Busting Excuses to Avoid Exercise, No Matter Your Size

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/27/2011 8:00 AM   :  89 comments   :  36,590 Views

By Beth Donovan aka ~Indygirl

I used to think I had to have a goal of running a 5K or working out for at least a half hour a day to get any benefits from exercise. I was dead wrong. Every little bit of moving we do adds up and studies have shown that even daily broken up exercise routines work to reduce health concerns. SparkGuy himself sets a modest goal of 10 minutes a day, which he usually surpasses. I followed his lead and although at first I wasn’t able to do a full 10 minutes, I broke it up into a few minutes a few times a day. Something happens after 10 minutes though, and I find myself reaching for that 11th minute, the 12th minute and more.

If you haven’t moved in awhile, start slowly and ask your doctor what exercises might be right for you, especially if you have chronic pain or a disability. I started my exercise routine with sessions of in-home physical therapy because I was bedridden at the time. Wherever you are at with your fitness level, accept it and find the best workout for YOU, not for your friend or favorite celebrity. Just moving at all for some people is a workout, while others might need more vigorous training. You need to find your personal fitness level and build on it. When looking for a workout routine, remember it needs to be something you will enjoy. Try different things until you find what suits your tastes. Here's what works for me:

  1. Set modest goals. Don’t burn yourself out before you even get started. If you haven’t worked out in a year, starting with an hourlong walk a day might not be practical and might burn you out or leave you injured. You might start with a 10-minute walk for a week, then go to 15 minutes the next week depending on your fitness level. My goals usually change each month. I’m very slow to progress, but I do progress. If I progress too quickly, I suffer from too much pain and start to dread working out. When that happens, I slowly find reasons not to exercise. The trick is to not let that happen in the first place. To avoid the problem, I make my goals as easy to reach as possible. I want to succeed, so I make them attainable. Making them impossible or too challenging would serve no purpose for me.
     
  2. Music can be extremely motivating. My playlist is something I try not to listen to unless I’m working out. Why? It’s my reward for working out. I get to hear music I like when I exercise and I make sure the music is downright addictive to me so that I want to hear the next song. That way I will keep working out so I can listen to the music.

    I get motivated to go to the gym by people I meet there. I’m very social most of the time. If you are like me, a gym might be a great place to make friends by taking a class or showing up at the same time each day/night. If you like exercising at home or alone, having an accountability buddy might work. My friend Tina and I call each other and brag on our exercise or good choices throughout the day. It keeps me motivated and wanting to make more good choices.
     
  3. Workout clothing makes me feel motivated, too. I never thought I would say that, as I always considered myself inactive. When I dress in workout clothes, they make me feel like moving. The problem with being large is that finding cute workout clothes isn’t easy. Lately I’ve had a lot of fun shopping at Goodwill for my workout clothes, something I was never able to do before. (For more tips on workout clothes, equipment and more, check out: Solutions to the Challenges of Living Large or Less Mobile)
     
  4. If you just aren’t the indoor exercise type, take it outside. Enjoy the scenery, no matter what season; there is something to do, even if it is just to march in place or shovel snow. Walk to the mailbox to get your mail if that’s all you can do or make a few trips up and down the driveway. Look into dog-walking programs at the local pound if you enjoy animals. Some nursing homes have buddy programs, too, or you might be able to befriend a senior and exercise at a slower pace together.
     
  5. Make a dream list of activities you would like to do in your “fit life.” Using that dream list to motivate yourself to train for those activities might be another way to get excited about exercise. Personally, I would like to walk through a water park again and swim in the wave pool. I would also like to walk through Disney World and Epcot Center again and along the beach in Florida with my husband. To do this, I am strengthening my legs as much as I can via use of my walker and cane. I also do cardio on my arm bike, pushing the resistance as far as I can to get resistance training at the same time.


These are the ways that I stay on track when exercise seems tedious or too difficult. I hope these tips help you as well. Remember that before you start or change an exercise plan, you should discuss it with your doctor.

What are your dreams? What could you strengthen to reach them?


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Comments

  • SMOKIEBLUE
    89
    Thank you so much, I have to loose 200 lbs, have COPD, Sjogren's disease which is an overactive immune system that actually attacks the body's cells...I have chronic back pain...arthritis in my knees, and so on. This blog has given me new hope, I might start with only 30 seconds at a time, several times a day. Thank you so much and best of luck.



    - 10/27/2013   5:41:44 PM
  • BANNERMAN
    88
    Thanks for sharing. - 10/21/2013   12:53:55 AM
  • FREEDOMATLAST2
    87
    WOW, what a great article. Thanks. - 10/2/2013   2:31:39 PM
  • SMROSEA
    86
    Thank you for the inspiration! I am very sedentary and it is hard to move a lot. I have always tended to over-do it when I begin to exercise so short periods of time might work better for me. - 8/17/2013   11:01:32 AM
  • LAS2772
    85
    I'm already jotting down Excuse Busters that I can post on my mirror to remind myself what's best for me, and excuses are definitely NOT best! Thanks for the great tips!!! - 7/25/2013   2:30:03 AM
  • 84
    Great info, very motivating. I am coming back from a pinched nerve and sciatic issue in my leg and this really made a difference. - 6/20/2013   3:36:53 PM
  • SUNSHINEGIRL311
    83
    thanks for the motivation - 3/9/2013   9:44:47 AM
  • 82
    Excellent suggestions, thanks for the motivation! - 2/11/2013   6:48:39 PM
  • 81
    Thank you for this! It is so encouraging! - 1/30/2013   9:53:50 PM
  • 80
    I totally get where you're coming from. Once the workout clothes are on and you're already 10 mins in, it is an awful shame to stop if you can keep going. The little tricks we play on ourselves are important. Thanks for this excellent blog! - 4/18/2012   5:59:22 AM
  • 79
    Great advice! Thanks for your inspiring blog!!! - 4/4/2012   4:12:49 PM
  • MAGIE40
    78
    Thanks for the great advice. I like going to aqua fit since I had hip and knee replacement. Easy on the joints - 11/17/2011   8:47:24 PM
  • 77
    My first time to read this blog...I found it very inspiring!! Thank you! - 11/12/2011   12:08:06 PM
  • 76
    Beth I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooov
    e your articles PLEAAAAAAAAAASE keep writing them. - 3/22/2011   12:14:37 AM
  • 75
    Thank you for the inspiring article! - 2/17/2011   1:23:43 PM
  • SARAHJ521
    74
    I really enjoyed your article and couldn't agree more. Music is my biggest motivator...ear buds, my ipod, and I'm good to go! =) - 2/16/2011   4:46:14 PM
  • 73
    My dreams are to be able to do a marathon and a triathalon. I could strengthen my legs for the marathon and my whole body for the triathalon. - 2/8/2011   7:20:48 PM
  • 72
    Love it!! Thanks girl - just what I needed to hear today! Keep up the great work! - 2/6/2011   10:51:08 AM
  • NDFLOWERGIRL
    71
    I admire your spirit and determination--you go girl! You have my respect :-) - 2/6/2011   9:35:13 AM
  • 70
    My dream is to run a 5k all the way through. I know getting back into walking and running is my first step. Then training. It may take one or more 5k's to run the whole thing through but I know I will make it one day. And since I know I am so competitive I can see me then working on lowering my time each new 5k. :) - 2/5/2011   6:40:20 PM
  • 69
    What a great inspirational blog. My dream - to be 50 pounds less for my 40th (yes 40th) high school reunion in 2012. Thank you for the inspiration. Now my goal is to find that accountability buddy. Anybody interested? - 2/4/2011   9:59:00 AM
  • 68
    Dreaming is what finally got me to do strength training. I'm determined to be able to do a full pull-up, and then whatever the President's Fitness test is for the kids. There's an assisted dip machine at the gym, and once I've done that, it's pretty easy to move on to the next one. - 2/3/2011   3:45:47 PM
  • 67
    first thing i do every morning without thinking about it is to just put on my workout clothes. by the time I 'wake up' and get the kids out to the bus, i'm ready for the gym. can't skip it if your dressed for it already. - 2/2/2011   4:34:10 PM
  • 66
    My dreams are to have a good strong body, and get back into exercise at the pool. I'm having a lot of joint problems, and am focused on getting them under control at the moment. - 2/2/2011   10:15:59 AM
  • 65
    Thanks for a great blog. I was stuck in the house due to bad weather last night and I decided to walk in my living room. I challenge myself to get in at least 10 mins a day of some activity. - 2/2/2011   9:08:08 AM
  • TEXSPARKSTER
    64
    I just checked in and have to be at work at 5 am. I haven't read the artice, but I saw the headline and reminded me of driving down our blvd when we saw a woman powerwalking. One of the Jr. Hi kids said, "Look at her! She's fat." I turned on that child and said, "She's trying (to make herself healthy), what the hell are you doing?" I don't normally curse at anyone, but dang(!) anyone who is out there trying, deserves respect!
    As I said, I don't have time to read anything tonight, but I hope that what I've said lets people know to keep trying! - 2/1/2011   10:23:33 PM
  • 63
    Thanks for breaching this subject! Many people feel this way, but don't know where to go for advice.

    I know when my husband and I first started to exercise a year and a half ago, we didn't know where to start. We decided to walk to the end of our street and back. That was it! And we only live about 5 houses from the end of the street! I was a little embarrassed, wondering what our neighbors thought. But, after we kept it up for a week, we decided to go a little bit further. We did just that, and every week following. I was proud of each week's accomplishments!

    Just yesterday, as we walked around 2 blocks, we marveled at how far we'd come! We don't even get tired until about 20 minutes of pushing ourselves! If we had been too afraid to leave our houses and try, we might've never come this far!! - 2/1/2011   3:26:24 PM
  • TILLY601
    62
    Thanks for the reminder that even a little bit of movement can make a difference to our physical and emotional health. I like to wear a pedometer every day and use it to track my normal movement. It helps remind me to walk more on days I don't move much even if its only around the house or to take my dog on an extra walk. He LOVES the exercise and it doesn't hurt me much either. I also started taking a gentle yoga class which is for people with injuries and health issues. It is helping to connect me and make me more aware of my body.

    Good luck to you in your healthy living journey! - 2/1/2011   1:49:51 PM
  • MAYKAY113
    61
    Because you walk in the same shoes we do, your article is both provocative AND manageable - & best of all written, compassionately about yourself & to your audience. Thanks; best to you in your goals. - 2/1/2011   8:48:52 AM
  • 60
    You write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing. The idea of walking dogs at the pound or helping at a nursing home walking is truly awesome. I find my overweight friends are giving people and this would help them to continue being generous to others. It is true to their nature. - 2/1/2011   5:18:00 AM
  • FOODQUEEN3
    59
    thanks really needed to hear this as am still suffering aftereffects of spinal surgery in sept 2009, will definitely try to do some exercise prob walking every day no matter if its not my usual hourly walk that i could manage before surgery. going to head out now for 30 mins walk. my best wishes to you in strenghtening your legs. - 2/1/2011   4:18:52 AM
  • MEETNEWME
    58
    Thanks for such a good blog!! - 1/31/2011   2:33:21 AM
  • 57
    Great blog Beth! My motto is "You have to start...in order to finish!" - 1/30/2011   10:49:11 PM
  • 56
    Have you heard this before? You are such an inspiration! - 1/30/2011   11:16:21 AM
  • 55
    Nice blog,,, When I weighed 288 I was in a wheelchair and hardly able to move, so I started walking only 3 steps (My Dr told me I'd NEVER walk again ! which made me MAD so I started me WALKING ! ,,,oh also had to have surgeries to do so,,it wasn't as easy as "walking" ) so from those 3 steps, I slowly started going. Now 105 lbs later, I can do a mile (I am NOT fast cos I've broken my foot twice walking), but I CAN do this. TY for the 10 min reminders ! Slow but steady gets you there ! I wish you well. - 1/29/2011   10:53:37 PM
  • CHEEKYCHERRY1
    54
    I love the idea of a dream list! I just started to jot down what I would love to accomplish and I am excited to start the journey towards getting fit for those activities....zip lining, kayaking the Grand River, run a 5k race. There are so many things I would like to do and having a dream list posted on my wall will help get me there and keep me focused.
    Thanks for posting this blog. :) - 1/29/2011   1:54:02 PM
  • 53
    Great Blog! You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you. - 1/29/2011   11:04:30 AM
  • KAYECARNEY1
    52
    I think I can do this! - 1/29/2011   7:01:24 AM
  • 2011DIET4ME
    51
    Thank you - very inspiring blog - I'm adding exercise to my health program in a couple of days - your suggestions are very timely :) - 1/28/2011   8:28:36 PM
  • KMBR30
    50
    Thanks for the reminder to start off slow and build yourself up. I tried to take off at a run after not working out for over a week and found out that even after a week you can get out of shape. I may have to start of slow but that's how we build ourselves up. I loved the idea of setting more small goals to keep me motivated as well. - 1/28/2011   6:41:09 PM
  • 49
    Oh Beth, what a GREAT blog! Since I'm just beginning this SP journey of diet and exercise, I too break it down into 10 minute intervals (sometimes even down to 5 minutes at a time)....but do them throughout the day entire day. That, along with healthy eating, is actually working!

    Thanks for the added tips!
    - 1/28/2011   1:23:01 PM
  • 48
    What a great blog. When I started my journey at 306 pounds it was very hard to do any kind of exercising. Just being more active in my everyday activities was how I began. As the pounds came off I could do more and more. To my surprise I really began to look forward to exercising. Wow, who would have thought I would ever feel that way. Small steps over time lead to big success. Anyone can do it.
    Every day is a new adventure once you change your lifestyle. Lorraine - 1/28/2011   1:14:30 PM
  • 47
    very nice article! - 1/28/2011   1:14:05 PM
  • 46
    Thanks, Beth, for your always helpful & encouraging comments. I have been struggling with our winter weather, my pool being closed & too much snow outside for my walker. I tried the elliptical machine at our clinic & had to stop after only 10 mins. Made it 18 mins. Weds. but felt wiped out, dizzy& panting. You make me remember that that 8 min. increase is real progress. I've saved a number of 10 min. exercise routines to my favs to do in icy weather & have been doing them - they count up, doing 2-3 a day. Pool reopened this week & I comfortably swam 65 mins! Every bit counts, so long as you are moving! God Bless your journey! - 1/28/2011   1:07:46 PM
  • JESSEWS
    45
    Wow, good advice! And I agree with the workout clothes thing, once I get my shorts on and a shirt that breathes.... a switch goes off in my head and Im ready to run! - 1/28/2011   12:09:55 PM
  • FURBALLDTH
    44
    wonderful blog. I don't feel so bad by what I can't but rejoice in what I can do. - 1/28/2011   11:06:19 AM
  • 43
    My dream is to make healthier choices and make this a lifestyle change, rather than a diet. I want to strengthen my "resistance" muscle and less of my "giving-in" muscle. It is a work in progress. - 1/28/2011   10:58:26 AM
  • 42
    You are so right! I would often find myself trying to keep up with the exercise schedules of my SP friends/teammates, since I have such a competitive nature. Finally I have realized I need to do what works for ME, with my schedule, lifestyle, etc. Since I am one who for the mostpart doesn't really ENJOYS exercise but do it because I know I NEED it to be healthy, I can see that if I try to do too much I will burn out. Some days my goals is still that 10 minutes -- usually yes, I do more, but if that's what I can handle that day, it's still better than nothing and keeps me in the habit of staying active every day! You are an inspiration to so many. When I first read your story of beginning your exercise from bed, it made me realize that there are no excuses for not being able to exercise! - 1/28/2011   10:32:36 AM
  • JUSLEFAIRE
    41
    Your blogs are always wonderfully informative, Beth.Your writing is suberb. When Iread your blogs,I am continue to be motivated to start my day with enthusiam and commitment.
    As always, thank you on your great work and effort.
    Nancy - 1/28/2011   10:12:13 AM
  • 40
    This blog was great! Thanks. I used to be the biggest procrastinator. Now if I skip a day, I MAKE myself make up the time. I have well over 100 lbs to lose, but I am blessed in that I am still pretty flexible and able to move freely with no pain other than the little burn in the muscles. I have finally learned to celebrate the victory of completing each workout Instead of allowing myself to become defeated when I don't get to it. And the more I do it, the more I want to do it! - 1/28/2011   9:55:47 AM

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