We all know there are so many good reasons to work out. It helps your heart and bones stay strong, keeps you more flexible, increases endurance, helps maintain weight, and gives you more energy — not to mention bragging rights when you can beat someone in an arm wrestling match. Unfortunately, the list of excuses to skip workouts is almost as long. We’re too tired, too busy, too stressed, too broke. It’s too hot or too cold. It’s like we’re the Goldilocks of the workout world, looking for workout conditions that are just right. But with hectic schedules, it’s rare that that perfect moment comes. There’s always a road block making it tough, but that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome workout obstacles.
Even the most motivated can fall victim to workout excuses. But with enough practice, you get better at getting motivated. I’ve had a lot of practice with small setbacks. My gym provides up to two hours of daycare for my kids each day. Sounds too good to be true, right? It is. Especially when you have a toddler with separation anxiety. The staff gives it a valiant effort for 10 minutes, but if that doesn’t work, I’m hopping off the treadmill to pick up my crying baby. After months of this, it would have been easy to get frustrated and just stay home. Instead, I realized that 10 minutes on the treadmill is still 10 minutes of a workout. And as soon as my son was all smiles again, we’d hit the gymnasium to run around and bounce balls. Discouraging as it was, I didn’t let it stop me from getting active, even if just for a few minutes. I had to adopt a “no excuses” attitude or I’d never get to work out! And guess what? You can do it, too!
10 Solutions For The Top Reasons You Skip Your Workouts 1 of 11
Next time you pull out one of these excuses, remember these 10 solutions to get past it and get your workout on!
Excuse No. 1 2 of 11
Excuse: No time
Solution: Break workouts into smaller sessions
You can't create time. But you can prioritize, and making that workout a priority, and scheduling it like any other important appointment is key. Often times it's not that you don't have time, it's that you don't find that working out is important enough to make time for. Start using time you'd spend on other things as workout time. Walk to run errands, exercise when you're watching TV. You have to eat, right? Walk around the block during your lunch break. Remember, workouts don't have to be hour-long sweat sessions. Incorporating mini workouts into your day may be the only way you can get active — it still counts!
Photo credit: BenLucier, Flickr
Excuse No. 2 3 of 11
Excuse: No energy
Solution: Give yourself an "out"
It's counterintuitive, but the more you exercise, the more energy you have. Sure, you may feel worn out after a workout, but in the long run, you'll be more energized. You'll be stronger and have more endurance for everyday activities like unloading the groceries and vacuuming the floor. Studies have shown that sedentary people who exercised improved fatigue compared to those who didn't exercise. So if you feel like you have no energy to work out, make a plan to just do 10 minutes before you quit. You might even find yourself doing longer workouts once you get started.
Photo credit: picmonkey
Excuse No. 3 4 of 11
Excuse: No money
Solution: Find free workouts
There is no need to spend a lot of money to get into shape. Fancy gyms are nice, but they're in no way a necessity. No matter what workout you do, you usually only need to invest in a pair of supportive sneakers — and for yoga and Pilates, you don't even need that! Walking and running outside are virtually free, as are any number of exercises you can do at home sans equipment. Hit up YouTube to find popular workout videos or head to the library to check out exercise DVDs.
Photo credit: kevin dooley, Flickr
Excuse No. 4 5 of 11
Excuse: Too stressed
Solution: Use workouts as time to unwind
When obligations pile up, it's easy to get stressed out. Being too stressed to work out goes hand in hand with not having enough time, but taking a break from everything can make you more productive when you get back to business. Plus, exercise can even help your brain cope better with stress.
Photo credit: m-a-c, Flickr
Excuse No. 5 6 of 11
Excuse: Kids keep me too busy
Solution: Get active with them or get help
I work from home, so when my kids go down for naps, it's time for me to buckle down, hit the computer and work — not work out. So when it comes to kids, I've found three solutions. Throw in a DVD or do your best quick workout as they play. Sure, they'll sometimes climb on you while you're planking, and it's not as good of quality as you can get when you're alone, but it's still exercise. (Plus, it sets a good example!) The second solution is to make your kids' activities your workout. Walk to the park, play catch outside, play tag, ride bikes… let your kids reignite your spirit of adventure and play. If they're at soccer practice, you can walk around the field. Or coach them for extra fun! The third solution? Get help! Whether it's calling on your partner for workout time, swapping childcare with a friend so you can get an hour alone, having grandma come over so you can go for a walk, or getting a gym membership with childcare privileges, enlisting help is the best way to ensure your workouts are quality.
Photo credit: terren in Virginia, Flickr
Excuse No. 6 7 of 11
Excuse: You don't know what to do
Solution: Start walking
For anyone who wants to work out but has no idea where to start, walking is an easy solution. It'll get you moving, and you can worry about adding other activities on later. For those ready for the next step, there are any number of ways to learn the fitness ropes. Join a gym, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Hire a personal trainer to walk you through the basics. Check out beginner workout DVDs from the library. Read fitness books and magazines to learn more. It's important that you have proper form for exercises, but it's also important to just move!
Photo credit: Bev Goodwin, Flickr
Excuse No. 7 8 of 11
Excuse: Too overwhelmed
Solution: Set small goals
Whether you have a lot of weight to lose or it's just been a long time since you've exercised, it can be overwhelming to start a workout program. So don't set a goal to run a marathon or lose 100 pounds: Make it a goal to walk a mile without stopping or to lose that first 5 pounds. Try to work out for 10 minutes, three times a week before adding on. Starting in small chunks is way easier to accomplish, and you can build on your success.
Photo credit: KaiChanVong, Flickr
Excuse No. 8 9 of 11
Solution: Take it easy, but not too easy
There is no question that being injured stinks. But just because you have an injury doesn't mean you can't exercise. Always talk to your doctor to see what acceptable exercises are with your condition, but you don't necessarily have to let injury make you a couch potato. If you have a stress fracture in your foot from running, for example, you may be able to do no-impact workouts like yoga or cycling. Knee injury? You can get cardio benefits from arm bikes or you may be able to swim. A doctor or physical therapist will be able to prescribe specific exercises for rehabbing your condition.
Photo credit: J.J. Verhoef, Flickr
Excuse No. 9 10 of 11
Excuse: Too tired
Solution: Exercise when you have the most energy
If you're too tired at the end of the day to work out, try to coordinate your schedule so that you can exercise when you have the most energy. For some that's first thing in the morning; for others it's at lunch. Take advantage of the weekends when you get more rest and try to get in slightly longer workouts then.
Photo credit: MiiiSH, Flickr
Excuse No. 10 11 of 11
Excuse: Weather's not cooperating
Solution: Get to a climate-controlled zone
I've never been a fan of working out in extreme weather. Too hot and you risk overheating; too cold and it's downright painful. So stay home, find an online workout (such as SparkPeople or DailyBurn.com) or pop in a workout DVD. Or find any number of workouts on YouTube. Oh, you're a runner, you say? You hate the treadmill? Find an indoor track or head to an indoor mall to do laps. Or take a cross-training or yoga day.
Photo credit: bdamon, Flickr
It’s true that there are genuinely times when you need a workout break, like if you’re genuinely sick or burned out. Rest days are important, too, so that’s okay! But when you find yourself skipping workouts but you know deep down you’re just being a little lazy, get to busting those excuses!
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