As a health coach I do a lot of barrier recognition and goal setting with my participants. I spend a lot of my time helping people recognizing barriers and identifying possible solutions in their lives. I am sure that sometimes the truth is that an excuse is just an excuse and people are just not feeling the exercise goal at this time. When you continue to make excuses and no forward progress, you might need to decide if this change is a priority for you right now. If it is unrealistic, not the right time or not a priority just forgive yourself and drop it for now. You can always pick up good habits later. Just remember that there will always be something in the way and there is never going to be a better time to change than now. Something brought you to this blog, find out what it is and start listening!If you are ready to tackle some barriers, here is a list of the common ones I hear and the solutions I find that work. It may get a bit long winded but at the vary least find the barriers that relate most to your situation and try some of the solutions out. Or better yet, make up your own solutions!
10 most common barriers to exercise
- The Barrier: I’m too tired- The Solutions: Remind yourself that light to moderate exercise on a regular basis boost energy and can help you get over fatigue. Try finding the reasons you are tired and tackling those issues before starting an exercise program. Check out the blog on chronic fatigue for more help HERE. Focus on getting more good rest and sleep. Never sacrifice sleep to exercise, that is a sure fire way to get injured. You may think that it is strong will power to live off of coffee and drag yourself out of bed for exercise early in the mornings, but you are increasing your risk of injury while exercising during fatigue.
- The Barrier: I don’t have enough time-The solutions: Start scheduling in exercise like you would do for meetings or appointments. Treat exercise as an appointment with your health and your future self. Put it into your phone, on your calendar, somewhere that you will be reminded and that you wont over book. Try modifying weekday work outs to be small time commitments. Remember that 10 minutes of exercise a day is better than none. And if you are consistent with 10 minutes 5 x a week, that is already 50 minutes of exercise each week! For a ten minute work out that does not require any equipment check out this calisthenic am routine featured in my blog HERE.
- The Barrier: I don’t have money for a gym- The Solutions: Get out and walk! Find a walking partner or grab your headphones (music, books on tape, YouTube videos) and walk your neighborhood. Too hot? Walk the local indoor shopping center (mall, Walmart, target, Costco). Want to stay inside your own home? Take a trip to your local library and check out their selection of home videos to try. Most of the time it is free for a library card and free to rent DVD’s from the exercise section. Try a few and see what you like. Don’t have time for a whole video or just want something different, check out barrier 2 for the 10 minute AM calisthenics work out.
- The Barrier: I want to spend time with my children after work- the Solution: Multitask and do exercise together. Walk together, push a stroller, go rollerskating or bike riding. Learn an new skill together by finding deals for local activities like rock climbing, Trampoline places or local pools for swimming. Want to stay in your own house. Head to the library for a video to check out! Toddlers love to dance and like bright colors so choose a DVD with upbeat music. I bet you could keep them moving with a Zumba DVD, and you would be doing double duty chasing after them during the breaks!
- The Barrier: I work long hours and just want to relax when I get home- The Solutions: sounds like you are taking on some serious stress from your job. You know what helps with stress? That’s right, exercise does. If your habit is to kick your shoes off right when you get home and relax, then try going for a walk around your office before leaving work to let off a little steam and decompress. Once you get home and kick off your shoes try sitting on the floor instead of the couch. Spend a few minutes stretching on the floor to help you further decompress and release muscle tension caused by stress. A 10 minute walk after work plus 10 minutes spent stretching when you get home is 20 minutes of exercise a day! 5 x 20 is 100 minutes of exercise a week, and we are not even to the weekend yet.
- The Barrier: exercise is boring- The Solution: find an exercise you love. Finding an exercise that is right for you is like dating, don’t settle for something that does not make you happy. Keep trying new things! Rollerblade, rock climb, hike, kayak, swim, try a dance class, ballet, hip hop, Zumba, yoga, road biking, mountain biking, ice skating, jump rope, belly dancing, aerial yoga, gymnastics, resistance exercise in a class or with a partner, the list is a mile long. If that doesn’t work, hit the internet for a social club like softball, kickboxing, running clubs or biking clubs. I like meetup.com for social exercise groups. Try challenging yourself with an event by looking up obstacle races or charity races that you are interested in. Get a group together to help raise awareness or funds for a good cause. You would be surprised at what is available for adults in these areas, all you have to do is look and be open to new experiences.
- The Barrier: I have lost my motivation- The Solution: You could be suffering from burn out. Either you started too fast and have a program that is not realistic or sustainable, or your exercise is in need of some modifying. Try taking a break from the current routine and either get some extra rest or go in a different direction. Try a new exercise form like one of the recommendations form barrier 6. Also try reminding yourself of the reasons you started exercising in the first place. Can’t remember any reasons? Check out my blog on the benefits of exercise HERE.
- The Barrier: I’m not seeing the results I want- The Solution: Evaluate your time frame. Remember that realistic weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week, and sustaining that amount of weight loss each week is extremely difficult and will take consistent exercise and diet modifications. If you have been exercising and did not start with good nutrition, check out my blog on why that is important HERE
- The Barrier: I was seeing results but now I am stuck in a plateau- The Solution: Progression! You have to progress to continue to achieve your fitness goals. The body is incredibly efficient and will learn to do exercise in the most efficient ways possible. That means that you will be able to do the same exercises with less energy output. In order to progress you have to continue to overload your muscles by either increasing the frequency of exercise session, the time spent in each exercise session, the intensity of each exercise session (increasing speed, reps, sets or weight amounts), or just try a new exercise that you body has not adapted to yet. To learn more about exercise efficiency and principles of training, check out my blog HERE.
- The Barrier: I have too much to lose or too long of a way to go to achieve my goals- The Solution: Realize that you are worth it and that feelings of pride and accomplishment are waiting for you to achieve. You have the ability to change your health, even if that means little steps at a time. There is no better time to start setting goals than now. To learn how to set realistic goals stay tuned to the blog for a goal setting post! Remember that just 10 minutes a day 5 x a week adds up to 50 minutes of exercise each week!