But I can’t because… Let’s get onto this thorny issue. Given that you already know exercise is good for you (you do don’t you?), the real issue is WHY do you not exercise like you know you should, and even want to? The reason we do not exercise is not because we don’t know about the benefits – the issue is behavioural or psychological really (it has more to do with attitude than with information).
Research shows that the top reasons people offer for not exercising are:
WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE
Life is short. We are all so very busy, what with work, family, social life, social media, etc. There is just no time to exercise.
Know that life is shorter for the inactive. Remember that you’re really just looking for 2-3 hours of sweaty-exercise per week. It’s not that much…Accept that there IS time if you make choices like watching less TV (try counting your weekly TV-hours…), working smarter or less, and being more organised.
Exercise gear and gym memberships are so very expensive. How DOES she afford all that designer-lycra?
Think about how expensive ill-health is. Understand that exercising can be simple, easy and cheap. You do not need any equipment really, although some decent running-walking shoes are usually a good idea.
I get home with no energy at all and just collapse.
Exercise gives you energy. So this should be a NON-obstacle in truth, except we know that exhaustion, burn-out, depression etc. can be very real and conditions like this can leave you feeling unable to get off the couch. Take this seriously and please see your doctor.
DON’T KNOW HOW
I do not know where to start. There are so many complicated options.
Maybe think about simple things like walking to start with? We live in the age of Google…
I am not an athlete and will just feel terrible if seen in gym clothing.
Few of us are athletes. In all truth, only a small % of people really care what you look like when you exercise (and in general these are not the folks you need to be concerned about). Not all exercise has to be so very public. Exercising is one way to start looking better.
My legs are just so sore after a workout.
This is usually caused by over training, in particular by training too-hard too-soon. Your goal in month one should just be to establish a habit of exercising – how far, how fast, how heavy, etc. is unimportant to begin with so be sure to start slowly and build up gradually.
I HATE IT
I just don’t enjoy exercise. I hate being so sweaty and out of breath.
This is real for many of us, when we’re honest. Try to find a form/type of exercise that you do enjoy. How about a team sport? Or some family hiking with the kids? Or a bit of cycling? There’s always something we fancy…You may need to focus on your goals a bit here: sometimes we just have to “stick at it” even when we’re not enjoying ourselves.
There is no nearby gym. I cannot afford gym membership.
There are hundreds of non-gym exercise options. More than half the fit people alive today do NOT use gyms.
Hopefully you can recognise yourself in some of the above. Hopefully you can see that so very much of this about choices you make, or do not make. Please add your own ideas below…
Colin was a medical practitioner (GP) from 1988 to 2000. Since then he has worked in the wellness field, designing, developing and delivering various products and services. Out of clinical practice for many years now he no longer practices medicine formally but retains a keen interest in helping people become more-well versions of themselves. He acts as a wellness coach and not as a medical practitioner today.
Colin's approach and philosophy is based on empowerment: the notion that people only need a little help to make choices they usually already want to anyway - it's about respect and support rather than instruction or correction.
Colin lives at the Vaal Dam with his wife Cathy. He spends time walking mountains, cycling, motorbike riding, kayaking, sailing and always looking for better & better balance.