Spring is here and you know what that means– it won’t be long before you’ll be itching to hit the beach and soak up the summer sun. If you haven’t already made a New Year’s Resolution to bust out your sneakers and hit the gym, then we’re betting that the warm weather has made the thought cross your mind. However, we’re also willing to guess that there are about twenty other things you’d rather do than break a sweat. From busy schedules to financial obstacles, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten excuses not to exercise. Are you guilty of one of them? With our suggestions, you’ll not only find helpful resources, but motivation to get in shape.
1. “I hate exercising because it’s boring.”
This is probably the number one excuse– and it has the easiest solution. Understandably, exercising can get a little monotonous. It’s important to establish a routine, yet recognize when it’s time to switch it up. Have a gym membership but haven’t used it? Make a great playlist of your favorite songs. Sometimes, a little music can provide monumental amounts of motivation. Or, bring your favorite book or magazine to read while on the treadmill or elliptical.
Hate going to the gym solo? Bring a friend– you can provide support and encouragement for one another. If you have a pet, turn your daily walks into an opportunity to burn some calories. The Mayo Clinic reports, “If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories per day. At that rate, you’d lose about another 1/3 of a pound a week. The more you walk and the quicker your pace, the more calories you’ll burn.”
Not a gym rat? There are still many ways to get in a workout. Think outside of the box. Try out unconventional activities– such as rock climbing, hiking, or skating. Sign up for a dance class. Take advantage of the weather and visit your local park. Try to pick an activity that reflects your interests and passions. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.
2. “I don’t have enough money to join a gym.”
Who says that you have to join a gym to exercise? There are tons of easy exercise tips and tricks that can be conducted right in the comfort of your own bedroom. Many of these only require a yoga mat. A quick Google search provides plenty of suggestions. Women’s Health has a short article about various exercises that give a full-body workout. Similarly, ELLE.com provides great at-home fitness tips. If you’re more of a visual person, YouTube is not only a treasure trove of viral gems such as “keyboard cat” and “Tay Zonday,” but it also features a plethora of exercise tutorials.
In the age of the Internet, the newspaper is often an overlooked source. Pick up the paper and find free or relatively low-cost fitness classes at your local community center or YMCA. Some cities and towns even have intramural sports teams that residents can join, such as ZogSports. ZogSports caters to New York City residents and features activities such as kickball, indoor soccer, volleyball, and softball.
If you’re a student, look for gyms that offer discounts. If the price is still taking a toll on your wallet, look no further than your alma mater. Most universities and colleges have gyms that are free for enrolled students, and discounted for alumni.
Finally, some websites, such as TheDailyPlate, offer free exercise regimens that track calories and provide motivational tips and tools to help you reach your goal weight. Glamour.com also offers a similar program.
3. “I’m too busy and I don’t have time.”
Make a conscious effort to schedule exercise into your daily routine. Think of it as an “appointment” that you have to keep. The goal is to make exercise a habitual activity, rather than something done inconsistently.
Another helpful trick is to break up your exercise routine into smaller chunks. Spread out your exercise routine throughout the day– try a quick jog in the morning and then light cardio at night. Do crunches or sit-ups during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV program. According to WebMD, “The U.S. Surgeon General recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, which may sound daunting, but actually works out to a little over 20 minutes each day. The good news is that three ten-minute exercise sessions work just about as well as one thirty-minute one– and can be much easier to fit into your schedule.”
Additionally, sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way. Ride your bike or walk to work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. After awhile, all of those burned calories will add up.
4. “I’m too tired and/or I’m not in the mood.”
Believe it or not, exercise can actually alleviate stress and tension. Exercise “releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters produced in the brain that reduce feelings of pain,” says Alan Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago via iVillage.
Although it may seem counterproductive, working out not only reduces stress, but also gives you more energy. Once the endorphins are released and your circulation gets going, it’s guaranteed that your feelings of fatigue will wear off.
If you find that it’s simply the time of day that’s impacting your motivation, pick another time that works best for you. Not a morning person? Plan your workout for sometime later in the day or whenever you feel more alert and ready.
5. “Why bother? I never see results.”
This may be a case of altering your mindset. If you’re not seeing results, rethink your goals. Obviously, aiming to drop 30 lbs in three weeks isn’t exactly a realistic goal.
On the other hand, maybe the problem revolves around your workout itself. Are you using proper form and technique while exercising? Cornell McClellan, a personal trainer for President Obama and Michelle Obama, told the Chicago Sun-Times that, “It doesn’t matter how often you hit the gym if you are performing ineffective exercises. Not only are you wasting your time, you also are risking injury.”
6. “I feel too self-conscious to go to the gym.”
If you feel self-conscious about going to the gym, you’re not alone. In a poll conducted by the American Council on Exercise, “19 percent of respondents said they’re too out of shape to work out– they’re afraid they’ll be the only one at the gym who isn’t buff.”
A solution? Think about signing up for a group class. You may feel less pressure since the focus is on the performance of the entire group and less on the individual. Or, if that doesn’t work for you, consider getting a personal trainer. You’ll be able to get one-on-one help without feeling like you’re in front of a large audience.
If you don’t find any of these options appealing, there are plenty of exercise DVDs that can combat your anxiety. The Wii Fit is another great option for those who don’t like the gym atmosphere.
7. “I’m too sore from my workout yesterday.”
Light exercise is the key to working out through sore muscles. Priscilla M. Clarkson, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science at the University of Massachusetts told Fitness Magazine that, “light exercise the day after an intense workout may help you recover faster. When you lift weights, you cause microtears in your muscles that then mend, making the muscle even stronger. Exercise increases blood flow, nourishing the muscles with oxygen and removing waste products.”
Do you think that you’ve overworked yourself? Find out your target heart rate using a handy calculator. This will give you a better understanding of the optimum heart rate you need during each work out in order to see results.
Of course, if you feel like you’re having muscle problems or that the soreness is beyond normal, make an appointment with your doctor.
8. “I’ve never exercised before. Why bother now?”
It’s never too late to get into shape. In addition to the obvious benefits of weight control, WebMD reported that, “studies show that resistance (strengthening) exercises also boost bone mass and keep muscles strong.” Regular exercise can help prevent the later onset of osteoporosis. The benefits of exercise are too obvious to dismiss.
9. “I’m already thin.”
Being thin doesnt necessarily equal being healthy. Not only does enforcing a steady exercise regimen help maintain your weight, but it helps prevent health problems further down the road– like high cholesterol or heart disease. Even if you are thin, you still might have an excess amount of body fat.
U.S. News reported that, “It’s been known for a while that normal-weight people can have a higher than recommended percentage of body fat. A researcher in the U.K. calls these people ‘TOFIs, for ‘thin outside, fat inside.’ This study found that despite falling within a healthy weight range for their height– a body mass index range of 18.5 to 24.9– more than 60 percent of study participants were too fat. (In other words, the men’s body fat percentages exceeded 20 percent; the women’s, 30 percent). And these folks were more likely to have risk factors for heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.”
10. “I can’t exercise because I think I may be coming down with a cold.”
Fitness Magazine reported, “Research from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, shows that working out with a head cold isn’t harmful. The study, which divided volunteers with colds into two groups– one that exercised every other day and the other not at all– found no difference in the duration or severity of volunteers’ symptoms.
If youre feeling very sick, by all means, get well. However, light exercise wont make your condition any worse.
Looks like it’s time we hit the gym– we’ve run out of excuses!