Barriers to Exercising- and how you can stay fit this winter
Winter is coming.
What are you going to do to keep on track?
The dark nights, it's cold, you get ill more easily, everyone wants to stay in, how can you maintain your routine and stay focused when people all around you don't?
Lets talk about some of the barriers to exercising first, and then how we can overcome some of the most common obstacles to exercising- real or imagined.
1) Not enough Time
This has to be the no1 excuse for not exercising! "I haven't got time" people say. Even to fit in 15mins here and there? Unlikely. The fact is you can't be bothered. People with high powered jobs and those with very, very long hours manage it. Single parents manage it. People with children manage it. There is time- you have to make it!
Here are a few suggestions of what you an do to help make the time:
- Write an activity diary of everything you do, work and play, for a week and try and identify some timeslots that are free/ you can free up.
- Select activities that require minimal time such as walking or jogging or exercise at home to reduce transit time.
- Add physical activity to your daily routine- have a more active commute, use more 'elbow grease' when doing housework or even be active if you watch tv.
- Wake up earlier- Shock Horror!
- Mix socialising with exercising- join a sports club or exercise with friends
- Learn to say no- to all those things that aren't important. Do you have to go to the wedding of that 2nd cousin you've never met? Do you have to take on that extra assignment? Learn to prioritise yourself- your time is precious.
2) Lack of Energy
Mental fatigue from work and life is actually what most people percieve to be a physiological lack of energy.
Exercise reduces stress, anxiety, depression and allows your neocortex (the front part of the brain that only humans have- higher intellect) to function normally. If you are active your mental fatigue will reduce and you will have more energy!
Try it- prove me wrong...
- Schedule being active at times where you feel more energetic to begin with!
3) Lack Self Motivation
Everyone struggles to stay motivated at times, even yours truly. The key is to stay focused after you let slip now and then (and keep the slips to 'now and then').
A key part of staying actvive is to stay motivated:
- Find an activity you enjoy- there is one you love/enjoy out there somewhere, you just need to find out what it is!
- Invite a friend to exercise with you on a regular basis- make yourself accountable to each other.
- Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule and write it on your calendar.
- Join an exercise group or class, hopefully one of the reasons the instructors are employed are to make the sessions enjoyable and for their motivational skills
- Get into music, podcasts, audiobooks- make sure your safe, plug in and before you know it you’ve done loads of physical activity.
4) Lack of Money/Opportunities to exercise
This one is easy:
- Do forms of physical activity that don't cost anything or very little e.g. running, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing etc
- Look into local schemes or see what the leisure centres have on offer [or what your local exercise specialist can offer you ;)]
5) If you find it embarrassing/awkward to exercise
This is very common, you re definately not along with this one. Try a few of these:
- Be active at home.
- Wear clothing that makes you comfortable (not everyone has to wear lycra!).
- Try and remember most people respect those that put in the effort check this blog post that went viral: www.facebook.com/search/keyword/?q=to%20....
- If you find it inconvenient to exercise identify the reasons and find a solution- e.g. if you forget something every time you go to exercise- get into the habit of packing your bag in the morning/night before.
6) If you scared of getting injured/been injured recently
This is a tricky one but there is almost always something that you can do even when injured
- Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury.
- Learn how to exercise appropriately considering your age, fitness level, skill level, and health status.
- Choose activities involving minimum risk.
- Work with a fitness professional who knows what they are doing and are professionally trained, you'll also get great benefits and faster.
7) Family obligations
This makes it harder to maintain being active but certainly not impossible.
- Remember- if you spend the time to look after yourself you will have more energy and ability to look after the ones to care about and ultimately they will benefit from you doing more physical activity.
- Trade babysitting time with friends and family.
- Exercise with your children/family.
- Hire a babysitter and look at the cost as a worthwhile investment in your physical and mental health.
- Try to exercise when the kids are not around.
8) Travel often
There are so many around this, especially now with the mainstream knowledge of portable, light suspension trainers like TRX.
- Walk the halls and climb the steps at hotels.
- Stay in places with exercise facilities and swimming pools.
- Exercise in the privacy ofyour own hotel room.
- Use kit like the TRX to train.
There you have it then- some of the main barriers to exercising and keeping active (most of which are exaggerated by winter) and how to prevent them from affecting you!
(Photos courtesy of Kovik and qmpelka1)