Not Enough Time
Having not enough time to exercise is a very common reason for people not staying in shape. It can be challenging to set time aside for exercise- this is where planning and being creative can help! A great place to start is to evaluate what you’re currently doing. Keep track of where your time goes for a few days and identify at least three- 30 minute slots you could use for physical activity. You may be surprised at the length of time you watch TV/Movies, get on FB or talk to a friend that is completely draining you. I often recommend this as a first step because clearing your plate first- is WAY easier than trying to add to it when it’s already overflowing.
Another option is to get up earlier- even 30 minutes twice a week will make a difference. I love to wake up at 5:30 am to go for a morning run. Hardly any traffic and it’s peaceful! Any time you can move is good so rethink how you “exercise”. Are you able to walk or bike to the store vs. driving? Take the stairs over the elevator? Can you park furthest away from the door of the Grocery Store? All these micro moves can add up and have a positive impact on your fitness.
If you workout all the time, you’ve likely experience an injury at some point. It can be very frustrating when this happens. Some of the common injuries from sports and physical activity include sprains and strains, swollen muscles, pain along the shin bone, knee and rotator cuff injuries. It can be discouraging when you get hurt, but there are ways to still be active.
Note that you should not start your sport or activity again though until the pain, swelling and stiffness has improved drastically. If you’re a runner and you’re injured- you can switch to Pool running (also know as aqua jogging). This is a very effective cross training technique. This is a low impact, high resistance exercise that still engages the same group of muscles used when running. Working out in the pool is also great for cardio! Runners with a sprained ankle, etc. could also work on upper body and core strength using weights.
Or, another example, if you’re a weightlifter and you’ve hurt your wrist- this could be a good time to do cardio workouts that you normally wouldn’t do.
Other ways to stay fit when injured include yoga, using resistance bands, take easy walks or bicycle (depending on injuries). I have a good friend who has arthritis in her ankles, so she can’t run anymore; so she bikes instead!
It can be tough to get started with a regular exercise routine, but it’s definitely not impossible! By going your own pace and taking small steps, you CAN meet your goals. There are ways to make workout sessions manageable and effective. You can push yourself little by little and overtime you will see significant results. The key is to go at your OWN pace- so this may require solo workouts initially (where you don’t feel pressured to keep up) or getting a personal trainer.
Walking: Start by walking in the park. Walking is one of the best ways to improve your fitness and help you lose weight. You may not get fast results, but sticking with it is the goal. You want to incorporate activity into your daily routine until it becomes part of your lifestyle. If you lose weight, then stop exercising there’s a good chance of the weight returning. Walking 1 mile can burn about 100 calories.
Outdoor Workout: Head outdoors to your nearest park and do body weight exercises. This is one of my favorite ways to exercise. Push ups are a great place to start. You don’t have to do traditional push ups either. Modifications can include standing up with your hands pushed against a tree rather than the floor. Do a “wall sit” against the tree, squats and lunges in the grass or tri-cep dips on a bench.
Riding a bike: This can be a great way to lose weight. Bike riding is excellent for all around fitness. It’s an aerobic activity that is low impact, high cardio, builds muscle strength and great for ALL different levels.
According to the CDC, a bike ride slower than 10 miles per hour on flat ground is considered moderate intensity-which will increase your breathing rate but allow you to chat with your girlfriend. If you bike faster than 10 mph, your getting more vigorous exercise. Calories you can burn depends on the distance, time, intensity and speed. On average, a moderate pace outdoors for 30 minutes for an average adult burns about 300 calories.
Look at ways you can incorporate bike riding into your lifestyle. Can you ride a bike to the store? Can you ride to work? Can you go for family bike rides on the weekends vs. going to the mall?
The fresh air and natural scenery you get from exercising outdoors is also great for your mental health. You’ll reduce stress, increase your endorphins and get your daily dose of Vitamin D.
Not Motivated/Feeling Lazy
This is a common reason for not working out. Most often, it’s the action that needs to come first. There are many days where I wake up and just don’t want to go for a run. To help with this, I set out my workout clothes, shoes, running bag the night before. Seeing my clothes all ready to go actually helps to motivate me. It’s a weird little trick that actually works. … Not being motivated or feeling “lazy” can have underlying reasons. Have you set unrealistic expectations? Start small- walk around the block several times a week. You will find that once you’re consistent with this, you will WANT to start walking further. Another tip is to identify your peak energy times. Maybe you’ve been trying to work out in the mornings, but it’s actually the evening times you have more energy. If you dread your workouts, then it could be time to change them up. Look into fun outdoor activities that you will look forward to!
Finally, if you don’t like working out on your own, you can Join MeetUps. There are many free ones like Hiking, Biking, and Socials in Phx where you can join a community of fitness enthusiasts.
Lack of resources, money, & equipment
This should not be a barrier in any way. There’s no need to spend a lot of money; body and the outdoors is all you need. Okay, and a quality pair of running/workout shoes. If you wanted to purchase equipment, small hand weights and bands cost minimal. It’s amazing what you can do with your own body weight though and some creativity. From mountains and meadows to parks and playgrounds to beaches and benches; these are all settings in which you’re able to do pushups, lunges, run, walk, stretch, balancing exercises and much more!
Friends & Family Don’t Share Your Interest(s)
This can be a challenging one- especially when you feel the activities you love to do takes time away from your loved ones. Start discussing with your family how important this particular sport or activity is to you and decide on days/times that work for everyone. You never know if over time that you could be a positive influence for your family; they would see how fit you’re getting and to the point they would want to join you.
Not sharing the same interests as your friends and family may also mean you don’t have anyone to work out with. A solution for this (Going back to a previous example) is to join different clubs or fitness groups where you always have others to join you. Stay strong
Exercise is Boring
Yes- doing the same type of exercises can definitely get boring over time. It is natural to feel this way if you don’t have variety in your workouts. Exercising comes in many different forms. Water skiing, paddleboarding, frisbee golf, tennis, riding a bike, playing hoops at the park are all a fraction of the different ways you can stay fit.
You can also look at exercise as a way to learn new skills. Mountain biking is a great example of this. Riding on dirt trails requires navigating around, over and through obstacles, takes an immense amount of coordination, concentration, and mental toughness. You can also change up your routine with friends. Rather than go for just coffee- meet for a hike or walk first!
Too Self Conscious When Working Out
Being self-conscious goes into a whole other topic- self esteem, etc. So we’re talking quick fix here. Change your scene where there are less people (local park) or go hiking, etc. with a group of friends that you know won’t judge you. Do your best to focus your mind on the positive aspects of you being active rather than what other’s may be thinking about you. Exercising with friends can help too – since you all can support each other.
Too Tired After Work
Ooh- this can be a vicious cycle. You need exercise to give you energy. But if you’re too tired then you don’t work out. This is where you can take baby steps to break the cycle. For instance, set a goal to walk 2-3 times a week for only 15 minutes. You need to prove to yourself that you can be successful. You can walk first thing in the morning when you wake up, on your lunch break or after dinner. Once you are consistent, then add to the time or add more days. No matter how tired you are- don’t give up!
I haven’t had to travel for years now, but I can recall the challenges of staying fit on trips. I remember being tired from the plane ride and driving to the location once I landed. Don’t be too hard on yourself and know that even 15 minutes of physical activity is better than none. Rather than sitting in the chair waiting on your flight, take a walk in the airport. Do your best to incorporate physical activity wherever you can. Perhaps you take a walk if you have a meeting via phone. Or- you get up 15 minutes early and swim in the Hotel pool before getting ready. Portable equipment like jump ropes or resistance bands are also great ways to work out when you’re on the road.
Challenges with Staying Fit Summary
No matter the obstacle you’re facing- there is always a way to get fit. Initially, it may take some serious determination to start. Once you do though, you’ll get addicted to staying active. As you’ve seen, there are many different ways to exercise and stay fit. If you are determined- then nothing will get in your way!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post- I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Have other challenges you’ve overcome? Would love to hear them. Please leave a comment!