If you already are on the receiving end of exercising, and reaping the many benefits, then perhaps this is not the column for you. If, however, you're among the hundreds of exercise procrastinators, read on! Studies show that 60 percent of American adults do not get the recommended amount of physical activity, and 25 percent are not active at all. The excuses for not exercising run rampant. Here are some of the more popular ones:
'I don't have time'
This has always been the No. 1 excuse. It seems we usually find time to do what we really want to do, so basically, this excuse says that exercise is not a priority. Exercise sessions need not be long to receive heart-healthy benefits, and short workouts can help develop the habit of exercising. You might start by keeping a few weights or resistance bands near the television set and using them during commercials; walking and talking while on the phone; and performing three 10-minute cardio movements throughout the day.
'I'm too tired to work out'
Working out actually gives you more energy. Once the "happy endorphins" kick in, you will find your daily energy levels on the rise. Even a 10-minute walk will rev up your circulation and get your blood pumping, boosting your energy.
'I can't afford a gym membership'
You don't need a gym to get fit. Changing intensities while walking or running will give you a great cardio workout, and you can fit it into your schedule whenever and wherever you want. At home, you can move into lower-body strengthening with lunges. Wall pushups will add strength to the upper body. If you have stairs, consider yourself fortunate and take multiple trips. And you can always find different levels of exercise online that you can add to your at-home workouts. Be sure to stretch when you reach the finish line.
'I don't like to sweat'
While some exercisers aim to sweat, much to my surprise there are others who absolutely abhor sweating. Because sweating is our body's normal defense from overheating, perhaps "sweat haters" could opt for swimming, water aerobics or a slow yoga class.
'I'm not seeing any results'
Give your body at least 12 weeks before you rush to judgment. You may have reached the dreaded plateau, where progress seems to have stopped as your body adapted to the much-repeated exercises. If you want to push through the plateau, challenge the muscles by adding more variety to your strength and cardio workouts every three or four weeks. Try mixing up the order of the exercises; work with different intensities; introduce new exercise movements that work multiple muscle groups; and incorporate different styles of training, such as flexibility training, cardio-strength interval training and circuit training.
Fitness is a lifelong investment. Enjoy the journey.
Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but can't respond to individual inquiries. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.