People exercise for various reasons. Some of us have a dozen reasons why we work out. Some of us have a dozen excuses for why we aren’t active. We find motivation and inspiration in different places. Workout preference varies. Workout music varies. And workout excuses vary. I’ve heard many excuses for working out. I’ve also heard incredible stories for how and why people MAKE IT HAPPEN, stories that some would use an excuse. One woman’s car broke down about an hour and a half before class. She got the thing towed, got a ride home, and rode her bike to her scheduled bootcamp class. Actually, she couldn’t get her car fixed for awhile, and she rode her bike to bootcamp for many sessions. That’s commitment.
Here are ten common excuses, and tips to turn your reasons around:
1. I’M TOO BUSY.
This is not a valid reason. It’s an excuse. You know it. The busiest people in the world can exercise regularly. You won’t find time. You MAKE time.
Try: Sit down with a schedule of the following week. See where you have little pockets of time. It can be as little as fifteen minutes. If you need to be out of the house at 7:30am, and you get up at 6:15 am, get up at 6am and go for a 15-minute power walk. How much time to you spend after work watching tv, checking your email, and perusing the internet? Use 30 minutes of that time to do an at-home workout. Do you get an hour break for lunch? Instead of using the computer or phone, use the first 30 minutes to go for a walk, and then the second 30 minutes to enjoy your lunch.
2. I’M TOO TIRED.
This is my favorite one to hear. Someone near and dear to me uses this reason quite often. You are probably tired because you don’t move enough, not because you’ve exerted yourself too much. Regular exercise (3 or more times a week) actually INCREASES energy level for a moderate length of time.
Are you dehydrated? When you wake up, your body is mildly dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can make you feel tired. Research shows that exercise performance is negatively affected by dehydration. Drink 1-2 glasses of water in the morning before you drink or eat anything else. It helps with energy level, focus, and memory.
Are you eating a lot of carbs? This can also be a reason you are too tired.
Try: Work out in the morning. This works for many people because it gets them ready for the day. Also, you won’t worry about being too drained after work to exercise. Have a plan. Not having a plan necessitates more energy. You use more energy thinking about what you’re going to do. Plan at least a day in advance.
3. I HATE WORKING OUT BY MYSELF.
You can find a partner, but sometimes it’s not easy. Some of your would-be workout partners may be less committed than you are, and more likely to cancel. While you search for a dependable and enthusiastic workout partner, go it alone. Really, the only person that is responsible for you showing up is you.
Try: Put together a couple really great playlists and have a workout plan. Look forward to some time alone to focus on yourself. Join a walking club, a fitness club, or a community intramural team. Ask your neighbor, sister, co-worker or best friend to commit to one or two days a week, and do the other couple days a week on your own.
4. IT’S BORING.
If this is one of your excuses, you haven’t found the best activity for you. Make a list of things you haven’t tried yet (or for awhile), and try them until you really like something. Add music that makes you want to move it, move it.
Try: Swimming, Walking, Boxing, Bootcamp, Lifting, Biking, Zumba, Workout Videos, Volleyball, Hockey, Dance, Yoga. Also, find your “why.” Why are you working out? If you are really driven to address your “why, ” then there is more emphasis on getting it in, and less emphasis on the fact that you are bored.
5. MY KIDS TAKE UP ALL MY TIME
I work at a fitness facility where the primary clientele is moms. Working moms, business owners, single moms, and moms with up to six kids. It isn’t always easy. It can take a little time to find something that works for your family. Once you begin prioritizing your own health, you will be happier and more productive at home.
Try: Work around your kids’ schedule. Wake up before they do. Work out with them — go on a hike, play a game outdoors, or go biking.
6. MY BACK HURTS
I have heard this often. Usually it isn’t anything serious, and in this case, light activity is the cure. Regular activity is a primary way to treat and prevent common lower back pain, particularly when you supplement with core exercises. Consult a chiropractor or physical therapist if you think there are specific exercises that will help you to move better and improve your condition.
7. I’M TOO FAT.
I’ve been here. I felt like being overweight was the problem, and also the excuse to not work out. You can get nowhere fast. The good thing is that you can improve quickly. You can feel better after just a couple workouts. The most important thing is to be consistent. Remember that exercising is not a free pass to eat more.
Try: Ease in slowly to not overwhelm yourself physically and emotionally. If you go in too hard, and too fast, you will likely beat yourself up about how out of shape you are. Start with a brisk walk several days a week. As you walk further and faster, add some higher intensity exercises in once or twice a week.
8. I DON’T NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT
Exercise is important for everyone. It helps with mood, focus and energy level. It creates a healthier cardiovascular system, and can improve lean mass and bone strength (if you are doing strength training). Actually, you can be “normal weight,” and not be healthy. Normal weight people can actually be “skinny fat,” which means that although your scale weight is average, you have higher body fat and lower lean mass than is healthy.
9. I DON’T LIKE THE GYM.
Many people exercise regularly without belonging to a gym. I’ve met many extremely fit people who don’t have gym memberships.
Try: Outdoor activities like biking, walking, rollerblading, hiking, rock climbing. Indoor activities like workout videos and home workouts. You can do bodyweight exercises like squats, pushups and lunges (and a lot more) at home. You can supplement with minimal equipment. I have two kettlebells, 15-lb dumbbells, a large mirror, a resistance band, a Bosu trainer, and a stability ball. I worked out for two years at home, 4-5 days a week without a gym membership. It takes some creativity, but it saves time and money.
10. I’M TOO OLD.
This is an even better motivator to exercise. As you age, doing everyday activities can seem harder. Balance gets worse with aging, especially upwards of 60 and 70 years old. With greater lean mass and consistent exercise, comes greater balance, which means less risk of falls. Exercise can also improve mood, memory, and energy level.