Working out When It’s Hard: Tips for Overcoming Exercise Obstacles

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Nigerians urged to exercise regularly The Nation Newspaper
Exercising tips – Photo credit: AzmanJaka

There are many benefits of regular exercise, however, people often have many excuses for not being more physically active. Even if you’re completely dedicated to your fitness plan, sometimes the motivation to workout is hard to find. And if you’ve let exercising by the wayside over the last year (and maybe even put on a couple pounds), then it is definitely the last thing you want to do. After all, the dishes in the sink are piling up and you’re behind on your favorite show — excuses are easy to find.

According to a study authored by three scientists- Heon Jin Kang, Chee Keng John Wang and Stephen Francis Burns and published in Human Kinetics Journal, physically inactive and overweight individuals have a variety of perceived barriers to exercise participation. These perceived barriers are physical, psychological, and environmental, making it difficult to devise efficient solutions to address all.

They maintained that it is necessary to use theoretically valid frameworks to address the many apparent impediments. Motivation is one such convincing concept and self-determination may be able to offer a strong theoretical framework for examining the relationships between exercise behavior and perceived exercise barriers.

For those times when you could use a little push, we’ve compiled a list of tips for you to finally overcome those exercise obstacles.

  1. Drink a cup of coffee before your morning workout.
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Jessica Cording, a registered dietician, health coach and author said taking coffee actually makes exercise feel more enjoyable, so you’re more likely to push harder.

The caffeine in a pre-workout cup of Nescafe helps stimulate your central nervous system, so you’ll have a little extra oomph in your indoor cycling or boot camp class. Drink a cup of coffee half an hour before you start sweating to give it time to kick in.

  1. Planning

Another important step to take before you actually dive into a workout routine is to plan out what you want your routine to look like, and how you want to get there. If it’s been awhile since you last worked out, you’ll definitely want to start small.

Doing too much too soon can overwhelm you mentally and a rigorous routine may eventually feel like too much to deal with, which in return makes you feel defeated. Understand that you’re probably not going to be as fit as you were, and that’s OK. You can start with just 10 minutes a day; the goal is just to get moving more.

  1. Don’t get down on yourself
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Remind yourself what a great favour you’re doing for your health, or focus on how much stronger you feel after a workout. If you’re uncomfortable exercising around others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video or an activity-oriented video game. Or consider investing in a stationary bicycle, treadmill, stair-climbing machine or other piece of home exercise equipment.

Praise yourself for making a commitment to your health. And remember that as you become fitter and more comfortable exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.

  1. Make skipping a workout a conscious decision

Often, deciding to skip a workout isn’t really a decision at all: We sleep late and don’t get to the gym or we sit down to rest on the couch when we get home and time gets away from us.

By making it a conscious decision, you’re holding yourself accountable — and making it effort to cancel your workout plans.

Try this trick instead: Put your gym bag and yoga mat on your couch, so that before you sit down to watch TV after work, you have to consciously decide to not exercise, and physically move your workout gear off the couch to sit down.

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Some other ideas are: sleep in your workout clothes or put them on before you leave the office so that you have to choose to take them off without exercising, or leave your sneakers or gym bag sitting somewhere front and center so you have to make the conscious choice to leave them there. Chances are, when you have to exert extra effort to not exercise, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your original plans.

  1. Start your workout with some dynamic stretches.

Dynamic stretches are a core component of pretty much any warm-up. With dynamic stretching, you’ll be moving through different stretches, rather than holding the stretch in place. This gradually raises your body temperature and heart rate and starts to warm up your muscles, priming your body for activity.

A dynamic warm-up also helps improve your range of motion, so you can get deeper into each exercise and reap the full strengthening benefits of each move.

The exact stretches you should perform in your warm-up depend on the type of workout you’ll be doing. Browse through the internet and try any 5-minute warm-up before you run, or a dynamic warm-up to do before a strength-training session begins.

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