Not Exercising? 6 Exercise Excuses and How to Get Around Them

exercise excuses

Despite much ranting and raving on our part, we know many of you still aren’t getting 30 or more minutes of exercise daily. If you are exercising regularly, we’re proud of you. You’re taking a major step towards reducing your risk for health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer and improving the quality of your life.

For the rest of you, we still have some nagging to do. After years of talking to patients about exercise, we’ve heard almost every excuse for not doing it. We want to encourage you to work around those excuses and do something that will greatly improve your health.

Exercise won’t just make you healthier, it’ll make you FEEL better. Exercise not only improves your physical health – it elevates your mood and helps you deal with stress better. Here are some of the most common exercise excuses and ways you can get around them.

“I Don’t Have Time”

This one is probably the most common exercise excuse:

I don’t have time because __________. (Fill in the blank)

We hear you. It’s not always easy to find free time to exercise, but you also don’t have time to deal with type 2 diabetes, heart disease or cancer, do you? Research shows exercise lowers the risk of these diseases.

If you packaged exercise into a pill, it would be the most powerful drug on the market. Isn’t getting the healthy benefits of exercise worth 30 minutes of your time? If you can’t squeeze 30 minutes of exercise into your day, do it first thing in the morning.

Can’t spare 30 minutes – you can get a decent workout in 10 or 15 minutes if you increase the intensity. Try this:

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 squats
  • 20 push-ups
  • Jog in place while you count to 20

Repeat as many times as you can in the time you have available. Short and sweet.

“I Can’t Afford a Gym”

Who needs a gym? The trend is towards at-home workouts anyway. When you work out at home you’re in control of what you do and when you do it. If you need structure, there are a number of exercise DVDs you can slip into your player for motivation and guidance.  I exercise as soon as I get up in the morning and am constantly changing the DVD to vary the workout.You can welcome a new instructor into your home every morning with DVDs!

Home exercise works better for me than going to a gym – it may work for you too. When you add up the time it takes to get dressed, drive to the health club, find parking and fight for the equipment, working out at home is a real time saver.

I’ve exercised at all times of the day from first thing in the morning to after dinner. For me, early morning workouts win out. No, I don’t wake up chomping at the bit to exercise but once I get going I’m glad I did. Try it one morning and let me know if you agree.

Dr. A goes to the gym. That works for him. The key is to find what works for YOU. Maybe you hate the thought of working out indoors. Then take a walk or an early morning run, depending upon your fitness level. Can’t tell you how peaceful it feels taking a walk or run early in the morning. Plus, you can watch the sun come up!

Whatever you do, don’t neglect strength training. You don’t need barbells or metal weights. You can use resistance bands instead. Some research suggests they’re better than weights because they work your muscles from all angles.

“I Hate to Exercise”

Well, who doesn’t? We’re a little skeptical of anyone who says they LOVE exercise. You may love the results and love the way you feel afterwards – but while you’re doing it? Hardly.

Before saying you hate it and can’t do it, write down all the benefits exercise offers. Then consider this. It takes 30 minutes or less to get those benefits. That’s a pretty good use of your time, isn’t it?  Don’t think that most people enjoy every minute of their workout. They’re no different than you. They’ve just decided the discomfort is brief and the payoff is worth it.

One suggestion we have is to try different forms of exercise until you find something you enjoy to some degree. Here are some types of exercise that have a greater “fun” factor”

  • Hiking
  • Jumping on a home rebounder
  • Hula-hooping
  • Dancing
  • Belly Dancing
  • Cycling
  • Canoeing

Do any of these appeal to you?

“I’m Too Old”

No way. Tell that to the “young” lady below. She’s 98 years old:

You’re never too old to improve your health. Researchers have gone into nursing homes and gotten people in their 90s on a resistance training program. The results? They developed greater strength and muscle mass. Some who were wheelchair bound were able to get up out of their chair after spending three months building strength.

“I Have a Bad Knee, Back, Hip etc.”

Many chronic injuries and joint problems improve with moderate amounts of exercise. For example, strengthening the muscles around your joints helps decrease joint pain. Exercise also increases flexibility and reduces joint stiffness.

It’s best to stick with low-impact exercise like walking, elliptical machine, swimming or cycling if you have significant joint issues, but there’s some form of exercise you can safely do even if you have arthritis or a previous injury. Moving your body will make you feel better. Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program if you have an injury.

“I’m Too Tired”

Well then, you definitely need to exercise. Once you get started, exercise will boost your energy level and give you more stamina. That means you’ll have more energy to do the things you enjoy. NOT exercising has the opposite effect. Your muscles weaken and you’re your cardiovascular fitness declines. This means your heart has to work harder every time you do something and you end up feeling tired and winded.

So many people complain of not having energy. After a few weeks of exercise, your aerobic fitness will improve and you WILL have more energy.

The Bottom Line?

We know exercise isn’t always easy but it’s an investment in your health AND in how you feel. It’ll improve the quality of your life if you give it a chance.

What’s your “go to” form of exercise?

Kristie Leong M.D.

Dr. Kristie Leong and Dr. Apollo Leong are physicians helping you to lead a healthy lifestyle by sharing nutrition and fitness tips and keeping you abreast of the latest health news.

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