Exercise is a big part of my life. I was an active kid, lucky enough to have parents that instilled a value around exercise and made it fun. I've also been through years where I didn't exercise at all, or used exercise as a way to purge calories and/or punish myself. Neither of those are healthy and luckily I have moved past it.
I do know that exercise is a key component in my mental well-being. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and panic disorder in 2003 and am not currently medicated. I 100% attribute exercise for this*. Having worked in the fitness industry for several years, from corporate to on the gym floor training clients, I have heard every excuse for not exercising. Here are my favorites:
1. I'm too busy. Reeeally? We're ALL too busy. Our lives have become so complicated these days, I wonder how anyone has time to take a crap. As I have mentioned in a previous post: It's not time management, it's choice management. Make exercise a priority. By doing so, you're making YOU a priority. What are you choosing to do that can fall off your plate? Facebook? A one-hour TV show? And try this on: You'll actually be MORE productive if you start working out regularly. Clearer and happier mind = Doing more.
2. I don't have enough time. Similar to the above, but slightly different. We all have the same amount of time. 24 hours in a day. All you need is 30 minutes a day. If you don't plan your workout ahead of time, you won't do it. I've been working out for years and I still have to put it in my calender for the week. Plan carefully, but remain flexible to move things around if needed.
3. It's too hard. That's why it's called working out. If it were easy, it would be called laying out, and that's so 1980's anyway.
There are some exercises I loathe. I have to admit I don't like yoga. I've tried and I feel like it's a relationship that I'm forcing. And I feel like “everyone is doing it” (especially other life coaches), so I feel somewhat left out. But, it's not a hell yes, so I don't do it. I know a lot of people that start running because many people they know are runners, but they hate it. Would you stay in a relationship with someone that you hate? (Please say no.) Find something that you at least LIKE. If you don't like it, it won't stick. And if you try it and you don't like it, or get bored, move on to something else.
4. I have small children and I can't leave them. Blame your farts on your kids, not your lack of exercise. First, you are giving your kids a HUGE gift by showing them that you are making your physical activity a priority. Both of my kids by the age of 2 years old knew what exercise was, could do push-ups and stretches with me.
Jogging strollers are affordable and you can take your kids with you on walks or jogs. Even better, when they're small, get a baby carrier (they're the BEST piece of baby gear anyway!) where you can wear you baby on your back (when they're big enough) and go for walks. The baby will sleep the whole time, trust me. When the kids are big enough, they can ride their bikes while you walk, run bike or hike. Make exercise family time. Another thing I do is have dance parties. 10 or 15 minutes of loud music and dancing.
5. I might look stupid. Everyone at the gym is so concerned about the way they look, no one is worried about you. And think about this: When you're 65 or 70 and you still have never worked out a day in your life because you were afraid of how you would look, and you're all old and crusty with high blood pressure, corinary artery disease, diabetes….aren't you going to wish you would have sucked it up and risked looking stupid? The bottom line is that NO ONE LOOKS STUPID WORKING OUT. They're exercising! You're a badass! Even if you have on American flag parachute pants on.
6. I don't feel like it (aka I'm being lazy). I've been guilty of this one. I try to think about how awesome I'm going to feel when I'm done. If that doesn't work, I put on my exercise chothes anyway. If that doesn't work, I start the workout anyway and tell myself to give it 10 minutes. In the thousands and thousands of times I have worked out, I can count on one hand how many times I've atually stopped after 10 minutes because I still wasn't feeling like it. In those instances, I honor that my body really, really doesn't want to be exercising. (Sometimes, it happens.) But, research shows that during exercise endorphins run to the brain that control and enhance emotion and behavior. Exercise = Better moods.
7. It's just not my thing. I've also actually heard, “I'm allergic to exercise”. WTF is that? Do you know how many different ways there are to exercise? No? Well, I just happened to write a post listing them. I've got news for people that use this excuse: Biologically, we are made to move and be active. Our bodies need it. Our minds need it.
So, what's your excuse?
*Please note that I am not a doctor. If you are suffering from anxiety and/or panic disorder, please follow your doctors instructions regarding medications.