When it comes to the question of why people don’t exercise, answers can get very creative. Popular choices include “I can’t find the time” and “I don’t need to exercise,” but there are so many more. Here is a partial list of excuses, and how to knock out each one.


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Who among us doesn’t know the variety of excuses for which you “can’t”/”not right now”/”shouldn’t,” and mostly “I don’t have the time to” exercise? We all know how important exercise can be for our weight and general health. So in honor of those still waiting for a chance to get moving, we’re presenting the most familiar and prominent excuses for avoiding exercise – and tips on how to get past them.

Excuse #1

“I’m so out of shape, I don’t even know where to begin.”

Solution: An old Chinese proverb (credited to Confucius) states: “even a thousand mile journey starts with one step.” It seems that the original intent wasn’t exercising in particular, but the saying fits our topic. Start walking once or twice a week for a short distance and increase it as well as your pace, gradually and patiently.

If you feel you need professional guidance to build an organized training plan, try booking a personal trainer for one or two sessions.

Excuse #2

“I don’t like fitness centers.”

Solution: If the fitness center is too crowded for your taste, or maybe the loud music isn’t to your liking, there are plenty of efficient options for exercising outside the fitness center. It can be a calm, quiet class in a community center or a studio near your house, or you can just work out independently in your home and/or at a neighborhood park.

Excuse #3

“I’m too tired – I can barely get off the sofa.”

Solution: That’s just it: when your fitness level is low, you’re low on strength, which translates to a feeling of low energy. Physical activity is a natural energy pill that, once you really get started with it, increases motivation and diligence as well as your mood – and will get you off the sofa.

The trick is to get started slowly, and work your way up gradually – in intensity, time, and frequency. As you feel the growing reward of being physically stronger, your desire to exercise will also get stronger.

Excuse #4

“I hate working out.”

Solution: It is possible you haven’t found the exercise that is the perfect match for you. Strenuous activities such as spinning and weight lifting, for example, aren’t for everyone. What is wrong with swimming, waterobics, dancing, yoga, and many other possibilities? One of those is sure to fit you.

Excuse #5:

“It’s too hard.”

Solution: Success here has everything to do with the process of turning exercise into a habit, the hardest part is mainly the beginning. Experience shows that you can see results after only one month of training, especially in an improved sense of energy and an overall better mood. Those who persist turn the activity into a habit within only a number of months. After that, you just won’t want to stop.

Excuse #6:

“I’ve never exercised, and now it’s too late to start.”

Solution: It’s never ever too late to start, unless you’re medically restricted from doing any physical activity. You can and you should exercise at any age, and there are options for staying active even with limitations due to certain conditions, including pain. In special cases, it is recommended to consult a fitness specialist (in addition to your healthcare provider, of course) at least once to ensure you benefit without injury.

Excuse #7:

“I don’t have the time.”

Solution: Experts recommend an exercise session of at least 30 minutes, preferably every day. However, it isn’t mandatory to do it all at once. You can split the exercise into 10 minute segments each, if that is what will get you moving. Even this has a positive proven effect on fitness and general health.

Take advantage of moments you can steal: go for a short stroll during your afternoon break, pass on going up the elevator in favor of the stairs, walk the treadmill, ‘spin,’ or just walk or run in place while watching television. Don’t forget to add a few power drills (sit-ups, push-ups, etc.) and two to three stretching exercises. It will all add up to the recommended 30 minute daily workout, and the cross-training will boost the benefits.

Getting past the excuses:

How to start?
Start exercising once or twice a week for a short amount of time, and increase that as well as your intensity and frequency, gradually and patiently. The goal: at least 30 minutes per day, at least six days per week.

How to persist?
 Start feeling or even seeing the benefits, and you won’t want to stop. Experience proves that the initial results start to show after the first month of training, especially by the improved amounts of energy – not to mention endurance during the exercise itself – and in the overall mood.

While exercise can dramatically improve your weight loss and help you feel better, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. It all begins with the food you eat.

Learn the foods to never eat by clicking here.

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    • Hi, Stubbings. You can see exercise video clips in the “8-Week Plan” (access through the “Tools” link in the toolbar near the top of each site page) at the ends of the pages for Weeks 1, 3, 5, and 7. If you are interested in other videos, please do repost here, and I will get back to you.

  1. Why are the fitness videos so difficult to find!!! I enjoyed doing the Meghan Lee low cardio workout, but every time I log in… it takes forever to find that exact one!! Why aren’t they all located under one tab, that way we can choose which one we want to do at any particular time… Please.

  2. Hi there,

    I have no excuse to not exercise. I use to exercise a lot when I was younger. I now have set up a home gym of sorts and I definitely understand most of what I should do. I also have a gym right in my workplace. I just can’t get motivated…help

  3. Don’t need excuses not to exercise. I go to the local Vibrogym 3 times a week and love it. Added to this, the friendly women I’ve met there and the coach have added a lot of pleasure to my life as I live alone and am aged 81. I feel in my second childhood. I walk as much as possible, and drink plenty of water. My downfall are sweets, crisps, cakes, etc., which my coach has been warning me about for some time. I hope my New Year’s resolution and Trimdown Club help will succeed in1914 .

  4. I can relate to many of the ‘excuses’. When I was young I was a fat kid. When I was a young adult with a young family I was trim and fit, then I was diagnosed with emphysema. Since then, Asthma, disintegrating lumbar discs and osteoporosis, all of which I am being treated for and now have under control but my weight went up. I can’t lift weights like I used to; or jog or do the strenuous stuff. I have found a much better way. I have discovered Tai Chi. It looks so simple I thought it would be good for me and not leave me in pain. I was amazed at the workout it gives you with no pain (well, maybe a few sore muscles the next day). I walk down stairs but my asthma keeps me from walking up so I do wall push-ups in the elevator – can usually get in between 10 to 15 for 3 floors). I also walk about 1-1.5k every lunch hour. I am fortunate that my organization has a sports centre complete with track, indoor soccer fields, basketball courts, 3 levels of fitness rooms and lots of room for Yoga, Zumba and Tai Chi. I am 69 yrs. old and really enjoying this time of my life. I plan to hit 100 yrs. and my goal is to lose 30 pounds (8 of which are now gone). So don’t get discouraged – there is always something you can do – even if it is only walking. And don’t forget to swing your arms for the upper body. Great going, gals!

  5. Being around discouraging or negative people could really bring you down. My friends at work were always teasing me with unhealthy food when I’d rather take a 30 mins walk during my one hour break. Now, one of those friends has lost 30 pounds and confessed she was envious of me when I lost 25 pounds last year. Now, she’s my workout partner during breaks! Never give up when you have worked so hard to achieve your weight lost goal. Don’t make my mistake because now I’m struggling to lose 10 pounds I gained again!!!!!

  6. I would appreciate creative solutions when you have some of these chronic disabilities. I have used dvd’s that are for older people, but they sometimes are so slow. Does anyone have a good dvd for elderly and not so healthy people?

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