Exercise physiologist Kathleen Alleaume reveals some of the most common excuses for missing your daily exercise, along with simple ways to combat them for good!
“I’m too tired”
Researchers at Columbia University concluded that you’re much more likely to maintain a new exercise routine if you make sure you have a ‘plan B’ – in fact, you’re likely to exercise twice as much. So if you regularly find yourself oversleeping and missing your morning workout, come up with an alternative strategy. For example, ‘If I oversleep, I’ll go to the gym at lunch.’ And remember regular exercise actually releases endorphins (feel good hormones), which help increase your energy levels and reduce stress – so being ‘too tired’ really isn’t a good excuse after all!
“I don’t have time”
Let’s set the record straight. There are 336 half-hours in the week. On average, you sleep for 105 of them, which leaves you with 231 opportunities to schedule in 30 minutes of exercise! “People who use this excuse are actually saying that exercise is not enough of a priority on their to-do list,” says Dr Suzy Green, psychologist and director of the Positive Psychology Institute. Tough words, but you don’t need to reshuffle your entire life around a new exercise routine. Research shows short bursts of exercise might actually give you better results than one long session. In one study, exercisers who completed several 10-minute segments each day were able to stick to their workouts more consistently, actually exercised more, and lost more weight overall, than those who exercised in one longer segment. Just remember to treat those segments like appointments, advises Green.
“I get bored easily”
If you have a short attention span when it comes to exercise, it could be time to set new goals and change up your routine, says professor Timothy Sharp, a clinical psychologist who specialises in positive thinking. Setting goals, tracking your progress, and rewarding yourself when you achieve them can help with your motivation. Creating a weekly exercise plan will also help banish boredom. Try a yoga class on Monday, take a 30-minute walk on Tuesday – and make a point of trying something new, like a dance class, to shake things up. Also, try working out with a buddy or listening to music, suggests Sharp. Variety will keep both your mind and your muscles engaged.
“I just hate exercising”
Exercise doesn’t have to mean going for a 10km run, you can get exercise any way you like! But first and foremost, replace the word ‘exercise’ with ‘activity’ – that way, enjoyable pursuits, such as dancing, gardening, walking along the beach and playing with the dog all count. “With so many ways to become active, all you need is to find an activity you love,” says Dr Green. And make sure you focus on the benefits, not the hassle, adds Professor Sharp. “It’s important to remind yourself of all the reasons why you want to be exercising and focus on all the benefits when you do. You will enjoy the results – so keep an eye on your long-term goals!
Enjoy getting fit
The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults recommends thinking of movement as an opportunity for improving health, instead of a time-wasting inconvenience. Which is a good idea, says Dr Green. “It’s important to turn Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) into Performance Enhancing Thoughts (PETs). [These] motivate us when the excuses start to kick in.”
I’m too tired
I feel energised the day after exercising
I don’t have time
I can always make a little bit of time for my health
Exercise bores me
There are so many new activites to try
I really hate exercising
Participating in an activity I enjoy won’t feel like exercise