Most health experts agree that we need to move our bodies at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week to lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and certain cancers. Here are some common barriers to exercise — and strategies for overcoming them.
Barrier #1: You don’t have time.
- Use exercise as a mode of transportation. Walk or bike when weather permits and where you can do so safely. Take stairs instead of elevators.
- Combine exercise with social time. If you’re working out at home, make it more fun by using FaceTime or Skype to connect with your friends. Go for a family walk after dinner to help everyone wind down.
Barrier #2: It’s too expensive.
Skip the gym membership or fancy exercise equipment. Jump ropes, resistance bands and free weights aren’t expensive. You can find many free exercise videos online or take free or low-cost virtual classes. Walking, running and body-weight exercises won’t cost you anything at all.
Barrier #3: You’re afraid of getting hurt.
Start small and build from there. Work your way up to more vigorous or extended periods of exercise. If you have a health condition or physical limitation, don’t assume you need to avoid exercise altogether. But make sure you follow any advice from your doctor or physical therapist, or hold off starting a new fitness program until you do.
Barrier #4: You don’t like to exercise.
- Take a virtual workout or yoga class. It will make the time go more quickly and can help keep you motivated to work out more often.
- Do it anyway. Your body was made to move! You need exercise to stay healthy. If you didn’t enjoy showering or brushing your teeth, you would do it anyway. Think of exercise as hygiene for the inside of your body.