I love to move. Just ask my husband and he will tell you that I’m happiest when I am dancing, doing yoga, or even lifting weights. And up until my most recent pregnancy, it seemed like I had lots of opportunities to get out and get my body going. I feel bad saying it now, but there was a time when I honestly didn’t understand how some people could spend so much of their life just sitting at a desk just to come home and watch television.
And then I got pregnant with my second.
I kind of like to pretend that 2013 didn’t happen. Not because anything tragic or horrible happened (quite the contrary as my beautiful baby boy was born in August of last year)… it’s just that last year I fell victim to an array of excuses of why I couldn’t get my body doing it’s daily active thing. And on the surface my excuses seemed pretty legitimate: I was pregnant, dealing with a 2 year old who STILL refused to sleep through the night, getting our condo ready to rent, preparing for a move (at 37 weeks pregnant), and convincing my husband to quit his job and making sure we could pay the bills with my new business. Needless to say, I was STRESSED. And while I still tried to go on walks, do some yoga, or muster my way through some sort of work-out DVD, I felt incredibly disheartened as my identity as a mover was fading.
Here’s the thing: I believe in the power of exercise. I mean, I write for a living about the power of fitness, movement, and somatic training. And even though I can point you to all kinds of research that supports what I knew in my heart, (that exercise will help you be healthier, live longer, fight disease, and feel good) I let my excuses trap me into complacency.
How my excuses harmed my health
So many people see exercise as simply a way to burn calories or battle the bulge. And while a decrease in exercises DID bring more weight than my pregnant body desired, the more startling things I noticed were a decrease in energy, an inability to keep my stress under control, and a lack of joy.
Thankfully, I’m back on the exercise bandwagon… but even that took some massaging. For me I found I needed to get out of the house and take some “me” time in the form of exercise. No more DVDs at home or streaming yoga online via my computer (only because my two kids were too distracting, that may still work for you). I needed to find something I LOVED doing.
And that’s the point: Movement, exercise, fitness… whatever you want to call it… Should make you happy. At least after the initial soreness wears off.
So, if you have found yourself meandering in a pool of excuses that are keeping your from daily exercise, now is the time to STOP. Here are 5 of the most common horrible excuses for not working out and how to overcome them.
Excuse #1: I’m too Busy
Listen, I get that you are busy. I really do. I don’t pretend to be the world’s busiest person and still I’ve used this excuse. But I bet if you were to track how you use every minute of your day you could find a spare 20 – 30 minutes… probably more. I always like to complain about how much I have to do, and how little time there is, and I still waste far too much time on facebook, reading distracting articles, or watching something on TV. If you literally spend every waking moment doing something meaningful and productive then you are either getting way too much sleep OR you need some serious help taking things off your plate.
Here’s the bottom line: If you think working out takes up too much time consider how much time dealing with injuries, chronic pain, or disease takes up. Fitting in fitness needs to be a priority. You can make time.
Excuse #2: It’s too Expensive
If you think the only way to get fit is to join an expensive gym, own expensive equipment, or hire a personal trainer than, yes, it’s probably too expensive for some people. But the good news is you don’t need any of that to exercise. You just need your body. You can train for strength, endurance, flexibility… the whole lot… with your own body. Go for a walk around the block. Do some push-ups, planks, or burpees at home. Swim at a community pool, ride your bike to work, try running, lifting your children, whatever. There are so many resources on the web for cheap or FREE exercise programs.
Excuse #3: I’m in Pain
Okay, this excuse has some merit because if you are injured or dealing with chronic pain you DO NOT want to ignore it. Injuries should be evaluated by your healthcare practitioner so that you know the best route for healing. But most injuries can be handled appropriately through modification, adaptation, or alternative forms of exercise. If you have a sprained ankle, please don’t continue jumping on a trampoline to get in your 20 minute workout. But you may find that doing yoga on a chair, lifting weights while sitting, or aquatic exercises (assuming there’s no cast involved) may be a great way to keep you going.
If you are dealing with chronic pain you may also want to consider the very real possibility that you inactive lifestyle is causing the chronic pain. As a Movement Therapist I have helped people dealing with chronic pain through movement. Remember: Our bodies were designed to move. They break down if you don’t move them.
Excuse #4: I Move Enough Already
This was my excuse for a while. I figured that chasing around a 3 year old was enough exercise… and some days it was. But the days where I watched her play on the playground were really not so interactive for me. When you consider what exercise provides, I strongly recommend making dedicated time to exercise beyond just a busy job or active day. Don’t get me wrong: If you have an active job or lifestyle that keeps you on your feet then I think you’re doing better than a lot of people… but there is still something so mentally and emotionally rewarding about focusing on your body through a dedicated workout or practice.
Excuse #5: I Don’t Like it
At the heart of so many of these excuses is this one: Exercise isn’t enjoyable. It’s not fun. It’s uncomfortable. I personally believe that best kind of exercise is the kind that keeps you coming back. I tried a variety of things before I found one that really “fit” my needs at this time in my life. It took me a while to figure it out. The key is to keep looking. You don’t have to run on a treadmill if you don’t like it. You don’t have to endure yoga if that’s not your thing.
Does that mean exercise should never push you, leave you sore, or challenge your belief in your body’s capabilities? No way! The whole point is to grow, strengthen, and improve. But exercise is not a punishment. Find something that challenges you AND leaves you feeling a little bit better every day.
I’m so happy that I stopped letting my excuses get the best of me. After a year of feeling less like myself I finally feel like me again. Our bodies are beautiful, and it is our birthright to move and experience the world in them. Don’t let your excuses keep you from your potential.
What’s your favorite excuse? Favorite way to exercise? Share below!