Everyone can agree that regular exercise is important, so why do so many people struggle to stick with their fitness goals?
Challenge 1: I don’t have enough time to exercise.
Setting aside time to exercise can be a challenge, so it’s important to use a little creativity to get the most out of your time. Squeeze in short walks: If you don’t have time for a full workout, don’t sweat it. Shorter spurts of exercise, such as 10 minutes of walking spaced throughout the day, offers benefits too.
Get up early: If your days are packed and the evening hours are hectic, get up 30 minutes earlier twice a week to exercise.
Drive less, walk more: Park in the back row of the parking lot or even a few blocks away and walk to your destination.
Revamp your rituals: Your weekly Saturday matinee with the kids could be reborn as your weekly bike ride, rock-climbing lesson or trip to the pool.
Challenge 2: I think exercise is boring. It’s natural to grow weary of a repetitive workout day after day, especially when you’re going it alone. But exercise doesn’t have to be boring.
Choose fun activities: You’ll be more likely to stay interested. Remember, anything that gets you moving counts.
Vary the routine: Rotate among several activities - such as walking, swimming and cycling - to keep you on your toes while conditioning different muscle groups.
Join forces: Exercise with friends, relatives, neighbours or co-workers. You’ll enjoy the camaraderie and the encouragement of the group.
Explore new options: Learn new skills while working out. Check out exercise classes or sports leagues at a recreation centre or health club.
Challenge 3: I’m self-conscious about how I look. Fitness isn’t just about what you look like on the outside, it’s the inside as well. Remind yourself what a great favour you’re doing for your cardiovascular health, or focus on how much stronger you feel after a workout.
Avoid the crowd: If you’re uncomfortable exercising around others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video or an activity-oriented video game.
Make an investment: Consider investing in home exercise equipment like a stationary bicycle, treadmill or a stair-climbing machine that you can use at home on your own time.
Focus on the future: Praise yourself for making a commitment to your health. Remember that as you become fitter and more comfortable exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.
Challenge 4: I’m too tired to exercise. No energy to exercise? Without exercise, you’ll have no energy. It's a vicious cycle. But breaking the cycle with physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
Try a morning workout: Hop on the treadmill or stationary bicycle while you listen to the radio or watch the morning news.
Make lunchtime count: Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk and take a brisk walk during your lunch break.
Be prepared: Make sure you have comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes for exercising readily available at home and in your car.
Challenge 5: I can’t afford health club fees. You don’t need a membership at an elite gym to get a great workout. Consider easy and free alternatives. Do strengthening exercises at home: Use inexpensive resistance bands - lengths of elastic tubing that come in varying strengths - in place of weights. Do pushups or squats using your body weight.
Start a walking group: Round up friends, neighbours or coworkers for regular group walks. Plan routes through the neighbourhood, along local parks and trails, or in a nearby shopping mall.
Take the stairs: Skip the elevator when you can and climb the stairs.
Try your community centre: Exercise classes offered through a local recreation department or community education are often more budget-friendly than an annual gym membership.