4 of the biggest barriers to exercise – and how to beat them
Hitting a slump with your exercise routine is totally normal. By the time we finish work, we’re tired, thinking about dinner and frankly, just feeling too lazy to go fire up our workout motivation.
But I think by now we all know that once we stop working out, we actually end up feeling more tired, rather than energized from resting our bodies. With so many of us now working from home, we’re mostly living a fairly sedentary lifestyle. Trying to get back into the routine, but once we stop working out can be really tough, so we decided to identify the main barriers to working out and how to overcome them. Sometimes all we need is a little switch up to get us back to where we need to be!
Lack of time
We’ve all been there. Our routines can get a little too crowded with making our food, getting our work done, having our rest time, ticking off our to-do list and sometimes, because exercise is generally an enjoyable event, it ends up at the bottom of our priorities.
Exercise and well-being should always be a top priority for us. Work and jobs and errands will always seem like the most urgent thing, but we have to make time for ourselves and our bodies and exercise is one of the best ways to do that. Burnout isn’t just caused by mental stress – not taking care of our bodies can also lead to us being stuck in a rut.
I could say it’s about priorities and something along the lines of ‘we all have the same 24 hours in a day’ – but we don’t. Some of us simply have more going on than others. If that’s the case for you, I’d say it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. If you can only spare 20-25 minutes for the gym a couple of times a week, that’s still great. It’s better than not going at all just because you can’t swing an hour long session every couple of days.
Whether that’s to family, friends, roommates or your S.O., we feel the need to be there for them. This barrier links up to the time barrier and what tings in your life your prioritising. And of course, relationships should be a priority. We want to be there for our call with our parents, to have dinner with friends, to be there when your roommates freaking out about their next exam.
But sometimes you have to set a boundary. If your boyfriend wants to hang out constantly, your roommate is relying solely on you for all their emotional support, your friends always want to meet up – it can be too much for any one person. You don’t get to put our own needs first, meaning you don’t get to have the exercise schedule or ‘me time’ that you need. It’s important to guard that time and space you require and to say no sometimes. It doesn’t have to be an argument or cutting off the relationship entirely – it can be a simple conversation about how you have your own needs that require time as well as wanting to be there for them. Any friend who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand that your time is just as valuable as theirs.
Like we said above, this can be a bit of a chicken and egg situation – the less you exercise the less energy you have, the less energy you have, the less you want to exercise – over and over into an endless cycle where you lose all motivation completely!
There are a few mental and physical hacks you can try to combat this energy slump. Firstly, make a great playlist. Music and emotions go hand in hand. So next time you find yourself slumped on the couch dreading the moment you have to get up to exercise, pop on your ready-made playlist of bangers and it will be an instant mood lift and motivator! Another important motivator is to actually enjoy your workouts – the point of exercise is to enjoy it! It boosts our energy, makes us feel good and can be a great way to feel you’ve accomplished something! There are so many online workouts that there’s simply no excuse to settle for something that doesn’t suit you. Drop that boring treadmill hour and replace it with some Zumba, some peppy pilates or a circuit workout that will really get your blood pumping!
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Lack of confidence
It can be a daunting thing to enter a space like the gym that’s full of people who seem to have everything together, with their matching gym sets and knowing exactly what each machine does and ow to use it. It’s a very physical space and it can feel totally intimidating to enter it if you’re not someone who’s regularly exercising or who feels conscious of their body.
We’ve all been there. But the important thing to remember is that everyone’s relationship with their body and fitness is different and a journey. The girl on the treadmill next to you going at a higher and harder level? She was where you once were at some point. We all have our own insecurities and only an awful person would ever point yours out to you. No one at the gym is ever going to point and laugh despite our worst nightmares of that happening. In reality, everyone is too busy minding their own business and taken up with their own bodies and performances to ever take note of you, so relax and enjoy the benefits of getting your body moving!