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How To Overcome Common Exercise Barriers

What's one of the best things you can do for your mind and body? Keep it moving! Participating in various forms of exercise is an excellent way to stay in shape, especially if you work an office job or lead a sedentary lifestyle.


Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash


In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says being physically active can help you strengthen bones and muscles, manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, and s well as improve brain health. Not only that but it positively impacts your ability to do everyday activities. However, getting that workout in is often easier said than done. We've identified the most common obstacles that hinder people from starting or maintaining an exercise routine — and ways to overcome them.


Lack of Time and Busy Schedules

One of the top reasons people can't seem to get a workout in is being too busy. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends several no-brainer ways to exercise even if you don't think you don't have the time. An easy way to get moving is to grab your dog, child, or significant other and go for, or self for a walk, even if it's just around the block. Brisk walking has many benefits and even been proven to lower the risk of dementia


If you find yourself stuck at work or home, you can walk around the office or do yoga in front of the TV. There are simple bodyweight exercises that don't require equipment and can be done anywhere. Additionally, consider leaving your car behind and walking or bike riding where you need to go. Or, take the stairs instead of using the elevator or escalator. While you should strive for 150 minutes of physical activity each week, it's safe to say that some activity is better than none


Feeling Self-conscious at the Gym

Exercise and going to the gym have become synonymous, but not everyone feels comfortable doing so around other people. One study found that two out of five people avoid the gym due to insecurity, but nearly half go to feel better about themselves. It often comes down to mind over matter — the gym can be a powerful motivator. Setting SMART goals and staying consistent can help boost your self-esteem.


While gym anxiety is common, you don't have to join a fitness club to work out. For example, fun and unique outdoor activities include everything from high-intensity group fitness classes to low-intensity gardening. You can burn 300 calories per hour just by using your green thumb. Many places in and around your home exist where you can get a good workout.


Injury Prevention and Fear of Pain

Many people avoid exercising because they're afraid of injuring themselves and feeling pain. You'll likely experience some soreness, which can be frustrating when starting out. While there's always a risk involved in physical activities, there are protective measures you can take to reduce those risks. 


No matter the type of activity you plan, it's vital to warm up when you begin and cool down before you stop. Warming up and cooling down during workouts offers many benefits, including injury prevention and speeding up recovery after exercising. As always, it's best to check with a healthcare professional about any concerns, particularly if you have signs of heart disease, but don't let that be another obstacle. Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury.


Financial Constraints and Expensive Memberships

Financial woes can put a damper on many aspects of life, including the ability to exercise. Gym memberships, fitness class passes, initiation, and annual fees vary widely but can make working out difficult to afford. If a lack of money is a barrier to staying healthy and fit, you're not alone. The great thing about exercise is you have many options. 


If you prefer working out at a gym, then creating a budget may help. You might find ways to cut and lower unnecessary bills or take on a side gig. Shop for the best deals around town, including local YMCA and community centers. Some fitness clubs have special discounts, offer scholarships, or are open to negotiating fees. Don't forget to check your job benefits for employee wellness programs that pay for memberships. As a last resort, you can always work out at home using inexpensive equipment such as dumbbells, resistance bands, and yoga mats. 


Lack of Knowledge About Proper Exercise Techniques

Not knowing the proper techniques for working out is a common obstacle. It can be intimidating to go to the gym not knowing how to use the machines or do certain forms of exercise. Even if you're trying to work out at home, you may have no clue where to begin. When starting out, the key is to go at it slowly and build it up gradually.


First, ensure you choose physical activities suitable for your age, health, skills, and fitness level. You can start with easy activities that don't require special skills, like jogging and stair climbing. If something else interests you, such as circuit training or weightlifting, sign up for a group class or hire a personal trainer. You can use a mobile app like ActiveFit+ to access exercise videos for all levels and skills and train at home.


Overcome Exercise Barriers and Prioritize Your Health

Identifying and addressing barriers can help you overcome them and prioritize your health. Many obstacles can be knocked down with a little creativity and the willingness to stay active. You have a wide range of options that can be done at home, in the office, or outdoors using little to no equipment or requiring a gym membership. It can be much easier to talk yourself out of exercising — no time, too self-conscious, afraid of injuries, can't afford it, lack skills, etc. The physical and mental health benefits are well worth overcoming those barriers.


Looking to learn more about how to stay active and fit? Check out more ActiveFit+ health and wellness blog articles.

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