Overcoming Barriers to Exercise

Everyone comes across barriers to exercise in one form or another occasionally. Whether that’s time pressures, a lack of motivation, a feeling of low energy, a lack of confidence in your own ability or any of the myriad other reasons; they’re something that we’ve all experienced.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you overcome some of these barriers to exercise that you may be experiencing to help you live a healthier and, by extension, happier life.

Barriers to Exercise

There are loads of barriers to exercise that you may be experiencing. From a lack of encouragement or support from family and friends to perhaps even the cost putting you off – as well as many more. All are valid reasons to be feeling nervous about starting to exercise, returning to activity after an absence or even continuing to work out regularly. Keep reading to find out how to overcome some of the most common barriers.

Lack of Time

We all lead busy lives and it’s tricky to find the time to exercise sometimes. Whether it’s your job, family life or a combination of the two that’s your barrier to exercise, it’s completely understandable. It’s not, however, insurmountable. Here’s what you can do:

  • Monitor your week and identify available time slots. They’re there, you just have to look for them. Try and find five half-hour slots into which you can fit some sort of exercise.
  • Try and fit physical activity into your daily routine. It’s easier than it sounds. For example, rather than driving to the shop when you need to pick up a couple of bits and pieces, walk or cycle.
  • Maybe you can walk the dog? Are you lucky enough to live close enough to your job that you can walk or bike to work? It all counts.
  • Do activities based on the time you have available. These include walking, climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift or jogging – even if it’s only for a few minutes here and there. Do this several times a week and you’re likely to notice an improvement in both your physical and mental health.

Little Support from Family and Friends

Sometimes, it’s easy to feel a little abandoned by our family and friends if they’re not quite as keen on exercise as we are. We all know exercise is more fun if you can work out with people you know around you – supporting you and helping you reach your goals. But there ways to overcome this particular barrier to exercise.

  • Explain to your family and friends how important this is to you and ask them for support. Whether that’s in the form of moral support and enabling and encouraging you to exercise or joining you, it all helps!
  • To encourage those around you to exercise with you, why not plan social events based around exercise and activity? That way you get to have fun together and get active!
  • Perhaps try and develop new friendships with people who are physically active. Join one of Everyone Active’s gyms and make friends with some of the regulars you see there, some people in your group exercise class, or maybe people you see in the pool regularly.

Lack of Motivation

This is something that affects everyone. We look outside, it’s raining, cold and frankly the sofa just seems much more welcoming than putting the gym gear on and heading out. There are, however, ways to overcome this barrier to exercise. Here’s how you do it:

  • Invite a friend to exercise with you on a regular basis. That way, you’ve always got someone else to help motivate you to get up and get exercising – and vice-versa, of course!
  • Join one of the fantastic array of group exercise classes that you’ll find at your local centre. There’s something for everyone and the group nature of the workout means someone will always miss you if you’re not there – giving you extra motivation to go!
  • Try and plan ahead. By making exercise a regular part of your routine you have to plan your life around it, rather than trying to fit it in around other things.

Don’t have the Resources or Equipment?

A lack of equipment is barrier to exercise for many people. A lot of fitness equipment can be bulky and expensive, so if you don’t have the room to store it, or can’t afford it – or a monthly gym membership – there are alternatives available.

  • If you’re struggling to afford an Everyone Active membership, there are plenty of other ways to get active with us. We offer regular live exercise classes on our social media channels hosted by expert instructors for free, while there’s also our Everyone On Demand digital membership option, which gives you access to hundreds of workouts on your phone, allowing you to exercise at home or while you’re out and about.
  • Give activities that require minimal and relatively inexpensive equipment a go. These include exercises such as walking, running, bodyweight exercises, Yoga and Pilates, all of which can be done at home or out on the streets.

Fear of Injury

Maybe you’ve hurt yourself in the past and are fearful of doing so again, or maybe you’ve heard some horror stories and they’re putting you off? Either way, they’re and entirely reasonable barrier to exercise, but not insurmountable ones. Here are some ideas to help you fight those fears and get active:

  • Learning how to warm up and cool down properly is a must. Without properly preparing your body with stretches and a gentle ramp up and down of your exercise, you’re almost certain to hurt yourself in some way. By doing this properly, you’re much less likely to hurt yourself.
  • Work out in the water. Either try swimming or aqua classes. The water supports the body and reduces the impact on the joints to almost zero, massively reducing the chances of injury. They’re great workouts, too – with the resistance of the water giving you a whole-body strength and cardio workout.
  • Learn how to exercise appropriately to your age and fitness level. If you push yourself too hard, then you’re much more likely to hurt yourself.