By Coach Lora Erickson, BlondeRunner.com
As a coach and weight loss specialist I would say “not having enough time to exercise” is one of the most common excuses I hear among many, many others. But the fact is we are not going to have any more than 24 hours in a day so we must get more efficient at using it. I feel like some people need some convincing to take care of their health and to feel like it’s worth their time. There is no place in a healthy lifestyle for continuous excuses. Now I am not saying that illness, injury or others aren’t valid excuses but some people allow this myriad of excuses to become a barrier that prevents consistent exercise. While their reasons could be persuasive, I offer my rebuttals.
When someone says to me “Who cares, I am eventually going to die anyway. I might as well enjoy my life and eat what I want.” To these people I say; Have you seen a diabetic suffer from neuropathy, loss of fingers, or toes or event feet! Have you seen them suffer from blindness due to unmanaged diabetes? Have you seen the lasting effects of those who suffer from a heart attack because they can’t find time to get healthy? If you don’t take the time to take care of you; you are inviting illness into your life. Health will get its way, one way or another. I would much rather live, a healthy life on my own time-line than live suffering from a preventable illness. Not to mention the stress and strain these illnesses can cause to my loved ones.
To those that say, “I am too busy with my kids. They need me and besides it’s selfish to take time away from them to exercise.” I say to them exercise with your kids. I see more smiles on children’s faces when they are running around on the playground that any other time. It is in our very nature to be physical and laugh. Have them ride their bike with you when you run. When my kids were toddlers I would do jumping jacks, crunches and stretching with them. I would even “bench-press” them and they loved it! It usually ended up in a tickling match and we had a blast! The best way to teach your children how to take care of their body is to take care of your own. It’s not selfish to love yourself and care enough to treat your body right. Besides, you will be here to see your kids and grandkids grow up. What Mom or Dad doesn’t want that?
“I don’t have time because I work so many hours and go in early and/or get off late.” For several years, after college I worked in the Human Resources field and one thing that I learned is that everyone is replaceable when it comes to work. Sure, we’d all like to believe we are the most amazing employee and not replaceable; but the fact is there is always someone willing to take our place and somehow the job gets done. So, you have to ask yourself, if you didn’t have work, what would you have? The old adage “Don’t put all you’re your eggs in one basket” rings true here. Sometimes I have to remind people that there is more to life than just work. The most cheerful employees I encountered were often those that set parameters around their family and personal time. Personal time and family relationships suffer when we don’t limit work hours. Besides, exercise will help us to be more productive when we are working.
To the generic “I am too busy” I say; Just like you, I love to be busy but I have learned over the years that ‘I just can’t read every book in the library in my lifetime’. I have to choose and sometimes I even say no to things that get in the way of me taking care of my health and family. You will always have people wanting you to do this or that, but the choice is always yours. You control your life. One of my husband’s favorite quotes is “Only dead fish go with the flow.” So true. Don’t get caught up in having to do so much and be perfect. Set your sails and determine your life destination. Sometimes this requires you to say NO to some things to make room for better things in your life.
“I don’t know how or have the motivation to exercise.”
Get help. There are coaches and trainers like me that would love to teach you how to exercise properly. It’s what we find joy in doing, let us help you!
“I love food too much.”
Me too! All the more reason to exercise! There is nothing wrong with enjoying food in balance. Look up my Ninty-Ten or 90/10 rule on my website at BlondeRunner.com for tips on balanced eating. Every morsel you stuff in your mouth doesn’t have to be a superfood, but balance is important.
“I have too many health problems.”
Do you think they are going to get better by not taking care of your health? Go to your doctor, get everything figured out and take control of your health. Knowledge is power. Just because you don’t have a diagnosis from a doctor of your illness doesn’t mean it’s not causing harmful damage to your body. Don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you CAN do. You are your best health advocate. Take action.
“I am too tired.” Good. That means you need to exercise, because it gives you energy. The best way to get pumped up is to get moving. Being chronically tired can be caused by poor diet or other concerns like anemia. Having a blood test can help identify problems can offer solutions. Take control of your health.
“I don’t have time.” How much time do you spend on Facebook, Instagram or watching TV? Couldn’t you situate your stationary bike or treadmill in front of the TV or use your ipad or phone while you are exercising? It’s a two-for-one activity. I do this all-of-the time. Especially for my long endurance rides and the time goes much faster too. It doesn’t have to be a choice between one or the other. Think outside the box and find a way to do both. I have a lot of friends that ride their bicycles to work, so there’s another idea.
“I have bad knees.”
What about all the great fitness activities you can do with your upper body? Also, depending on the issues “bad knees” can benefit from building strength in the legs. Swimming can be a great start. Seeing a physical therapist that can design a program to meet your needs is also a great way to get started. I have witnessed many para-Olympic athletes without legs accomplish marathons and Ironman distance events. No excuses.
“I am too overweight to exercise.”
I don’t buy it. I am a fan of the Biggest Loser and those are some big people moving. If they can do it, you can do it! What about starting with small manageable daily changes? You have to wake up in the morning and ask yourself what you can do for your health today. Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t. Even small daily changes matter. Be patient and consistent and change will come.
“Exercise hurts.” Suck it up buttercup. Think about your most rewarding experiences in life, they often come after the blood, sweat and tears of effort we put into them. Pain in temporary, pride is forever! You got this! Disclaimer: If you are experiencing unusual and/or sharp pain, see a doctor.
“I am scared to run out on the trails. I don’t feel safe.” Valid reason, but is the trail the only place you have to go? Would you feel better if you went with a group of friends? Safety in numbers, right? Carry pepper spray, RoadID and a phone. See what the local rec center has to offer indoors or make your den the new exercise room. Invest in your health and get an exercise machine or do classic exercises like crunches, push-ups etc in your livingroom.
“Gym memberships are expensive. I have nowhere to exercise.” Exercise can easily be done at home, local track or park. These are all free resources. Tell me that you don’t get exercise running up the bleachers at the local track or doing step-ups on your front porch? You can do pull-up on monkey bars and push-ups and using your own body weight is free. Gather some friends and form a walking or fitness support group. Do an exercise video together.
“I am embarrassed to get in a swim suit.” It can be difficult at first. But I have found that most people at the pool are far more concerned about how they are looking in their suit to notice you. If you still find it difficult, wear an old t-shirt in the pool. Nobody is going to care. Just get in and get your workout done. You’re not going to feel comfortable in the swimsuit until you shape that body the way you want to with exercise. Anything worth doing it’s always easy.
“I am so out of shape or too old.” Then you have no time to waste. We aren’t getting any younger so waiting isn’t going to make it easier. Start slow and increase your intensity and duration over time. If you think that accountability would help, hire a coach or trainer.
“I don’t want to have to shower again.” Then don’t. Schedule your exercise before you shower so that’s not a barrier for you.
“It’s too cold, too hot, too dark, too windy, too…” Races happen in all kinds of weather and some of my favorite workouts have occurred when I didn’t want to do them because of some of these very excuses, but you know what, I did it anyway because that is what discipline is. It’s doing something when you don’t want to do. If you are waiting for the perfect moment for you to exercise it may never happen.
“I don’t have time to do the whole workout, so I might as well not do it.” Even short workouts can have great health benefits. So drop the perfectionism and get the lesser ten minutes in. You will feel better for it. Resolve to do better tomorrow. Prioritize time management, a little time to plan ahead can go a long way.
“I don’t have the support from home or around me.” If you don’t have the support from home you might need to create your own support network. That is what I did. Join a club or group that can give you the support you need. Also, don’t get caught up in others making you feel guilty for how you spend your personal time. We all deserve personal time and just like the over-bearing friend that tries to stuff the cheesecake down your throat; be strong in your resolve. They will eventually learn to respect you and how does it hurt them if you don’t eat the cheesecake? The fact is it doesn’t. Some people try to project their own inadequacies onto others. Don’t allow it to be you. You deserve to take care of yourself and the sooner you can surround yourself with others that value health the stronger you will become.
“I am too busy.”
Most everyone is busy with many demands on their time; the difference between busy healthy people and busy unhealthy people is priority choices. Those who make health a priority have it; those that don’t, don’t. This is not rocket science people! Are you really going to let these excuses stop you from being healthy? So maybe I haven’t convinced you. No matter, I have resolved to be healthy for me and my family. And when you make that decision you will too. If there is a will there is a way. Life is too important to not live it in good health. Besides, my family deserves a healthy me.
Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is a USATF certified running coach and nationally ranked triathlon with over 29 years of athletic experience. She offers many community classes and coaching programs. To learn more visit BlondeRunner.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org