Overcoming Fitness Challenges

Sticking to a regular exercise schedule isn't easy. After all, there are plenty of potential hindrances — time, boredom, injuries, self-confidence. But these issues don't need to stand in your way. Consider practical strategies for overcoming common barriers to fitness.

1. I Don't Have Enough Time To Exercise

Setting aside time to exercise can be a challenge. Use a little creativity to get the most out of your time.

  • Squeeze in short walks throughout the day. If you don't have time for a full workout, don't worry about it. Any amount of activity is better than none at all. Shorter bursts of exercise, such as taking short walk breaks a few times during the day, offer benefits too. Aim to work your way up to exercising about 30 minutes on most days of the week.

  • Get up earlier. If your days are packed and the evening hours are busy, get up 30 minutes earlier a few times a week to exercise. Once you've adjusted to early-morning workouts, add another day or two to the routine.

  • Drive less, walk more. Park in the back row of the parking lot or even a few blocks away and walk to your destination.

  • Revamp your rituals. Your weekly Saturday matinee with the kids or your best friend could be reborn as your weekly Saturday bike ride, rock-climbing lesson or trip to the pool.

2. Exercise Is Boring

It's natural to grow weary of a repetitive workout day after day, especially when you're going it alone. But exercise doesn't have to be boring.

  • Choose activities you really enjoy. You'll be more likely to stay interested. Remember, anything that gets you moving counts.

  • Vary the routine. Rotate among several activities — such as walking, swimming and cycling — to keep you on your toes while conditioning different muscle groups.

  • Join forces. Exercise with friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers. You'll enjoy the camaraderie and the group's encouragement.

  • Explore new options. Learn new skills while getting in a workout. Try new ways of exercising and new concepts. Either you're going to like it or to hate. But so or so you can't lose anything, right?

3. I'm Self-Conscious About How I Look

Don't get down on yourself! Remind yourself that you're improving your health. Focus on how much stronger and how much better you feel after a workout.

  • Avoid the crowd. If you're uncomfortable exercising around others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video or one of my POWER Challenges (you don't have to put your camera on ;) ). Or consider investing in a stationary bicycle, treadmill, stair-climbing machine or other piece of home exercise equipment.

  • Focus on the future. Praise yourself for making a commitment to your health. And remember that as you become fitter and more comfortable exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.

4. I'm Too Tired To Exercise After Work

No energy to exercise? Without exercise, you'll have no energy. It's a cycle. But breaking the cycle with physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. And over time, exercise can help improve your sleep quality and your energy level.

  • Try a morning dose of exercise. Remember the suggestion to get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise? Step outside for a brisk walk or join my POWER Challenge at 7am - only 30 min of morning power!

  • Make lunchtime count. Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk, and take a brisk walk during your lunch break, of go for a short run.

  • Be prepared. Make sure you have comfortable shoes and loosefitting clothes for exercising. Take them with you at work and even when you travel.

5. I'm Too Lazy To Exercise

You are not lazy, you're just nor enough motivated! and this is the difference. If the thought of a workout makes you tired, consider several ideas to start get moving.

  • Set realistic expectations. If you set your goals too high, you might give up without even trying. Start with a walk around the block. Start with just few reps of one exercise. Don't give up if you feel worn out. Make one more rep tomorrow. Keep it up, and you'll no longer feel worn out.

  • Work with your nature, not against it. Plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic, or at least not quite so lazy.

  • Schedule exercise as you would schedule an important appointment. Block off times in your calendar for physical activity, and make sure your friends and family are aware of your commitment. Ask for encouragement and support. Or just find a group which is ready to give you the support you deserve - check out the Power Challenge - because supporting each other is our main focus!

6. I've Tried To Exercise In The Past And Failed

Don't give up. Reevaluate what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes. Although you can't always see visible changes when you lower your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, you can make a positive impact in your health through regular exercise.

  • Pace yourself. Start small and build up to more-intense workouts later, when your body is ready.

  • Set realistic goals. Don't promise yourself you're going to work out for an hour every day, and then get down on yourself when you fall short. Stick with manageable goals you can achieve, such as exercising 20 minutes a day, three days a week for the first month.

  • Remember why you're exercising. Use your personal fitness goals as motivation, and reward yourself as you meet your goals.

Do you have other challenges staying at your way? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a short message and let me know where or with what you struggle most.

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