IN THE REHAB ZONE

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5 Common Fitness Barriers: Getting Started on Health and Exercise Goals

Getting back on the bandwagon is hard in almost everything we do. But getting started on health and exercise goals is the first key to success. Here are five common fitness barriers, along with some tips for making them disappear.

Barrier #1: Too Busy

It’s unlikely that you’re too busy to exercise. You probably just need to use a little creativity to get the most out of your time.

Solution:

Get up 30 minutes earlier. If your days are packed and the evening hours are just as hectic, get up 30 minutes earlier twice a week to exercise. Once you’ve adjusted to early-morning workouts, you can add another day or two to the routine.

Rethink your weekend rituals. Your Saturday matinee could be reborn as a Saturday bike ride, a trip to the pool or a hike.

Squeeze in a few 10-minute walks throughout the day. If you don’t have time for a full workout, don’t sweat it. Shorter spurts of exercise spaced throughout the day offer benefits as well.

Park in the back row of the parking lot. Or park a few blocks away — and then walk quickly to your destination.

Barrier #2: Boredom

It’s natural to grow weary with a repetitive workout, especially when you’re going it alone. But exercise doesn’t have to be boring.

Solution:

Exercise with a partner. Enjoy the camaraderie, and offer encouragement to one another when the going gets tough.

Vary the routine. Rotate among several activities — such as swimming, walking and cycling — to make things more interesting.

Check out sports leagues or exercise classes. You’ll learn new skills while getting a great workout.

Barrier #3: Fear

You’ve not done this before, or you’ve done it and got hurt, or you’re just unsure where to start or start over again.

Solution:

If you’re nervous about injuring yourself, try the following techniques.

Try an exercise class for beginners. Focus on the basics, and don’t worry about the hard stuff.

Consider working with a personal trainer. Get a customized fitness tutorial from a certified expert who can monitor your movements and point you in the right direction.

Keep the exercise simple. Start with a simple walking program. As you become more confident in your abilities, add new activities to your routine.

Barrier #4: Lack of Money

Gym memberships can be expensive and what about having to dress up in the newest gear to fit in?

Solution:

You don’t need a gym membership to get a great workout and being a fashion plate is rarely the point of going to the gym. Consider these alternatives.

Try the community center. Exercise classes offered through a local recreation department or a community fitness group might fit your budget better than an annual gym membership.

Take the stairs. Skip the elevator when you can. And try to make climbing stairs a workout in itself.

Do strengthening exercises at home. If you can’t afford weights, try inexpensive resistance bands. Or do squats or push-ups using your body weight to gain strength.

Watch exercise videos. Try videos on cardio kickboxing, aerobics, tai chi, yoga or other techniques.

Start a walking group. Round up friends, co-workers or neighbors for regular group walks. Plan routes through your neighborhood, near your workplace, or at local parks.

Barrier #5: Lack of Support

You want to go to the gym, but everyone needs you to do something else. Where’s the me time?

Solution:

Remind those close to you how beneficial exercise can be — and ask them to join you.

Suggest a new adventure. For example, invite a friend to go to an indoor climbing wall or rent a tandem bicycle.

Exercise and play with your kids. Sign up for a parent-child exercise class. Take your family to the park for a game of tag or kickball. Swim with the kids in the pool instead of watching from your chair.

In the end, there’s no obstacle to fitness that can’t be overcome. Just put your mind to it, take it a step at a time, and you’ll be surprised how easy exercise becomes over time.

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