Regular physical activity is good for you (no doubt). Government and health agencies now suggest that we should participate in at least 30 mins of physical activity every day. But how many of us actually do? Realistically not many. There are a whole host of barriers to exercising and we’ve probably heard them all ourselves…. but really there is no excuse to ensure you stay as fit and healthy as possible (even if you don’t go to a gym or join a fitness club).
What’s Stopping You from Exercising?
Something that keeps someone from being or becoming physically fit is a barrier. Identifying and understanding your personal particular barriers and creating answers and strategies to overcome them may help you make physical activity part of your daily life.
Social environments such as work, college, family, and friends can significantly influence your level of physical activity. However, there are many other factors that influence activity. The accessibility and location of parks, sports clubs, facilities, exercise groups and recreational centres as well as density of housing, and availability of parking, transport or public transport plays an even greater role in promoting or discouraging physical activity.
Technological advances have created a less active society, but this isn’t the only reason that people create barriers to exercising. The most common reasons adults aren’t more physically active are:
- Lack of time
- Lack ability
- Inconvenience of exercising
- Find exercise or training boring
- Lack self-motivation
- Injuries (real or feared)
- Don’t find it enjoyable
- Lack of social support
- Lack willpower
Suggestions for Overcoming Common Barriers
Listed below are 10 personal barriers to physical activity. One or more might sound too familiar to you. Perhaps you will find one or two of our suggestions may help you to become more physically active.
Lack of time
- Identify available time slots. Monitor your daily activities for one week and identify at least three 30-minute time slots you could use for physical activity.
- Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, organize school activities around physical activity, walk the dog, exercise while you watch TV, park farther away from your destination, etc.
- Make time for physical activity. For example, walk, jog, or swim during your lunch hour, or take fitness breaks instead of coffee breaks.
- Select activities requiring minimal time, such as walking, jogging, or stair climbing.
- Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and family and ask them to support your efforts. Invite friends and family members to exercise with you.
- Plan social activities involving exercise and then go for a drink. Join a group or club, such as a local gym like Vitality or sports team.
Lack of energy
- Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel energetic.
- Convince yourself that if you give it a chance, physical activity will increase your energy level; then, try it.
Lack of motivation
- Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule and write it on your calendar.
- Invite a friend to exercise with you on a regular basis and write it on both your calendars.
- Exercise first thing in the morning so that you have finished for the day and can’t make any excuses. Join an exercise group or class (at Vitality we run classes throughout the week at both our Neath and Port Talbot gyms – come on down and give one a go)!
Fear of injury
- Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury. Our fitness instructors can help you with the ideal exercises for warming up and cooling down.
- Learn how to exercise appropriately considering your age, fitness level, skill level, and health status. (Again. we can help when you first start training).
- Get advice from a trained professional like one of Vitality’s fully qualified fitness instructors. Choose activities involving minimum risk.
Lack of skill
- Select activities requiring no new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.
- Exercise with friends who are at the same skill level as you are.
- Find a friend who is willing to teach you some new skills.
- Take an exercise class to develop new skills.
- Develop a set of regular activities that are always available regardless of the weather (indoor cycling, aerobic classes, swimming, stair climbing, dancing, the gym etc.)
- Look at outdoor activities that depend on weather conditions (local walks, dry slope skiing, outdoor tennis, cycling tracks etc.)
- Trade babysitting time with a friend, neighbour, or family member who also has small children.
- Exercise with the kids – go for a walk together, play tag or other running games, get an aerobic dance or exercise tape for kids and exercise together.
- Get a bike or use other home gymnasium equipment while the kids are busy playing or sleeping.
- Try to exercise when the kids are not around (e.g. during school hours or their nap time).
- Look upon your retirement as an opportunity to become more active instead of less. Spend more time gardening, walking the dog, and playing with your grandchildren.
- Learn a new skill you’ve always been interested in, such as ballroom dancing, line dancing or swimming. Now that you have the time, make regular physical activity a part of every day.
- Go for a walk every morning or every evening before dinner. Treat yourself to an exercise bike and ride every day while reading a book or magazine or newspaper.
Vitality Health & Fitness
Now we’ve identified the barriers and come up with some solutions to help you overcome these barriers, why not pop down to Vitality in Neath or Port Talbot for a free trial. Our fitness instructors will talk to you about your goals and help you to design an exercise programme to achieve those goals. Call us today on the numbers below to find out more.