Tips for Overcoming Obstacles to Physical Activity

by The Cooperative
Regular physical activity is one of the best things we can do for our overall health. Making physical activity a priority in our lives can be hard to do, and many obstacles could stand in our way when trying to fit more activities into our routine. The good news is, with a bit of planning and consideration, you can overcome those obstacles! Here are some strategies to overcome typical barriers you may face when trying to add more movement to your day.
Lack of Time
  • Monitor your daily activities for one week and identify times that could be used for physical activity. For example, extra screen time could be shifted to movement instead. Then you can keep track of your physical activity using a tracker like this.
  • Plan ahead. We plan many other things in our lives, so why not do the same with activity? Write down the activity you want to do at a specific time in a calendar or planner. Keep the appointment with yourself.
  • Add activity into the time that you have available. Do you only have 10 minutes? Try walking, taking the stairs, or doing simple bodyweight exercises such as squats or push-ups to energize yourself!
  • Take advantage of your work-provided physical activity facilities or programs. If possible, walk during meetings and conference calls. Try standing, stretching, or pacing during phone calls.
  • Consider trading babysitting time with a friend, neighbor, or another family who also has small children so you can both make time for exercise. Family walks or bike rides could also be physical activity options as children get older.
Social Support
  • Share your interest and goals about physical activity with friends and family. Ask them to support your efforts.
  • Invite your family and friends to exercise with you or plan social activities that include exercise.
  • Join a gym or group (in-person or virtual) such as the YMCA or hiking or biking club. Surrounding yourself with others who have similar interests can increase your motivation and accountability. 
Lack of Energy
  • Plan your physical activity for a time of day when you have the most energy.
  • Remember that giving physical activity a chance will increase your energy level and mental focus.
Lack of Motivation
  • Similar to when you are short on time, plan! Write physical activity into your upcoming week and stick to it.
  • Invite a friend to exercise with you regularly, whether in person or virtually.
  • Join an exercise group, class, or exercise facility. This will help you set time aside specifically for exercise without interruption.
  • Incorporate different types of activity to keep a variety.
  • Choose exercises that you love! If you don’t love it, you won’t stick with it long-term.
Fear of Injury
  • Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury.
  • If you aren’t coordinated or are nervous to start something new, skip the dance classes and sports leagues and stick to something you are comfortable with. Walking, climbing stairs or biking may be better options.
  • Modify exercises to accommodate your skill level. For example, getting up and sitting down in a chair can be a modified movement if a full squat is too challenging.
  • Choose activities you feel you can do safely, and increase the amount you do gradually as your confidence and abilities grow.
  • Ask a health professional what physical activities are suitable for your age, fitness level, skill level, and health.
Any and all of these strategies can be used to combat inactivity. Get out and get started today!
Written by: Coach Sarah

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