Barriers to Better Fitness

January 01, 2009 - Posted by Joanna

Without a doubt, there are barriers that keep us from being active and achieving all of the health benefits that come with physical activity.  Barriers (also known as excuses) that are common include not enough time, too lazy, no money for a gym membership, fear of hurting yourself, can’t see the benefits right away and many others. So let’s tackle a few of them.

No time.
If you don’t have 30 minutes for a brisk walk, break it up into three 10 minute increments.  Try parking at the other end of the lot.  Instead of driving around looking for the closest spot, park a good distance from the door to get a few extra steps in. Finally, wake up earlier.  Easier said than done, I know.  But if you work up to it, it will gradually get easier.

Too lazy.
Start slow.  If you can do 2 days a week, great!  After a little bit, add another day.  Don’t go out with a vengeance and then burn out right away. Additionally, make fitness a priority.  Schedule a 15 minute walk like you would an important meeting and make it a non-negotiable. 

No money for a gym membership.
This is an easy one!  There are plenty of things you can do right in your own home: housework, yardwork and walking the dog are all good forms of physical activity.
For more options, a stability ball offers a lot of good workouts and is around $20-$25.

Fear of injury.
Again, start slow.  You don’t need to win a marathon if you’ve been sedentary for awhile. Start with a simple walking program.  Add to your routine as you feel comfortable in your abilities.  Make sure to check with your doctor if you recently had surgery or an injury. To help keep you motivated, try working with a personal trainer or take a beginning exercise class.  If you do belong to a gym, check the schedule for a beginning aerobics or yoga class.  The instructors will start with the basics.  If you feel comfortable, tell them your concerns and let them know you are a beginner.

Can’t see the benefits right away.
I hear this one a lot.  I know it’s frustrating to work so hard and then not notice any changes.  Keep in mind that the changes ARE happening.  Sometimes they are very gradual and you don’t notice them.  But keep at it and eventually you will see a difference. Also, remember that it’s not going to happen in a week.  Give it 10 weeks.  It seems like a lot, but if you stick to it, you’ll notice a difference.  Journaling will help you to remember how out of breath you were in the beginning compared to 10 weeks later!  Finally, p
air physical activity with the proper dietary intake and you will see differences sooner.  You’ll be amazed at what your body can do if you treat it right!

What are other barriers that you face?  How do you overcome them?  If you are in a rut or are having trouble getting started, remember that you are not alone.  Share your thoughts and tips!

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