Health and Fitness: 8 Obstacles to Exercising and How You Can Overcome Them
Beginning a new fitness routine can be hard. Maintaining it can be just as difficult, possibly more so. It’s easy to run into obstacles and allow them to prevent you from starting, or to begin questioning whether it’s worth it to get back into your healthy routine. But we’re here to help.
Not only is acknowledging the barriers preventing you from working out a crucial step in overcoming them, it’s incredibly important that you understand you are in no way alone! We want to help you identify the common obstacles people face when trying to get fit, and offer you some tips for overcoming those challenges.
Obstacle #1: “I’m self-conscious about getting started.”
If you’ve never had a workout routine, it can feel awkward to start– like the people at the gym (or wherever you workout) already know what they’re doing and it’s obvious that you’re new to exercising. You might worry that you’re doing it wrong, that you look silly, or even that you’re not dressed appropriately. If you are at a gym, the sheer number of machines can be overwhelming, and not knowing how to use them can make you feel intimidated. Those negative feelings, if not addressed, can become a huge obstacle, as no one wants to do something that makes them feel bad.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable, try going alone in the beginning. Start out with walking or jogging around your neighborhood, or consider an exercise that can be done in the comfort of your own home. If funds allow, you might consider exercise equipment like a treadmill or stationary bike. As you start to gain confidence in the movements, you might feel more comfortable challenging yourself and asking for help.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Making the choice to start is a HUGE accomplishment not to be underestimated. Keep in mind that as you become more comfortable with exercise, you will begin to notice that the people surrounding you are there for the same reasons as you, and are mostly focused on themselves!
Obstacle #2: “Working out is the worst!”
When a lot of people think of exercise they envision treadmills, ellipticals, and stair masters. For some, this can seem like the most boring way to spend 30 minutes. Maybe yoga seems boring and weird and the idea of joining a crossfit gym is only something you’d ever vocalize as a hilarious joke. The point is: if it’s not something you enjoy, you’re a lot less likely to stick with it.
Find something you enjoy! There are so many different types of physical activity to explore; that you’re bound to find something you think is fun and/or relaxing. And beyond that, there are ways to modify your routine to make it more exciting.
Hate gyms? Try working a morning walk, jog, or run into your routine.
Sound boring? Try listening to a podcast, audiobook, or even a really awesome playlist while you do it!
Don’t like running? Try swimming!
Don’t have access to a pool? A family bike ride is a great way to help you get a work out and set a positive example for your kids at the same time!
Don’t have a bike? Consider a dance class!
Don’t have rhythm? Try yoga!
Don’t have flexibility? Try an exercise video!
You get it. There are so many things out there that can help you engage in physical activity. If you don’t like one thing, you can always try something else. But the key is to try. Because while you might think you’re lacking in rhythm, you might find with a little practice, that you’ve developed a new hobby! Further, having options allows you to vary your routine so you don’t get bored.
Obstacle #3: “Gyms are too expensive.”
Gym memberships can be pricy. And if you don’t have the intention of using all the equipment or taking advantage of the classes offered, it might seem like an unnecessary expenditure even if a membership is within your budget. Maybe you’ve gotten a membership before and it’s gone unused (don’t be ashamed– we’ve all been there), and simply aren’t ready to take that plunge again. For whatever reason, forking over a hefty membership fee might not be in the cards for you.
Look into more affordable options, such as joining your local YMCA. Many community centers also offer less expensive exercise classes in a variety of activities. Wanting something you can do solo? Consider investing in some weight training equipment (dumbbells, kettlebells, an exercise ball) that you can use at home. If you’re new to working out and need more instruction, there are a variety of video-based workout programs available that range in type, price, and experience level.
Do something free! Head outdoors for a morning walk, a hike, or join a running group. Check out some free workout videos online (we have a ton!). Try exercises at home that don’t require equipment like sit-ups, pushups, or jumping jacks.