How to Ditch Those Exercise Excuses – Once and for All

Whether you’re an exercise newbie or you’ve been walking or running for years, we all find it hard to maintain motivation, especially when the weather is against us, or we’re just not in the mood.

Committing to long-term lifestyle change can be challenging, and it’s often easy to make excuses. However, as you’ll see here, exercise excuses rarely stand up to scrutiny. Been inactive can have serious consequences for our physical and mental health. So here I tackle the most common excuses and suggest ways to finally ditch them.

Top 5 Exercise Excuses & How To Deal With Them

1. “I don’t have the time”

You’re working, looking after your family, or perhaps even a sick relative – when are you supposed to fit it in? The answer is you just have to make it a priority.

The benefits are too many to ignore.

Still feeling guilty?

Then think about the fact that it can make you more productive at work and in your life in general, plus it will give you the energy you need to do all the things you do! Busy people find that scheduling it into the diary is the only way, just the way you would with a work or social event. Also, try to make exercise just part of your daily routine – so walk to get the milk and paper, or build it into your commute.

2. “I might get injured”

It’s true that an injury becomes more common after middle-age. But did you know that getting stronger, through exercise, actually makes it less – not more – likely that you’ll fall or get injured (see ‘I’m too old’ below!).

By making sure to warm up muscles, and being shown how to perform exercises in a safe and controlled way, there should be no problem. It is important to listen to your own body though, and to stop if something just doesn’t feel right.

Also, if you are just embarking on exercise after a period of relative inactivity, it’s important to build it up slowly.

Often people make the mistake of going in too strong, and doing too much, too soon. Then when those people get hurt, they succumb to the attitude of ‘I just can’t exercise anymore’. You can, just maybe not the way you used to. It may just require different training strategies, more rest periods, a different sport, but you can do it. And you should do it. It will help you live a an improved quality of life both now and in the future.

3. “It’s boring”

Running, swimming or cycling aren’t the only exercises our there (frankly, I can’t bear any of them!). Would you believe that there are about 8,000 different sports to choose from? Ballroom dancing, gardening, mowing the lawn, housework, walking a dog or painting a room all count. Don’t be afraid to shake things up.

Exercise can be anything that gets you moving, elevates your heart rate and challenges your muscles.

Consider joining a hiking club, or organise a few friends to start a dance class.

Instead of using boredom as an excuse to not do it, find ways to make it fun.

Involving friends and family to make activities more fun, sociable and enjoyable is known to work.

Go jogging with a friend and support and motivate each other, take the children swimming or join an exercise class.

Put some pumping music on and have fun – exercise is only boring if you allow it to be!

4. “I’m too tired”

It’s a vicious cycle. You’re too tired to set the alarm half an hour earlier, or to get off the couch once you fall into it in the evening. Your lack of exercise leads to less energy and your tiredness worsens. It’s time to bite the bullet and break the cycle. Studies show that regular exercise actually boosts your energy.

A University of Georgia study, for example, claimed exercising three times a week at low and moderate intensities made people feel less lethargic. Physical activity helps you make more energy and can increase the number of mitochondria in your cells. Mitochondria turn glucose and fat into ATP, the chemical your body uses as energy.

Also, remember to reward yourself for making your exercise appointments. Recognise when you achieve your goals. Think of things that you could reward yourself with, like a copy of your favourite magazine, a new pair of trainers or a massage.

5. “I’m too old”

Being older makes it even more important to exercise!

Those who exercise regularly have a 30 per cent lower risk of early death, around 68 per cent lower risk of hip fracture, 30 per cent lower risk of dementia and a 30 per cent lower risk of falls. To reap these benefits, a minimum 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity is recommended per week.

Increasing our muscle mass as we age is crucial for our general health, but particularly for weight management.

Strength training, such as squats and lunges, are especially good for building muscle and elevating our metabolic rate so that we burn fat, even while we are sleeping!

Pick one of the exercise excuses from the list above, just one! Start to incorporate that change into your daily routine. Then look to add a second, one that sits more comfortably with you and now you are 2 down and only 3 to go.

Championing your exercise excuses requires a modest amount of effort and the rewards are incredible.

Blog Post by Maebh Coyle