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12 Days of Fitness 2012 – Day 10: Top 10 Reasons Why People Don’t Exercise and Their Solutions

December 19, 2012 0 Comments

(This is Part 10 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful fitness tips over the holiday season)

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. As a fitness professional for almost 20 years, I’ve heard them all. None of them are any good, particularly when they’re accompanied by the justification for them. Just say “no” and at least we know what the true intention is.  The fact of the matter is, most will always find a reason for coming up short or not succeeding in what they hoped would be different this time. So here are 10 of the top excuses I’ve heard and since I don’t handle excuses well, I’m going to offer my response to each in a positive, constructive way.

  1. No time in my busy schedule. We all have the same 24 hours in a day: from the neurosurgeon to the President of the United States. You don’t have the time because you don’t make the time.  Schedule workout time just as you would an appointment for anything else, even if just for 15 minutes.
  2. No energy/lack of discipline. These two often get lumped together with one generally causing the other and vice versa.  No energy is a direct result of lousy nutrition and/or poor sleeping patterns.  Lack of discipline comes from not a true desire to accomplish something. True desire trumps discipline every time. The quick fixes? Clean up your eating, get ample rest, and set a true, attainable goal.
  3. Not enjoyable. Find something you love, not like, to do. We brush/floss our teeth everyday (at least I hope so) and I’ve never found anyone who says they really love brushing/flossing their teeth, yet we do it.  There are literally hundreds of ways to get physical movement. Sure, there are those that are better for attaining specific goals, but just first find something that gets you moving and keeps you moving.
  4. Expense of equipment, clothes, or membership. Give me 10 minutes and I’ll work you harder than you ever worked minus equipment or the need for special clothes in a space no bigger than your bathroom. Fitness can be obtained without any of those things. All it takes is a body with arms, legs, a heart, and lungs.
  5. Distance / inconvenience. If you can step out of bed, you’ve already reached your destination. But if you do need to travel for your fitness, industry statistics prove that any further than 10 minutes away and adherence drops off by 66%.  Find something close and convenient.  The backyard is usually not too far away.
  6. Boredom / lack of variety. Again, there are literally hundreds of different ways to get physical activity so there’s no excuse. Find something that at least gets you excited or least creates some anticipation for attending.  And if you need variety, just take whatever you do and change your approach every time. (i.e. exercises you do on certain days, new way to do cardio, reps and sets of a particular exercise, etc.)
  7. Injury / health problems / chronic physical discomfort. First, get those physical ailments addressed; don’t use them as a crutch for more sitting.  Check with your doctor before moving on from a health issue or chronic condition.  But I can tell you from many years of experience, I have worked and met with clients who continued to move despite the beliefs of many around them because they made a conscious choice to do so.
  8. Embarrassment / social discomfort. Start in the comfort of your own home.  When you get moving and feeling a little bit better, move on to more public settings, although still not necessary.  Understand this though.  If you go to a health club or gym, most of the people there once started out just like you.  And now, they could really care less about what you’re doing. Walking in is the victory.
  9. Lack of understanding of the benefits of exercise. Whether new or experienced, I never assume what a client knows or does not know. Ask questions, read, work with a professional, etc. Just don’t blindly head into an exercise program and think you know what you’re doing. Could be the difference between continuing and quitting.
  10. Apathy. I have found that this is the summation of the previous 9 excuses. But if some or at least one of the 9 excuses can be resolved, I’m confident that apathy quickly diminishes.  However, for those who never really see, want, or appreciate the benefits of physical activity, there’s really not a lot to say except I wish I could have the opportunity to convince them otherwise

I conclude by sharing with you a quote I came across within the past month.

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something you do it only when circumstances permit. When you’re committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.”

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 11 of the 12 Days of Fitness

My 2012 Fitness Challenge personal update – 35,300 push ups done as of publishing time



About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

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