Fitness Articles

Help Yourself Over Exercise Hurdles

Make Options Instead of Excuses

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It’s the time of year when those New Year’s Resolutions are getting more difficult to keep, and the winter weather isn’t making it any easier. You probably had a lot of enthusiasm for the first few weeks—you joined the gym, exercised regularly, probably even improved your endurance and strength by now. But as the weeks go by, more obstacles start to creep in. Don’t be dismayed! The good news is that there are plenty of helpers to get you over those exercise hurdles. 

Hurdle #1: "I don’t have enough time to exercise." Helpers:
  • Take your gym bag to work and exercise during lunch. Having your gear with you will also make it easier to go straight to the gym after work.
  • Exercise in smaller intervals of time. Three 15-minute "mini workouts" spread throughout the day can be just as effective as one 45-minute session. Try to fit in a mini workout first thing in the morning, during breaks, at lunch, and after dinner. Don’t have 15 minutes? Any interval (even 5 minutes) is better than none.
  • Do your workout first thing in the morning, when you are less likely to be distracted by other daily tasks.
  • Find ways to squeeze extra activity into your normal routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, stretch at work, or ride the stationary bike while watching TV. Do crunches and other strength exercises during commercial breaks.
  • Instead of meeting your friends for lunch this weekend, meet them for a leisurely walk or nature hike.
  • Spend time with your family and kids doing fun activities. Instead of going to dinner and a movie, try: miniature golf, riding bikes, playing at a park, ice skating, playing in the snow, or practicing your child’s favorite sport with them. Geocaching can be a fun activity for the whole family.
Hurdle #2: "I'm discouraged since I don’t seen immediate results." Helpers:
  • Set challenging, yet attainable, short-term and long-term goals. Don’t forget about The Importance of Setting Medium-Term Goals.
  • Track activity on a daily basis (what you ate, your activity level), but measure results (weigh-in, inches lost) every week or two in order to accurately observe progress.
  • Use more than just weight loss to measure success. For instance, look for positive changes in your energy, stress, endurance, strength, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. All of these should improve when you implement healthier habits.
  • Set rewards for meeting daily, weekly and monthly goals. Whether it’s a massage, video rental, or a vacation, pick something that is meaningful (and financially affordable) to you. Continued ›
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About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

Member Comments

    Feeling the last one real bad. I try to help the hubs out but he doesint mind being over weight. I ask him to feel if i seem more toned. He huffs and puffs yeah good job. And also says im going to leave him when i reach my goal weight! But hes so wrong! I feel more sexy and less self concious around him and i do it for my self! - 5/20/2015 8:52:49 PM
  • Great article. - 10/13/2013 3:45:53 PM
  • One tip for finding more time to exercise - step away from the computer!

    If you regularly spend an hour or more on Facebook, Pinterest, or just web surfing, set a kitchen timer for 30 minutes. When it rings, walk away from the computer - you've just freed up 30 minutes to exercise. When you're done exercising, guess what?

    Your Facebook friends will still be there! And, now you can update your status to say you've just worked out!!! - 6/21/2013 12:21:58 PM
  • Great article. - 6/21/2013 10:20:26 AM
  • As a person who frequently walks for exercise, I also suggest changing up the can be as simple as just going the opposite direction from the usual route. You will see a whole different perspective going the other way! - 4/28/2013 8:44:21 PM
  • Please edit these! - 4/11/2013 4:22:29 PM
    For those who, like me, lose motivation when the scale and/or tape measure doesn't move, I highly recommend Michael Mosley's series on diet and exercise on PBS. The series takes a look at some of the latest research into how diet and exercise effect the body and ways to get the benefits without spending tons of money or excessive time. For me, just learning about the health benefits has provided a great deal of motivation just when I need it most. It is also entertaining and I like the basis in GOOD science to back it up. I found some of the new scientific ways of measuring health and fitness fascinating. - 4/11/2013 12:57:19 PM
  • MRE1956
    From personal experience, sadly, I have learned NOT to rely on FAMILY! If you have support beyond that, it may be best to look to those systems........ju
    st sayin'...... - 1/14/2013 7:55:54 AM
    This makes me feel so silly, but I would often put off exercise in the morning because my 30 minute resistance training just felt like too much! And then in the evenings after work, I would be too tired to even bother. Breaking it up into 2 x 15 minute programs is such a good idea! - 10/30/2012 3:27:49 AM
  • I have been on here for over 3 months, have lost 20 pounds already, but am having to switch it up some on the training I do on certain days. I have been rotating the exercises I have been doing lately so it's not the same as it is every day. But when I first started this, I was forgetting to do a whole exercise because I was so into the routine of always doing them in a set way.

    I think it helped me hit that first 20-pound loss because I was changing the program a little. And since I haven't been able to walk since the first 3 weeks after joining, I am ready to get back out there and walk again. I HOPE they take this cast off my leg the frist week of October. This is MY time of year and I love walking outside in fall. So we'll see how getting back to walking my 2 miles a day will switch it up again and see if it gives me my 2nd 20-pound loss! - 9/29/2012 2:00:46 PM
  • you have a typo in the second hurdle:
    Hurdle #2: "I'm discouraged since I donít seen immediate results." Helpers:

    i don't seen - 8/18/2010 9:52:51 AM
  • you have a typo in the second hurdle:
    Hurdle #2: "I'm discouraged since I donít seen immediate results." Helpers:

    i don't seen - 8/18/2010 9:52:28 AM
  • I haven't met any goals so maybe that's why I'm not into it. I have joined some team challenges to motivate myself. Don't want to let my mates down. - 8/9/2009 11:33:42 AM
  • Great article. - 6/1/2008 9:38:39 PM
    I agree with SANDLAPPER1...rea
    ching a goal makes you feel like "I can do this" & helps give you the confidence to continue on the weight loss path. - 1/6/2008 3:55:01 PM

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