Recognizing Excuses to Avoid Exercise and How to Overcome Them

From time to time, we all encounter hurdles that interfere with our ability to exercise. Unexpected illnesses, poor weather, work distractions, and scheduling conflicts can create barriers keeping us from the gym.

Recognizing these as minor setbacks—and not recurrent excuses—is an important part of any health and fitness program. Here’s help for getting back on track after an exercise setback.

I Can’t Exercise Because I’m Sick

It’s true you shouldn’t exercise if you are honestly ill. Fever, body aches, or other serious signs of infection should not be aggravated by working out. Your fellow gym members will appreciate you keeping germs out of the facility, as well. However, if you find you are suffering from more colds than usual, perhaps it’s worth investigating other lifestyle issues and adjusting those factors first, to help keep you in optimum attitude and health. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating a healthy, well balanced diet? Have you asked your doctor about vitamins and supplements? Are you under significant stress?

I Can’t Run Because the Weather is Undesirable

Where I live, summer brings impressive weather. Thunderstorms, lightning, and winds strong enough to carry away small children are not to be taken lightly. I admit I do not enjoy running in the rain, but as long as there isn’t the threat of lightning, I know I am not going to melt. Take an honest inventory of the elements before determining your tolerance. I try to gauge somewhere between “crazy and lazy”: it would be crazy to run in a lightning storm, but lazy to stay in bed, so hitting the treadmill is most often the compromise.

I am Buried at Work—I Can’t Possibly Get to the Gym

There is no doubt work requires a great amount of our time. Balancing career obligations, family commitments, and social outlets is no easy feat. We are spread thinner than ever with our schedules these days, but health is a priority. Look into corporate gym memberships or see if your building has a community gym. Steal away for a quick walk on your lunch hour and then eat lunch at your desk when you return. There are a number of creative ways you can still sneak in even thirty minutes of exercise, even if it means closing your office door at lunch and practicing some yoga on the floor.

My Kids’ Schedules are Hectic—There is No Time to Workout

Everyday I run around like a madwoman trying to get my kids to their various sports and activities, so I can honestly relate to this dilemma. I have had to make peace with the 3:30 am wakeup call. While this may still constitute the above “crazy” factor for many people (and I am not dismissing the notion), getting up before the sun is often the only way I can get my workout done. Once the day begins, it is school work, trips to the doctor, art co-ops, gymnastic classes, piano lessons, and swim team at a pool that requires sixty minutes of commute time. Getting up early does make for a longer day, but the tradeoff is feeling better equipped heading into the chaos. One option is keeping a pair of running shoes and a stash of gym clothes in the back of your car; you may just be able to grab a run while the kids are in piano lessons.

Experiencing periodic setbacks from exercising is the reality of being a busy parent in today’s world. It is when those infrequent occurrences become staple excuses that your fitness will suffer. Share with us, some of your own tips for how you avoid missing your workout?