Do you long to be one of those people who enjoy exercise or have you always got an excuse for avoiding the gym? There are many reasons why people lead a sedentary lifestyle, but it is possible to overcome barriers. In this guide, we’ll explore some common reasons people avoid exercise and offer tips to help you boost your fitness and wellbeing.
Pain can make it difficult to get in shape and reap the rewards of regular exercise. If you’re susceptible to back or neck pain, you’re recovering from an injury or you have underlying health problems, which cause recurrent bouts of discomfort, it’s natural to worry about trying active pursuits. Pain affects people in different ways and there are several possible causes. In some cases, rest is the best option, but often, leading a more active lifestyle can have immediate and long-term benefits for those who struggle with pain. If you do want to be more active, or you’d like to try new activities, it’s important to seek advice from your doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor. Some activities may be suitable for you, but there may be exercises that pose risks, for example, high-impact activities that involve jumping and twisting. If you have chronic conditions and you want to get fit, it’s wise to work with a personal trainer who has expertise in training clients with a history of injuries or health issues.
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A lack of time is one of the most common excuses people give for not hitting activity targets. Health experts recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This may sound like a lot, but if you break it down, it amounts to five 30-minute sessions over a 7-day period. Moderate exercise covers everything from walking, jogging and Pilates to swimming, playing tennis or golf, trampolining or going to a spin class. If you’re rushing around and you don’t have much time available, there are ways to make it easier to hit your activity targets. You could work out at home to save time on traveling to a gym or a sports center and fit exercise in around work commitments. Another option is to attend classes or to go for walks or play sports in the evening to make the most of lighter nights. It’s also a great idea to use your weekends to get active and try bike rides, long walks and hikes and new activities like kayaking, surfing or rock climbing. You can also replace low-intensity activities with intense workouts to burn more calories in less time. A 20-minute HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session, for example, should burn a similar number of calories to a 60-minute jog.
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Confidence and body image
Many people, particularly young women, avoid exercise because they don’t feel confident enough to get into a swimming pool or walk into a gym. If this scenario sounds familiar, there are ways to embrace exercise without exposing yourself to others or putting yourself in situations that make you feel anxious or uneasy. Working out at home is a great idea and you can choose from a vast array of online sessions, as well as using home gym equipment to vary your workouts. You could also work with a personal trainer on a one-to-one basis or visit facilities outside of peak hours. It’s also an excellent idea to get friends involved if you’re worried about starting a new class or joining a running club. It can be difficult to build confidence, but try to focus on your strengths and remember that everyone has to start somewhere.
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Many people who want to be more active face barriers. Whether you struggle with pain, you don’t have time for exercise or a lack of confidence is holding you back, there are ways to overcome obstacles and boost your fitness and wellbeing.