The warm weather is finally here, so let’s get out of hibernation and get our hearts pumping. Let’s start with a little tennis, maybe some basketball, a nice hike. Hey, where is everybody?
Studies say that 84% of us know the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of exercise, yet more than half of all adults are sedentary. Obviously, there are barriers to exercise that need to be identified and overcome for these contradictory numbers to change.
What are the barriers to exercise? According to published surveys, they fall into the following four categories: lack of time, boredom, injuries or ill health, and low self-confidence. Let’s examine each barrier and some practical solutions for overcoming them.
Solution: Rethink your priorities. For something that is going to improve your mental, physical, and emotional well-being, you can make time each day. Write down your workout times, and keep them like you would any business appointment. If you don’t have time to do your full workout, do ten minutes. Every little bit helps.
Solution: Setting up a home gym is affordable. There are exercise videos, online workouts, and private personal trainers. No athleticism is required to do resistance, and cardio training, just persistence and commitment. Make sure you don’t set yourself up for failure by setting the bar too high. A lot of beginners try to do too much too fast, and get discouraged or injured. Set realistic, manageable goals for yourself, and reward yourself when you reach them. For example, rather than jogging for twenty minutes, run a minute then walk a minute, until you reach your time goal. Slowly decrease the walking and increase the running time each week. Before you know it you’ll be running 20 minutes and challenging yourself to do more.
Solution: Get a medical checkup and find out what is safe to do and not to do. If you are doing resistance training, make sure you are supervised by a professional, to minimize the chance of injuries. There is absolutely no age barrier to working out and receiving the benefits of increased fitness. Studies have shown that even people in their eighties and nineties have greatly improved their quality of life by exercising regularly.
Solution: The human body craves movement. Find something you like- tennis, golf, swimming, dancing and go for it! Partner up with a friend or group and the time will fly by. Once you start moving, you’ll find your energy level and sense of well-being will improve and you’ll want to keep going. Your boredom will be replaced by the thrill of reaching new physical plateaus and surpassing goals.
The final, most powerful motivator for breaking down barriers to exercise is to keep in mind all the good things that it does to improve your quality of life. Here’s a list: it combats chronic diseases like heart attacks, diabetes, and osteoporosis, it improves your sense of well being, it helps in managing your weight, it improves your sex life and overall mood, it promotes better sleep, it strengthens the heart and lungs and immune system, and most importantly it’s fun!
So get out there and run, dance, lift, hike, shoot, stroke, climb or kick, and raise a little health!
Earl Salzman is a Markham-based Certified Personal Trainer and educator, providing one-on-one and group training to private and corporate clients. Contact: 416-529-7173 or email@example.com.