Thursday, March 5, 2009

Excuses, Excuses.....

It's easy to find a reason not to exercise. But if you face up to what's holding you back, you can make it happen. Below are some of the biggest roadblocks people hit when trying to get exercise – and the best ways to get past them!

I'd like to get started on my exercise plan but I can't find the time. The only way to find time to exercise is to make it a priority. Think of it this way: The time you spend exercising may add years to your life. You may need to make some sacrifices now to fit in exercise, but in the long run it's time well spent. Here are some tips on fitting exercise in:
*Schedule your exercise time in advance and keep to it!
*Talk to your family and friends to make sure they know your exercise time is important.
*Exercise instead of watching TV! Or find ways to keep yourself active while watching your favorite shows. Exercise bicycles and treadmills allow for TV-time exercise.
*Break your exercise session into smaller parts. If you don't have an hour to exercise, schedule two 20-minute sessions.
*The early bird gets the workout! Try waking up 30 minutes earlier and begin your day with your exercise session. Instead of feeling tired from losing the sleep, you may actually feel more energized from your workout.

I feel overwhelmed when I go to the gym. How do I know what to do first? Aside from hiring a trainer, here are some tips for maximizing gym time if you're on your own:
*Find a fitness buddy! A partner at the gym can help motivate you, can act as a spotter when weight training and can help keep the experience fun. If possible, find someone who has a bit more experience at the gym, so you have a fitness mentor!
*Have a plan! When you get to the gym you should know exactly what you want to accomplish that day. When weight training you can alternate upper and lower body exercises, when doing cardiovascular workouts alternate between exercise machines and running. The important thing is you have a plan you can stick to.
*Turn on the music! Using headphones is a great way to keep motivated and focused.

I seem to have hit a plateau with my training. What can I do? A plateau is a point in your training when you don't feel that your body is responding positively to exercise. If you've hit a plateau, or want to avoid one, use this checklist.
*Change it up! The first step when you've hit a plateau is to get new forms of exercise into the mix. If you generally run, try cycling, swimming or another activity. The key is to keep pushing your body in new ways.
*Check your diet. Are you providing your body with the nutrients it needs? If not, your body may not respond as well to exercise.
*Get some sleep! Not getting enough sleep can also lead you to hit a training wall. Shoot for eight hours per night for optimal training. If you've been pushing yourself hard, take a few days off. Plateaus can often come from overtraining.

I can't afford a gym membership. How can I get into shape? You can keep yourself in shape without joining a gym. That's why I love running. The key is creating a routine that you can stick to. Some tips:
*Create an "exercise space" in your home. Even if it's just in your living room! Lay down a mat to do flexibility and strength exercises.
*Research home exercise videos. They can help you get a great cardio workout at home. Again, make sure you don't get distracted!
*Create a neighborhood walking/running group. Get some friends together and plan two or three sessions per week.

I have children, how do I find the time to exercise? This is a tricky one. Making time for anything when you have kids is difficult. It's easy to let exercise go. But if you get creative you can make it happen. Here are some ideas:
*Take turns with your spouse watching the children while the other gets exercise.
*Try to find a health club that offers daycare. There are many options out there, be sure to research the facility and talk to other parents who use it.
*If you have young children, looking into "running strollers" that let you run with your child.
*If your kids are a little older, get them involved! Find fun ways to exercise with your kids. You can get a good workout playing catch, swimming together or just taking a brisk walk. If you're more adventurous, plan a trip and go hiking or skiing together.

I travel a lot. How can I maintain my current fitness level while on the road?Don't use traveling as an excuse to ditch your workout! Here are some ways you can stay with it on the road:
*Plan ahead! Select hotels that have fitness facilities on-site or have a relationship with health clubs in the area. Going to the gym while on the road is a great way to reduce stress and exercise muscles that have gotten tense during your travels.
*Can't get to the gym? Do some basic strength and flexibility exercises in your room. Each morning take a run or a brisk walk to keep up with your cardio fitness.

I'm ready to start an exercise program. How do I get started?Getting started is the hardest part of getting in shape. At the beginning you may want to start slow. Find small ways to get more active. Walk more often. Eventually you can work up to a full-scale fitness routine. Here are some things to keep in mind when getting started:
*Get informed. Do some homework on the various types of exercise programs that are out there. Pilates? Yoga? Kickboxing?
*Decide what type of exercise best suits you and your fitness goals. Areas to look at are cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and strength conditioning levels.
*Set short-term, attainable and measurable goals. The more goals you achieve, the more motivated you will be to keep going.

A Virtual Run -the Hooray Spring 6 Miler

Running Laur is hosting a Virtual Run on and around March 21st to celebrate the beginning of spring--the Hooray Spring 6 miler. Check it out and sign up!


Chic Runner said...

OZ! this is so great. I'm going to link to it! you are so right with so many ides on here. Thanks so much for posting this :)

aron said...

you are SO right with these!!!

RunningLaur said...

All very good information, you include so many different options, there's no way people can still hold onto their excuses.

And thanks for the shout-out!!

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Very true. I always ask people who tell me they don't have time to exercise when they are going to find all the time to spend in the hospital sick.

Missy said...

IT'S all MAKE time for what is important to you...PERIOD. It'll always be that way and until it is important to you, you won't 'have time.' You got to carve out the time where you can find it and sometimes, at the risk of losing that 30-60 add'l minutes of sleep. You can sleep when your dead, that's what I say.

The Happy Runner said...

Right on! Great advice.

Shannon said...

I've probably heard every single one of them at my gym! I love your health tips.

ShirleyPerly said...

These are some excellent ideas! Many of them were part of a corporate fitness seminar I gave. For many of them, it seemed like working out while at at work (use gym at work, do some exercises in the office, work out during lunch, use the stairs, etc) was the most convenient. I hope a lot of folks read this!