By W. Cameron Tucker
We all know we should exercise…why don’t we? No one said starting a regular exercise program is easy. The toughest part is finding the motivation and then committing to a routine on a regular basis. The biggest roadblock for me was always finding the time. Exercise was on my to-do list every day, but I just couldn’t seem to fit it in. Until I did. That’s when I realized I had simply been making excuses. What’s your reason for procrastinating? Once you figure out the reason, you can learn to confront the excuses that might derail your best intentions.
The 5 MOST COMMON EXERCISE EXCUSES
EXCUSE #1: I DON’T HAVE TIME.
This is a popular one. As with everything else in life, you do what’s important to you. If you really want to start to exercise, you will find the time. The best time for me was in the morning before work. Waking up one hour early provided me with enough time to do my workout. I thought getting up early might make me more tired by the end of the day, but I found I had more energy which gave me extra time in my day. Others, who may not be morning people, may find it easier to exercise at the end of the work day. There are no right answers; just do what works for you.
EXCUSE #2: I’M TOO TIRED.
You may not have a lot of stamina, but have you considered that you perhaps you feel tired because you aren’t exercising? Force yourself to put on your gym shorts and go. Start out slowly, perhaps with a walk, and preferably with a friend so you have someone to hold you accountable. Exercise also improves your sleep, so if you sleep better, you wake up with more energy. Getting started is the hardest part, but once you start to feel the benefits of exercise, you will want to continue.
EXCUSE #3: I’M NOT AN ATHLETE – WHERE DO I START?
Most of us aren’t athletes. And it’s not necessary to run marathons or a competitive gymnast to be fit. The truth is all you really need is a desire to improve your health with exercise. Once you make the decision to start, find an activity you enjoy at a location that’s convenient for you. If you’re not having fun or you need to drive to an out of the way place, you are not likely to stick with your program. Start slowly and increase your time and intensity slowly. If you are starting something new, take a beginner class to avoid frustration. Remember you are not competing with others; you only need to do your personal best and strive to do a little better than you did the time before.
EXCUSE #4: I’M UNCOMFORTABLE AT THE GYM.
So don’t go to the gym. Home workouts can be found in abundance on the internet. Many instructional videos don’t even require any equipment. If you have the funds in your budget, hire a personal trainer who will come to your house. They will work with you at your own pace and make sure you are exercising safely with good form. Once you have more confidence about your fitness and ability to exercise, you might want to try the gym again. I enjoy the social aspect of working out with others and you may find that you do too.
EXCUSE #5: EXERCISE IS BORING.
It needn’t be. Don’t do the same workout or exercise all the time. Find a few activities you enjoy and mix it up. Talk a walk for 30 minutes on Monday. Do a light weight workout on Wednesday and play tennis on Friday. You will improve your fitness level without it feeling like a chore.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
We know fitness is 90% mental and 10% physical. Whether you are a professional athlete, a newbie or somewhere in between, the biggest obstacle is usually what’s going on in your mind. And most of the battle is just putting on your shoes. Often people will keep moving if they can just get their shoes on and get out the door.
If you’re honest with yourself, you know deep down that health and exercise should be a priority, right up there with family and paying bills. Good health will allow you to continue to feel young as you age. You will appreciate being able to keep up with your grandchildren someday and so will they!
W. Cameron Tucker is a 6th generation Texan, related to the first President of Baylor University, Rufus Burleson and the singer, Janis Joplin. He began his career as an architect, but went on to found several businesses related to different aspects of real estate, exercise and one car dealership. Later in life, W became an actor in Hollywood and was featured in various movies and TV shows including Betty White’s “Hot in Cleveland”.
An exercise enthusiast, W. recently launched a podcast, “Healthy and Fit After 40” , to share his expertise and help people meet their exercise goals. He also owns the online business muscleandfitnessworkouts.com .
Related article: Why Regular Exercise is Essential for Aging Well