We all know the great benefits of exercise: improved health, better mood, more energy, better sleep and less stress and anxiety.
Despite the well documented benefits of regular physical activity, less than 5% of adults in the US participate in 30 minutes of physical activity every day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is easy to come up with many excuses and reasons for not exercising. Below are three of the most common excuses for not working out and potential solutions to overcome them.
“I’m too busy”
Many people say that they just do not have any time to exercise as they feel overwhelmed with work, family commitments and busy social life.
You do not have to spend hours in a gym to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. Even small amounts of moderate activity (5-, 10-, or 15-minutes) throughout the day can go a long way.
How do you spend most of your time? What do you before your work, during lunch breaks, after your work and on the weekends?
If you value your health, you need to allocate some of your time to exercise and staying active every day. It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.
You can wake up 30 minutes earlier and go for a quick run or do a quick morning workout at home (squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, and stretching). You can go for a walk during your lunch break. You can do a 30-minute workout in the evening. You can shorten your workouts during the weekdays and use your weekends to do longer workouts.
There are advantages to both morning and evening exercise, but the best time of day to work out is when you will actually do it.
The easiest way to be committed to staying active without constantly getting off track is to integrate it into your daily life and make it something you do by default, like brushing your teeth. Doing something small daily beats going to the gym once or twice a week and spending hours there.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day and it’s up to you what you do with that time.
If you claim that health and exercise are important to you, but you do not spend time staying active, your priorities are not aligned with your health goals.
When you clearly define your priorities, you can take actions by structuring your schedule around those priorities.
“I’m too tired”
Sometimes people say that they do not have any energy to work out. It’s understandable that a busy day in the office, hectic schedule, skipping meals or lack of sleep can make one feel too tired to exercise.
It may sound surprising, but exercise can reduce your fatigue and improve your energy level and mood. With regular exercise, you’ll feel more energized and alert.
There are numerous studies showing that when you exercise, the body releases endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, which improve your mood, reduce stress and improve focus and concentration.
When you feel too tired, just make a minimum commitment to exercise 10-15 minutes instead of aiming for an hour-long workout. It’s more likely than not, you will do a longer workout and feel more energized and satisfied after it.
If you try this, but still feel too exhausted to exercise, you are probably physically tired and need some rest.
“I don’t feel motivated”
Some people find the idea of going to the gym and running on a treadmill for an hour boring and demotivating.
Instead of torturing yourself, find physical activities that you enjoy and that fit better into your life. Forcing yourself to stick to an exercise routine you dislike is usually pointless.
Any kind of exercise is better than nothing, so you might as well make it interesting to you. (Some ideas to consider: cycling, running, swimming, playing tennis, dancing, doing yoga, strength training, joining a class, skiing, etc.). Finding a fun way to move your body is more likely to leave you feeling energized after a workout.
If being healthy and fit is not enough reason and you need extra incentives to exercise, look for other ways that could motivate you to get moving. Setting up personal goals, such as fitting into clothes you wore ten years ago, running a marathon or climbing a mountain can increase your motivation.
Sharing your physical activity on social platforms, such as Strava, can also give you a boost of motivation.
Once you have made exercise a daily routine, you do not depend on your motivation to get off the couch and exercise. You just do it.
Ready to start your journey towards a more fulfilling and happier life?
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