5 Horrible Exercise Excuses

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5 Terrible Reasons not to Exercise
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Note from Katie: Trying to get/stay in shape at home can be tough. Especially when you have little ones running around all day. I’ve asked Robin Konie from Thank Your Body to give some tips for busy moms coping with exercise excuses. Enter Robin…

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.

About the author: Robin Konie blogs at Thank Your Body with an emphasis on real food, non-toxic living, and integrated fitness. She is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst. She has an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah, and has taught dance and somatic-based classes at Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University, and the University of Utah. She has also taught for the internationally recognized Integrated Movement Studies Programs. She has written four ebooks: (see them all here).

What’s your favorite excuse? Favorite way to exercise? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


20 responses to “5 Horrible Exercise Excuses”

  1. Dave Smith Avatar
    Dave Smith

    Great reminders here – thanks Katie and Robin!

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen the #wycwyc hashtag that’s taken off on Twitter? “What you can, when you can” – it’s in the same line of thinking as what you wrote. There’s always enough time to be active, even if it doesn’t mean going to the gym. The little decisions we make add up over time!

    Just do what you can, when you can. #wycwyc

    Have a great day!

  2. Adam Trainor Avatar
    Adam Trainor

    These 5 excuses are propbably the most common excuses that people do say. I know I have said them myself. I think excuse 2 is a reasonable excuse not to exercise. Gym memberships can be very pricey and if you use excuse 1 – not having any time as an excuse then you are paying for something you are not going to use. But on the other hand excuse 2 is still no excuse, you ca easily workout at home, find workouts online or even purchase a fitness DVD they are much cheaper than a gym membership. Now that summer is here you can get out to the park and exercise, simply by going for a walk. excuse 3 – I’m in pain, many people will sit and recovery until their pain has gone but isn’t it better to do a light workout and help recover faster? Excuse 5 can be easily fixed, get a workout buddy!! Having someone to workout with will make exercise much more enjoyable and you can look online for alternative workout routines to mix up your workout instead of spending an hour on the treadmill. I know I get easily bored on a treadmill.

  3. Amy Avatar

    I honestly never thought I could find a method of excersizing I legitimately and completely loved… untill I found pole dancing/fitness! It is honestly my favourite thing to do! And I feel so good doing it! Whenever I come home from a class I just want to keep going for hours! Its sad that at home poles are so expensive but If I had one id be on it any time id have a minute to spare! It is so good for strength training and flexibility and it really does work out muscles I never knew I had! I really reccomend it!

  4. Jenay Green Avatar
    Jenay Green

    Yes I believe when we have a big family and get older it is super easy to make excuses. I know there are days I talk myself out of it for many of the reasons you listed. Your blog posts are great Katie, keep up the good work!

  5. Joe Avatar

    I know some people who diet and do not exercise, but I think its important to exercise daily while changing your diet habits. I have went on diets only to lose weight and see it eventually come back. So I decided to modify my diet heavily, I started having breakfast daily which consisted of a protein smoothie, this is usually made with lowfat milk, a banana, some oatmeal, and a scoop of protein powder. Usually this smoothie has around 400 calories and say about 35 grams of protein. I have noticed so far that I have more energy and find exercise to be fun rather than a pain. I also noticed I am losing weight even though my calorie count per day has not changed that much.
    I noticed that this has allowed me to eat less food at lunch and dinner. I also tend to make healthier choices as a result because the hunger impulse does not take over. Usually lunch will be a stir fry with some rice, and maybe fruit for dessert.
    I usually have a meal that is low carb for dinner, grilled chicken salad with a side of bean soup as my starch.
    I noticed my calorie count is roughly the same as my normal intake but my intake of protein is much higher while my carbohydrate intake is half of what I normally have, I used to consume maybe 300 to 400 grams of carbohydrates a day, now its more like 150 to 200 grams of carbohydrates a day, just enough for my energy needs. My protein intake is a lot more, around 150 to 200 grams per day, my fat intake is around 50 to 65 grams per day. I also workout for 30 to 40 minutes mixing cardio and weight training. The results so far have been very promising.

  6. Emyle Prata Avatar
    Emyle Prata

    -raises hand-

    I use these excuses. I use ’em a lot! I blame my back pain for not doing my small weight work, or the “I’m too tired for yoga”, even though I’d probably sleep better if I just did it.

    I’d say, honey, if you can do at least once a week, then you’re doing great!

  7. Linda Heredia Avatar
    Linda Heredia

    I can’t stand exercising. It’s not my thing, but i love activities. I like swimming, hiking, kayaking. Unfortunately with little kids, these things are hard to do, but i also enjoy living a very old school life style. I want to get rid of my dryer and only dry my clothes by hanging them on a line. Eventually i would like to have a garden big enough i wouldn’t need to buy any produce. I also want to get pigmy goats, chickens, and pigs. All this requires us to get up and move.

    1. Moriah Avatar

      That’s me all the way! It used to be that there was no such thing as “excercise” because their lifestyle was so physically active. This, for me, is the only way. Glad to hear I’m not alone!

  8. Jaclyn Avatar

    I love this! As a past trainer, I’ve heard all of these and then some. It is important to be mindful of pain and/or injury when exercising, but if your lower body’s hurting, focus on upper that day. When I’m short on time, my favorite way to fit in a workout is with Tabata training. Four minutes, in which you perform 8 all-out-effort sets of an exercise. Super-challenging, but it goes by quick and you feel better for doing it afterwards.

  9. Jay Avatar

    We all may not want to hear it but it’s motivational. Thank you for taking more time out of your day to help others get going no matter the excuse

  10. Michelle Avatar

    I walk the dogs for about 35 mins daily doing squats along the way. I’ll use my fitness hoop somedays or do burpees after the walks.

  11. Riki Avatar

    I have to say I disagree with the notion that excuse n°1 (“I am too busy”) and excuse n°3 (“I am in pain”) are by definition “horrible excuses”. I have times in my life where yes, I was too busy to exercise – and I was better off using those 20 or 30 min I could find here and there to lie down or spend time with my husband than using these 30 min to exercise; all I did at that time was kegels (at night, when going to sleep) and squats – when I needed to pick something off the floor. Similarly, I have had times where I was in so much pain I could not fathom the idea of exercising. Yes I could have tried to find something I could do that did not aggravate the situation – but researching options was time consuming and I had precious little time that was better used researching the reason for my health problems.
    Now, I am a Primal Blueprint Fitness kind of girl. I do bodyweight exercises twice a week while my toddlers play in the sand on the beach where I can see them and I do sprints once a week. I am also very careful to squat instead of bending when I need to pick something off the floor. This system works great for me because I can do it while outside with my children.

  12. martha Avatar

    I am an exercise hater. But I go through phases where I force myself to do it, all the while hoping another good excuse will surface, and I can quit again. I will, however argue the point that everyone can find 20-30 minutes for a workout. It is never “20-30 minutes”. The actual workout part might be, but there at least the same amount of time involved with changing clothes and getting to whatever activity I don’t find detestable and getting back home. And then there’s being sweaty. I get the point of the article, and I read it for the sole purpose of motivating me, but not buying the 30 minute part.

    1. Ilona Avatar

      -10 minutes to warm up
      -15 minutes for HIIT
      -10 minutes to cool down

      You can squeeze it all in 35 minutes.

      I have polycystic ovaries and therefore try not work out for an extensive period of time. I’ve heard it’s not good for people with PCO/PCOS. HIIT is perfect for me. Try it out. You might like it 🙂

    2. teresa Avatar

      I like to workout at home… wake up throw anything on push play on my dvd and take a normal routine shower… bam and its over 🙂

  13. Kristi Avatar

    I agree that finding something you enjoy doing is key. All of my excuses were non-issues once I fell in love with cycling.

  14. Becca G Avatar
    Becca G

    I saw this title and thought of my all time favorite excuse (given by myself) – “I don’t want to wash my hair.” I love exercising and give one of my accountability partners a call if I’m contemplating bailing my workout. I always, always feel better afterwards!

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