Overcoming Exercise Obstacles

Clients often tell me they have roadblocks that prevent them from exercising. Sometime they are real obstacles, and other times they are imagined.

People set out to start an exercise program and there is great enthusiasm at first, but actually exercising can feel like a chore.  How do some people make exercise look so fun and easy?

Obstacles are expected in competitive exercise. In high school I enjoyed running the 400-meter hurdle, but there were times when I did not clear the hurdles.  Knocking down a hurdle doesn’t disqualify you from a race, but it does slow down you pace.  The same is true for moderate exercise for better health and wellness; obstacles slow your journey to success, but only if you allow them to!

Obstacles to exercise are only as ‘real’ or as large as you make them out to be emotionally.  One of the most common obstacles I hear is that people are too busy to work out.  This is always kind of an entertaining response!  Sometimes clients are asked to write down their daily schedules so they have more control over their activity.  Many clients are surprised how much down time they actually have – one woman even realized she watched more than 20 hours of TV a week, yet still felt “too busy” to exercise.  Imagine what would happen even if she just exercised while watching her favorite shows! That’s an obstacle that is easy to knock down.

Having a sedentary or desk job is another perceived obstacle. My answer: get creative! It’s not mandatory to exercise all in one session. Make a conscious effort to incorporate short bouts of exercise into your workday.  For example, turn a trip to the water cooler into a 3 to 5 minute exercise set. Set your phone alarm to notify you at the top of the hour to do something physical – I call it “Power by the Hour.” A desk job may be a hurdle, but you can work around it.

Another common excuse – I’m too tried to exercise after a long day at work. Unfortunately the reality is that the more sedentary you become the more tired you become. Why? Because it’s a cycle. The only way to get the motivation and energy to exercise more is to, well, exercise. To get around this hurdle, consider adjusting your schedule: wake up earlier, workout at increments throughout the day, or when you get home- don’t immediately sit down on the couch. Stay moving and transition right into your workout.

A new outlook can get you over almost any hurdle. The same is true for your bone health journey – setting aside time and making smarter choices puts you on the right path for long term bone health.

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