The strength required to stick to a consistent workout schedule is often as much as about mental discipline as it is your level of physical fitness. Here are some common excuses for not working out — and how to overcome them.
I’m too busy.
You may have a jam-packed schedule, but a workout is worth fitting into your routine — for your health and overall productivity. Fast Company reports that President Obama makes sure to log at least an hour of physical activity a day, for a simple reason: By investing in his health, he becomes more effective in all the remaining parts of his day. If the leader of the free world can find the time, so can you.
I’m too out of shape.
Being too out of shape to work out is akin to being too overweight to start eating healthier. Working out involves a lifestyle change and new routine; there is no “end game” when it comes to improving your physical health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults between 18 and 64 years old aim to get about 150 minutes of total exercise time a week, but that time can be broken into moderate to vigorous workout sessions that are as brief as 10 minutes. As your fitness improves, so will your endurance. Start small, and break your workout into manageable “segments” that don’t feel daunting.
I can’t afford it.
Working out doesn’t require a gym membership, a personal trainer or expensive equipment. In fact, recent studies by fitness expert Len Kravitz, PhD reveal that high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts can improve cardiorespiratory fitness by as much as 46 percent, with just 12 to 15 weeks of consistent training. A HIIT session can involve body weight movements, plyometrics, sprints (while running), swimming, biking or walking at a high intensity for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a brief period (about 10 seconds) of recovery, for sets of four to eight. You could construct an entire HIIT routine made up of squats, jumping jacks, pushups, sprints, planks, situps and burpees — none of which require equipment or leaving the comfort of your home. Try this New York Times 7 Minute Workout tutorial for a whole body DIY workout.
I’m too tired.
It can be tough to muster the motivation to strap on your running shoes when you’re tired, but working out can actually restore your energy levels and ease you into a night of deep, restorative sleep. In one study conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia, participants who suffered from consistent bouts of fatigue incorporated 20 minutes of low-impact exercise three times a week for six weeks. They reported a 65 percent drop in their perceived feelings of fatigue at the end of the study period.
I’m uncomfortable working out in front of other people.
You don’t need to work out in a public setting to reap the benefits of exercise. Aside from workout DVDs and websites offering on-demand and streaming fitness videos from expert trainers and instructors around the world, there are thousands of full-length, free workout videos on YouTube. Plenty of these options guide you through a safe and effective workout, in complete privacy.
Having said that, working out isn’t anything to feel embarrassed about. What is the worst thing that could happen–that you might sweat or flush in public? That you might not be the most flexible person in your yoga class, or that your hair won’t look great at the end of class? If you take a closer look, these concerns are really unfounded, because exercising is not about other people at all–it is completely about you. Let them go and focus on having fun and how good it feels to move your body.
I get bored.
Working out doesn’t have to mean being chained to a fitness machine, or tortured to the point of exhaustion. It can involve any activity that you enjoy and gets you moving to the point of boosting your heart rate, for at least 20 minutes. Keep your routine eclectic and find out what you really like. That may mean ice skating, jumping on a trampoline, dancing to your favorite tunes, walking briskly around town while listening to books on tape, kick boxing, rock climbing, biking or yoga. If you run out of ideas, experiment with a different group fitness class, offered either at your gym, in your community or via an online video. What you do to work out isn’t as important as simply finding a routine — or many routines — that consistently keeps you moving.
Do you hear these excuses a lot? What other excuses have you heard (or used)?
More fitness motivation tips: 5 Tips to Get Out of Your Yoga Rut
Photo: CrossfitPaleoDietFitnessCla via Flickr