to power you through. Better yet, try methods that combine music and movement together (like dance fitness routines).
Having a workout partner is a powerful way to keep you motivated and committed. You wouldn’t constantly cancel on a friend, right? You’ll keep each other accountable and encouraged, plus get in some much-needed social time.
Choose the right thing.
Pick an activity you actually enjoy for the most part — something you get to do, not have to do. It could be getting out in nature for a walk, run or hike. It could be Zumba, yoga or trampoline fitness classes. It could even be golf if you skip the carts and walk. Just find something you like that gets you moving. And when that gets stale, don’t be afraid to try something new. Variety is the spice of your fit life!
Stop doing it to lose weight.
Too often the primary motivation is to drop those pesky pounds. That’s not a bad thing, but if this is your only reason, you won’t stick to it. Focus on the other benefits, how you feel and the good you are doing for yourself, not on what the scale says.
Don’t let that tricky inner voice hold you back from your fittest, healthiest self! Too tired? Remember exercise will boost your energy and your mood. Stick to it long-term and you’ll see your overall energy levels soar as you get healthier. You already know what giving up feels like. How about finding out what happens when you don’t?