How To Overcome The 5 Most Common Excuses To NOT Exercise
Picture this: you’re struggling to breathe, beads of sweat getting into your eyes, your aching legs are quivering, your body wants to collapse to the ground.
Feels uncomfortable imagining yourself going through this right?
Hate to break it to you, but it’s this exact feeling of discomfort and pain that we’ve conditioned ourselves to avoid. If we need an afternoon energy boost, we reach for our 3rd cup of coffee. If we have insomnia, there’s a pill for that. Exercising and (voluntarily) getting our ass kicked isn’t always top of mind when we’re trying to respond towards the signs our bodies are giving us.
Don’t be a prisoner of your own excuses. Once you get over them, you’re closer to unlocking your intellectual and creative potential. From faster learning to improved memory, regular exercise can clarify your sense of purpose, maximise productivity and just makes you feel feel friggen’ invincible with all the euphoric endorphins your body releases in response to physical discomfort.
“You start to respond to things with more logic and perspective, less of an anxious ‘flight or fight’ approach, which is detrimental to our well-being in the long-run”
Meditation does the same thing, which you should know if you followed our top beginner tips to get started last month.
With so much evidence and living proof validating the benefits of making exercise a daily habit, why is it still the case that some of us choose not to? It’s because we’re pretty good at giving ourselves excuses and talking ourselves out of doing something that isn’t going to be a walk in the park.
Here’s what we have to say in response to the 5 most common excuses we hear:
“I have no time”
Time is precious. But simply put, this should be rephrased to “it’s not a priority”.
We all have 24 hours in the day. How you choose to spend your time is entirely in your control and defines your priorities around your habits, responsibilities and commitments. Next time you catch yourself saying you don’t have enough time, rephrase it and see how quickly your perspective shifts:
“I’d love to eat healthier but I don’t have time to cook” becomes “eating healthy isn’t a priority”.
“I wish I could read more but I don’t have time” becomes “reading isn’t a priority”.
Here’s a tip: keep a journal over the next week, track how much time you’re spending on activities and be honest. How much time are you actually spending watching TV, working on your laptop, scrolling on social media and running errands? Suddenly, the 12hrs you spend binge-watching Netflix, or the unproductive hours you waste procrastinating when you should be “working” on your laptop becomes very clear.
You’re the one who decides what your priorities are. If exercise is a big enough priority for you, you WILL make time for it.
2. “I’m too tired”
We’ve all been there. Your brain’s fried and you feel lethargic after a long day sitting at your desk. Curling up in bed sounds a lot nicer than getting into your gym gear, sweating and getting your ass kicked.
But an active body actually becomes more efficient at generating the energy boost you need. Next time when your brain says you’re tired, fight through it and you’ll see that exercise can actually leave you feeling more energised. It’s often in these moments when you feel most tired that your workout could benefit you the most!
Here’s a tip: if you find yourself too exhausted after work, try exercising during your lunch break. Join a class nearby, or even go for a brisk 30 mins walk. This will boost your circulation and oxygen in all parts of your body, and chances are you’ll be more focused and productive afterwards.
3. “Joining the gym is too expensive”
We know that some fitness memberships are ridiculously expensive. Throw in the fancy boutique trimmings and personal training and the monthly fee is through the roof!
The reality is that how much you choose to invest in exercise is up to you and what you can afford without breaking the bank. Track your monthly spending and see what you can afford to invest back into yourself.
Good news is that it can even be free! Grab a pair of trainers and go for a run outside, download a free circuit training app and workout with a friend at the park, or follow a guided yoga class on YouTube.
4. “I’m not good at exercising”
Truth is (unless you’re some human prodigy), you’re probably going to fail before you can get any good at something. This philosophy applies to life in general!
Failure in exercise is a good thing. When you can’t reach that last rep or you’re struggling to run up to the finish line but you try anyway, you’re acknowledging your limits but choosing to push through.
Getting better and success is gradual. By putting in practice, failing and repeating this process, you set new personal records for yourself to reach even better results next time. Ask anyone who has ever done anything worth doing and they will attest to the important role failure has played in their journey. If you believe that failure is final and allow it hold you back, then you’ve already lost before you’ve even started.
Remember: your body only accepts the limits your mind gives it. If you stop thinking about the limits, then you can achieve the unthinkable.
5. “I’m not motivated enough”
Motivation alone isn’t the only thing that drives us to exercise - it’s dedication. When it’s cold and raining outside, of course most of us would prefer to stay in and not change out of our pyjamas. What draws the difference between those who still choose to get off the couch and get moving is knowing the value of their dedication towards doing something good for themselves, even when they don’t want to at the time.
Remember: dedication to taking action creates the motivation, not the other way around. And as you start building up incremental results and seeing changes in your body, this dedication becomes a powerful ripple effect that slowly gains momentum and more speed, which pushes you to set the bar even higher next time.
Taking your physical health seriously is one of the greatest ways you can invest in yourself. It doesn’t matter if you feel more at home training at the gym or hiking up a mountain - challenging yourself physically and mentally allows you to take in core lessons about yourself that will serve you well and continue to give back even once the workout is completed.