We all know that we ought to be exercising regularly for our health. However, many of us fall short of doctors’ recommendations and our own fitness goals. It’s often easier to make excuses than to stick to a plan.
For those ready to make a change, here are some strategies for overcoming five common barriers to fitness:
- I don’t have enough time.
Making time to exercise can be tough, especially if you’re still working. Fortunately, even a brisk 10 minute walk every day can benefit your health.1 Try fitting one (or more) in before or after work or on your lunch break. You can also fit in more exercise by getting your family and friends involved. Instead of meeting for coffee or going to the movies, try cycling, swimming, or bush walking as a group. Take the grandkids to the park once a week and join them in a game of tag!
- Exercise is boring.
If you’re always doing the same fitness routine, you’ll soon become bored and lose your motivation. An easy fix is to switch your activity. Swap swimming for jogging every other week, or sign up for a new exercise class. A change of scenery can also help. Vary your cycling route to explore new parts of your neighbourhood. Move your yoga practice to a local park. Visit your local council website for bush walks in your area.
- I’m not sporty.
You don’t need to be a professional athlete to exercise. It’s easy to compare yourself to fitness superstars, but try not to become competitive with them. Focus instead on the positive changes you’re making to your body and mind. Keeping your workout simple and starting slow will help your body get used to the increased activity. As you begin to build muscle strength and endurance, you may feel confident enough to try new sports or classes. You might discover that you’re more athletic than you think!
- Gym membership fees are too expensive.
Working out doesn’t require fancy gym equipment. You can exercise at home using resistance bands in place of weights, doing pushups or squats using your body weight, or go for a run around the block instead of using the treadmill. Also, check your local community centre for budget-friendly exercise classes or free walking clubs.
- I’m afraid I’ll hurt myself.
Injury risk increases as we age, but this shouldn’t put you off exercise. Starting slow with simple activities, like walking or swimming, will help build your fitness and confidence. These are also low-impact fitness activities, minimising your chances of being injured. If you’ve had a previous injury or medical condition, consult your doctor or physio. A private trainer can help create a workout routine that suits your fitness level and addresses your concerns.
Exercise doesn’t need to be complicated. Keeping it simple will help you overcome the barriers that can keep people from moving. Remember, you should always consult your doctor(s) before starting any new exercise routine.
Looking for more ways to stay healthy? Try our healthy eating tips for people over 50.