Busting Excuses to Avoid Exercise, No Matter Your Size

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/27/2011 8:00 AM   :  89 comments   :  36,975 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

  • SUCCESSHEL
    39
    A great tip I stole from the book "10 minute trainer" is to put your workout clothes on as soon as you get home or up in the morning. Then do whatever you were going to do instead of exercising-surf the web, read, take a cat nap, have a cup of coffee etc. Just putting the clothes on will help keep you honest. It works for me! - 1/28/2011   8:50:14 AM
  • PKGEIHS
    38
    Thanks so much for all the helpful tips. With all of this weight I have gained I have been afraid to exercise too much for fear I might have a heart attack and fear that I willhave a heart attack if I don't exercise..Catch 22 right! I have been doing little things hoping it would help and apparently my line of thinking has been right.

    Thanks so much! - 1/28/2011   8:47:15 AM
  • 37
    Great tips! I use my stationery bike a lot (due to the large amount of snow we've had) and I read a good book - I can only read it while I'm pedaling. So if it's a good story, I always add a few minutes more and look forward to pedaling again so I can see what happens next! - 1/28/2011   7:09:15 AM
  • 36
    Great tips! - 1/28/2011   5:41:18 AM
  • 35
    Our children helped us out by giving us a Kinect system for Christmas. Now my husband and I play all types of games that burn calories and help us get into shape. - 1/27/2011   11:45:00 PM
  • 34
    Our children helped us out by giving us a Kinect system for Christmas. Now my husband and I play all types of games that burn calories and help us get into shape. - 1/27/2011   11:44:26 PM
  • 33
    I have saved your blog to read when I'm feeling down. You have such a great, commonsense way of dealing with life. I admire you andd know that you will reach your dreams. - 1/27/2011   8:32:55 PM
  • 32
    thank you for sharing this! Its a great reminder that even 10 minutes a day is better then nothing! - 1/27/2011   8:21:30 PM
  • 31
    Thanks for sharing those with us! I will definitely have to try those. I love buying new workout clothes! There's nothing worse than when you try to workout and you have nothing that fits! Not only is it uncomfortable, but I find I don't do my full potential workout because I think people are looking at me weird or I just don't want to go the whole time. - 1/27/2011   7:55:51 PM
  • 30
    So inspirational...thanks for sharing! - 1/27/2011   6:36:58 PM
  • 29
    Thank you for these reminders! I often use the excuse that I can't exercise for 30 minutes, so I just won't do it--I CAN move for at least 10 minutes and build from there! - 1/27/2011   4:54:05 PM
  • 28
    I live in Florida so walking at the beach is a wonderful way to exercise. - 1/27/2011   4:48:40 PM
  • 27
    Great ideas. It is so true that when we start too fast and too much, we are more likely to give up. - 1/27/2011   4:09:46 PM
  • 26
    Thank you for a great blog - very helpful! - 1/27/2011   3:44:31 PM
  • 25
    These are all great excuse busters I am going to keep them in mind. Thanks Beth! - 1/27/2011   1:58:12 PM
  • PICKANYNAME
    24
    On days that I'm feeling spent (over training), or truly under the weather, I just WALK .... either outside or on the treadmill. My motto: something ..... anything, is better than nothing when it comes to exercise - for the mind AND body! - 1/27/2011   1:47:18 PM
  • 23
    I agree with you totally about feeling good in workout clothes. There is a large department store nationwide that starts with a "J" that has workout clothes for the full figure woman.
    Good luck and keep up the great work! - 1/27/2011   1:00:43 PM
  • 22
    Very inspiring blog. Thank you so much for sharing. - 1/27/2011   12:58:14 PM
  • 21
    Great advice! Even small amounts of time exercising add up. I make it my goal to get in at least 10-15 minutes of exercise in each day, even though I am going through chemo for stage IV breast cancer, and I also live with sciatica.

    Exercise also has so many more benefits than just weight loss. - 1/27/2011   12:33:16 PM
  • CHUMMYCENA
    20
    Thanks for this article. I too often get bogged down by dissapointment in how much im not doing rather than focusing on how much I am doing. I need to focus on the positive rather than the negative. You put this in perspective wonderfully, and have inspired me to create my own goals for the activities I wish to accomplish. =) - 1/27/2011   12:30:11 PM
  • 19
    Excellent advice! I especially like that you said to take it easy at first and make it attainable-even if it is only a few minutes a day so you don't start to hurt and begin to dread exercise. I am starting over after a long period of inactivity and don't want to stop, skip days, overdo it, pull muscles, hurt my back again-etc. Thanks for the great advice! - 1/27/2011   12:11:22 PM
  • WANDERLUST2011
    18
    I rewarded myself for my workouts this week by shopping for workout clothes at goodwill yesterday. Got some great motivation for an amazing price! - 1/27/2011   12:09:17 PM
  • 17
    thank you for the wonderful article it was so helpful and gave me insight taking the first step to activity is the hard part, but now im on my way thank you - 1/27/2011   12:05:16 PM
  • MOONDANCER57
    16
    Great advice! As someone who has a lot of weight to lose, I have a difficult time with exercise and either do too much (not good) or nothing (not good). You're right, breaking it down still means you're moving something, so I'm going to take that approach - at least for now. Thanks! - 1/27/2011   11:55:54 AM
  • 15
    Thanks for the motivation and reminders!! - 1/27/2011   11:37:28 AM
  • 14
    I bought a pedometer, it helps me see how much or how little I am moving, even when I work a 12 hour shift and am on my feet all day, I still have trouble getting 10,000 steps daily. - 1/27/2011   11:30:22 AM
  • 13
    What a great article, thanks for sharing!!! That was just what I needed this morning! - 1/27/2011   10:51:37 AM
  • 12
    You are one of the most encouraging writers on this blog series, Beth, because of knowing how real the health battle is for you. Thank you for your persistence and committment. It helps those of us who have to fight just a little bit harder than average to get any physical activity done at all due to health concerns like pain, fatigue, immune dysfunction, etc. - 1/27/2011   10:45:40 AM
  • AMANDA71292
    11
    Thank you, I really needed this positive advice today. :) - 1/27/2011   10:42:53 AM
  • 10
    This article was perfect timing for me. I was excited about my exercising and striving to improve every day just a little bit. Suddenly I didn't want to get started. Three days off and I pushed to get out the door on the fourth, but my distance and time tolerance were severly reduced. Now I get it. I pushed too hard to get too far too fast. Today I will set my goal lower, and enjoy the feeling of movement again. Thanks! - 1/27/2011   10:29:05 AM
  • 9
    Great! Got some great ideas to motivate myself. - 1/27/2011   10:19:54 AM
  • 8
    I'm so happy to see this blog. Right now I can barely do 8 mniutes on the treadmill and was feeling like it was nothing. I have done up to 15 minutes on rare occassion but back pain is usually what stops me from going farther. I too have a hard time finding cute workout clothes. I have found some at onestopplus.com and/ or I just wear my old baggy clothes to exercise in. Thank you for the inspirational blog and the motivation that 8-10 minutes a day is better than nothing. Good Luck in your journey sounds like you are doing really well. - 1/27/2011   10:14:45 AM
  • TCMJUNKIE87
    7
    I started doing number 5 randomly a week ago!! It definitely helps! - 1/27/2011   9:55:16 AM
  • 6
    Spot on, as usual, Oh Wise One! I always enjoy your blogs. - 1/27/2011   9:33:25 AM
  • 5
    Love the blog, it was very helpful. - 1/27/2011   9:24:00 AM
  • MARYROSE1503
    4
    Very inspiring account. Thank you. - 1/27/2011   9:10:45 AM
  • 3
    As always, a great, balanced, helpful blog, Beth. Thank you. - 1/27/2011   8:57:40 AM
  • DURENBROWNE1
    2
    I really enjoyed your blog and it was helpful and gave good insight into that you need to get some type of activity in. Something is better than nothing. I am begining to see in my own weight loss efforts that diet alone will not help me get to my weight loss goals. I will apply some of your statagies. Thanks. - 1/27/2011   8:33:52 AM
  • ADVICEBREAKING
    1
    Do exercises and you will b fit and proper diet.

    http://www.advicebreakingup.org - 1/27/2011   1:42:05 AM

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