Busting Excuses to Avoid Exercise, No Matter Your Size

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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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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! Report
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! Report
wonderful blog. I don't feel so bad by what I can't but rejoice in what I can do. Report
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. Report
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! Report
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 Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
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! Report
Great tips! Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
thank you for sharing this! Its a great reminder that even 10 minutes a day is better then nothing! Report
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. Report
So inspirational...thanks for sharing! Report
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! Report
I live in Florida so walking at the beach is a wonderful way to exercise. Report
Great ideas. It is so true that when we start too fast and too much, we are more likely to give up. Report
Thank you for a great blog - very helpful! Report
These are all great excuse busters I am going to keep them in mind. Thanks Beth! Report
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! Report
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! Report
Very inspiring blog. Thank you so much for sharing. Report
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. Report
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. =) Report
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! Report
I rewarded myself for my workouts this week by shopping for workout clothes at goodwill yesterday. Got some great motivation for an amazing price! Report
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 Report
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! Report
Thanks for the motivation and reminders!! Report
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. Report
What a great article, thanks for sharing!!! That was just what I needed this morning! Report
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. Report
Thank you, I really needed this positive advice today. :) Report
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! Report
Great! Got some great ideas to motivate myself. Report
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. Report
I started doing number 5 randomly a week ago!! It definitely helps! Report
Spot on, as usual, Oh Wise One! I always enjoy your blogs. Report
Love the blog, it was very helpful. Report
Very inspiring account. Thank you. Report
As always, a great, balanced, helpful blog, Beth. Thank you. Report
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. Report
Do exercises and you will b fit and proper diet.

http://www.advicebreakingup.org Report
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