How to overcome exercise excuses – too fat, look silly

Fitness, Health
woman in trainers

There’s lots of evidence that exercise is good for you. Regular exercise will help you feel better about yourself, so it will even make it easier to smile. Keeping fit means you reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers. If you have mild hypertension, it can help to control your blood pressure. If you have non-insulin dependent diabetes, regular exercise can be very beneficial. If you are a woman worried about osteoporosis, incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Trying to lose weight? Exercise is an important part of what you need to do.

Dean Anderson, Fitness & Behavior Expert says:

“These obstacles are not just obstacles to exercise—they are the same challenges that stand between you and the life you want for yourself.” via Think You’re Too Heavy to Exercise? – Part 1 | SparkPeople

As Paul McKenna says in his book I Can Make You Thin,

“You don’t need to start a formal exercise programme (unless you want to clear up your skin, be less moody and have better sex), but you do need to move your body.”

Some of you are saying “Yes, yes, I know that,” but you are still not taking exercise. So I want to look at some of the ‘reasons’ people give for not doing what they know they should.

I don’t have enough time to exercise

Taking exercise can also save you time: as you get fitter, you will find you accomplish a lot of ordinary tasks faster as you naturally walk faster, run up stairs and carry shopping more easily.

I’m too fat to exercise – I’m too embarrassed to exercise

This is a really common reason people have for not exercising. I remember reading about a woman who started running wearing a coat over her running clothes, and carrying a shopping bag, as she didn’t want people to think she was trying to run. She hoped they would just think she was hurrying to the shops. It seemed to work for her, although I’m not sure I’d advocate this as a good strategy. If you’re worried about how you look, you can start by working out at home, or find a buddy who’s equally fat/unfit to brave the gym or running group with you.

Dean Anderson who has experienced the problem for himself (and is now a fitness coach) says:

“Trying to get myself off my 370-pound backside and into motion brought me face-to-face with all the parts of myself that had helped me get into the mess I was in: the part that had become an expert in excuse-making, procrastination, and rationalization; the part that relied on food and eating to manage feelings; the part that was afraid of what other people might think about me; the part of me that didn’t think I had what it took to lose weight (or do much of anything else); the part of me that was terrified of what might happen if I actually succeeded and no longer had my physical limitations to use as an excuse for avoiding intimate relationships, challenging work, and other anxiety-provoking situations; and yes, even the part that just plain liked sitting on the couch with a bag of chips a lot more than all the huffing and puffing and discomfort of exercise.”

I’ll look silly if I exercised

Most people are far too worried wondering what people think of them to take notice of others. They don’t spend time thinking you’re silly, because they’re too busy thinking that you think they’re silly. If you’re not convinced by this, try the alternative argument: you’re doing insecure people a service by looking silly and allowing them to feel superior.

Barbara Markway Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today, says

” I searched Internet forums and found that most people said when they see a heavier person exercise they are thinking positive thoughts, such as, “Good for you!” or “I used to be there, too.””

I can’t afford to go to a gym or pay a personal trainer

This may be true, but before you say that have a think about all the non-essentials you do manage to find money for. There are lots of great resources online – workouts you can do at home or with minimal equipment.

I particularly like HASfit. They have a great range of free workout videos, including ones for complete beginners and ones for people who can’t stand easily.

I wouldn’t know where to start exercising

Start with something you know – start by just increasing the amount of walking you are doing. Using a pedometer is a great way of getting feedback on the progress you are making. Try riding your bike to work or to the shops. There are some excellent books now available on exercise, and if you ask around you are likely to find beginner’s walking/running groups, novice swimming lessons, or (like me) you can find someone to teach you to ride a bike.

Getting advice may not be as expensive as you think.  There’s lots of online advice. The important thing is to start by doing more than you’re doing now.

I wouldn’t be any good at it

John Bingham in his excellent book No Need For Speed says:

“It’s … important to understand that where you start isn’t nearly as important as the direction you’re heading.”

The other great thing is that when you first start taking exercise improvement comes much more easily than when you have been taking exercise for a while.

I sweat too much

Contrary to popular belief cotton is not a good fabric for exercise clothing, because it gets wet and stays wet. Invest in some of the modern “wicking fabrics” that move the sweat away from the skin and allow it to evaporate easily. You’re likely to be around other people who are red in the face and sweating to.

One of the few regrets I have about my life is that I didn’t start exercising earlier. I look and feel better and regret that I didn’t start to get that experience earlier in my life.

In case you haven’t got the message, the important thing is to do more than you’re doing now, and keep doing it. Make a date with a happier, healthier you.