Identifying and Overcoming Common Barriers to Exercise

Identifying and Overcoming Common Barriers to Exercise

Don’t let pesky barriers to exercise get in the way of building a healthy, happy life! Here are a few things that often go awry, that can get solved with simple solutions.

It’s common for things to go a bit differently as planned when trying to stick to a new and improved lifestyle. Use these creative solutions to get past them so that you can stay on track with your goals! Overcoming barriers can set a new ceiling for your success!

Barrier to Exercise #1: Not making fitness and a healthy diet your top priority.

When we’re overworked or lacking free time, squeezing in fitness, and healthy eating can easily fall to the bottom of our to-do list. Although it can be challenging at times, remember that fitness and a nutritious eating plan can lower your stress levels, decrease your chances of chronic disease, and put you in a better mood! 

If you’re still feeling pinched for time, start with small goals to get back on track. Even if it’s just a short walk around the block after work, get out and do it. Slowly add 5 minutes each week until you’re up to 30 minutes. If you’re exercising consistently but late at night, and not giving it enough effort due to fatigue, try heading to bed early to make an early morning workout a new priority.

Barrier to Exercise #2: Forgetting to prepare for workouts.

Planning isn’t always easy– but luckily, there are a few simple fixes for this problem. For starters, if your gym is open again, you can pack your gym bag the night before in case you hit the snooze button one too many times. You can also try renting locker space at the gym, so you’ll always have a ready-to-go exercise kit. Hey, some people (ahem) even sleep in their yoga pants to make sure they get up and hit the mat first thing! Find a solution that works best for you and your daily living.

Barrier to Exercise #3: Drinking too much alcohol and recovering from a hangover.

Ugh, we’ve all been there -or most of us anyway! Nothing rains on a fitness-day-parade like a night of poor sleep and a wrenching headache the next morning. To prevent a productivity-killing hangover, start with a glass of water before and after that one alcoholic drink for ladies and two for men. 

Staying ultra-hydrated is key to warding off a hangover! It will also slow down the rate at which you drink, so you are more aware of how much you have had. If you know you have a long night ahead, try drinking light beer since it has a lower alcohol content. Plus, your feeling of fullness from the liquids helps to prevent the overconsumption of alcohol. 

Finally, eat a balanced meal before or during the time you drink to help slow the absorption of alcohol and prevent you from going overboard.

Barrier to Exercise #4: Leaving fitness to the end of the day.

Unless you are a night owl, postponing your workout until the evening can be an exercise death sentence. After a long day’s work, your motivation to break a sweat may be slim to none, ultimately delaying your regiment yet another day. While your morning snooze button may be tempting, your desire to rest after a busy day will be even greater. 

If you are one of many who bail on the gym after work or taking care of the kids, try working out in the morning or the afternoon. If you can’t bear to wake up any earlier, go to the gym on your lunch break and feel refreshed for the remainder of the afternoon. But, if evenings seem to be the only possibility, join a recreational league sports team, or find a workout partner. Having a certain degree of accountability will help facilitate a workout, regardless of the time of day. If you work from home and have flexibility, schedule your workout in the same way you would for a conference call. Then just extend your workday. You may find your more productive all around!

Barrier to Exercise #5: Feeling overwhelmed by working out.

At one point or another, exercise is new for everyone! Don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed by your upcoming journey, and instead, break down your long-term goals into small yet achievable ones. Like any routine, it takes time to establish. Start small. Set goals of 20-minute workouts or walks after dinner. Watch a youtube video on proper form, so you have more confidence when starting something new, like using fitness bands, or free weights.

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Once it becomes second nature, incrementally set new goals to increase your workouts’ duration or intensity. Reward yourself after you have reached your goal for a month. Even if it is just a treat like a seeing a movie, getting a manicure, or buying a new workout headband. Rewards can help keep you motivated for the next month’s goal. You can also work up to more intense HIIT works outs to save time.

Barrier to Exercise #6: Not having time to work out.

Life can be B-U-S-Y. Sometimes, it may seem like there isn’t any room on your overloaded plate for exercise. But life is all about perception! Start by sitting down and writing out your daily schedule. You may find a block of time where you are free or a period where you are doing something that you don’t need to – hello, Netflix binge). 

You can also do exercises while getting chores done, like laundry or cleaning.  Pencil in a 15-minute workout and give it a try. Squeezing in a short workout a few times a week is better than nothing! Not to mention, it will help create a lasting habit of working out. Write it in and make it happen!

Barrier to Exercise #7: Not knowing how to work out.

Okay, so it’s been a while since you worked out. While starting a new fitness routine may be intimidating, it’s time to dust of your sneakers and jump into your new exercise journey. Whether you’ve been on a workout hiatus, or it’s your first day, it’s important to establish solid basics. If possible, start with a trainer to help you learn the ropes…and use them too. 

Feeling confident about your abilities will make working out more fun and safe. But, if that’s not doable, grab a friend to help ease your first-day gym-jitters. Finally, try one of many fitness videos or apps to perform an at-home workout! Pro tip: exercise in front of a mirror to always have an eye on your form.  While new activities can feel scary, don’t let it stop you from slaying your goals. 

Barrier to Exercise #8: Not having the equipment/money for a gym membership.

Staying fit doesn’t have to break the bank. Take a walk or jog and explore different parts of your neighborhood! If this is not an option, there are plenty of bodyweight exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home with little to no equipment required! Check out low-energy, high-impact leg exercises for some ideas.

Barrier to Exercise #9: Not getting enough quality sleep. 

When you are well-rested, it feels as though you can conquer all. Energy fueled workouts. Healthier food choices. Productivity at work. It’s not just about the number of hours that you sleep, but also the quality. There are tons of strategies for a good night’s sleep that can keep you feeling like a modern-day superhero. For instance, try minimizing artificial light from televisions, laptops, and phones for more restorative zzz’s. And, don’t forget to embrace natural sunlight to maximize sleep time. Keep up with your busy lifestyle, and don’t let poor sleep quality be the kryptonite to your healthy living goals. 

Barrier to Exercise #10: Not having exercise clothes that fit right.

This one may not stand out as the first barrier on your list, but feeling good while working out is a big part of the equation. If you have pants that slide down or distract you from your workout, it will make you less likely to want to do that exercise. Clothes can also make a big difference in your mindset when going to the gym – you want to feel great in your skin! If it’s time to revamp your exercise clothes, find a brand that you can go to without fail. See it as an investment you’re making in your health!

Overcoming barriers to exercise can make a world of a difference in your physical activity routine. It’s time to break down those barriers to exercise! We’ve all faced at least one of these roadblocks to healthy living, but now you have the tools to make that exercise routine happen. Next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or making excuses, check in with this article, and take action!

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