Fiddle Fit Middle

Become the star of your own fitness story

Fiddle Fit Middle

Become the star of your own fitness story

50 reasons for not exercising

There are a myriad of reasons for not exercising. Chances are that your facing more than 1 of them at any given time.
50 reasons you’re not exercising

A familiar story of (lack of) exercise

How familiar is this conundrum to you? You know that exercise is good for your health, but you find yourself faced with any number of reasons for not exercising, beyond walking to the bus stop or taking the dog round the block.

Worse than that, if you find an article telling you that exercise won’t help you lose weight - only diet will- you gladly find in it a reason not to do any.  If someone offers you a lift home from work you take it, relieved that you don’t have to trudge back from the bus stop and as for the dog walking - you get the pooch back indoors a soon as you reasonably can.

If reading that makes you start to feel guilty or lazy, it shouldn’t!

Most of us are doing a grand job if we just find a bit of time to get up and do a few body weight exercises or go for a power walk - and then actually get up and do a few body weight exercises or go for a power walk.

Why is that, though? Why should it be that we - many of us otherwise very capable - human beings find it so difficult to do something we know is good for us and so easy to find reasons not to?

Quite often, we’re hearing that we just need to find our motivation, and I wouldn’t argue against that.  

I do think, though, that the word “motivation” covers a multitude of reasons, not all of which are Pollyanna positive.

Mostly, I think, even if you’ve found your ideal form of exercise which you actually love doing, there are still any number of barriers that can stand in your way, both in a general sense and day to day.  

To put my money where my mouth is, I decided to list as many as I could find.

I put my pen down after a round 50.  And I hadn’t even got to “because of the weather”.  

Half of these barriers are the kind that stop you fully resolving to do exercise and planning for it.  

The other half are the kind of barrier that can easily convince you not to exercise today and leave it for tomorrow/the weekend/January.

25 general reasons for not exercising

Here’s my list of barriers we face when we try to get up the resolve to put together a plan and build a habit

  1. Being scared of going out on your own in the dark
  2. The constant pushing of supplements as essential to fitness
  3. The constant pushing of restrictive eating plans as essential to fitness
  4. The constant portrayal of people taking part in exercise as good at sports
  5. The dull, depressing, authoritarian language of public health campaigns which just make you want to push back
  6. The unattainable images in advertising of fitness services and products
  7. The airbrushing, tummy sucking and pouting in after picture posing
  8. Always feeling like an outsider
  9. Having 101 things you feel you have to prioritise
  10. Calories in, calories out is the only things that matters, calories in calories out doesn’t matter, calories in, calories out is dangerous, calories in, calories out is the only thing that matters.  And so on.
  11. Carbs are good, carbs aren’t important, carbs are bad, carbs are good
  12. Because keto.
  13. Encouragement of over optimistic estimate on the effect exercise has on your body
  14. Doomsayers telling you exercise doesn’t have a positive effect, simply because it might not result in weight loss
  15. Believing that making time to look after yourself is selfish
  16. Not being able to think of something you’ll actually enjoy doing
  17. Worrying about what your friends and family will think of you if you start exercising
  18. Worrying about what your friends and family will think of you if you give up once you’ve started
  19. Having so much to think about and juggle from day to day that you just don’t have the headspace to plan for exercise
  20. Memories of always being picked second last for teams in PE lessons at school
  21. You have an underlying health condition
  22. Psychological damage inflicted by school PE teachers who let their favourites pick teams and sent everyone out on the same cross country run
  23. Having unrealistic expectations of what you should be aiming for
  24. Thinking you’re too old to be getting fitter
  25. Not believing in yourself
It is no wonder that people who know full well that exercise is good for them groan, pull the cover over their heads or reach for the wine bottle whenever it’s mentioned?

25 specific reasons for not exercising

So, then, those are the high level reasons we’re not exercising. What about the specific, day-to-day reasons that mean we say to ourselves: “Not today. Maybe tomorrow”?

  1. Being scared of going out on your own in the dark
  2. Being bewildered by wearable tech and not quite understanding you your Fitbit works yet
  3. Feeling clumsy
  4. Feeling like an outsider
  5. Feeling anxious
  6. Finding childcare
  7. Caring responsibilities in general
  8. Having to go to work
  9. Having a really long commute which leaves you shattered when you get to your destination
  10. Having a commute that’s just short enough to cycle but not wanting to put your life on the line twice a day in traffic
  11. You do shift work
  12. No shower or changing facilities at work
  13. Being able to afford a good sports bra and suitable shoes
  14. Being bewildered by the amount of kit available to buy and bamboozled by the terminology
  15. Worrying what other people think when they see you exercise
  16. Not trusting yourself to be able to do it
  17. Not wanting to do one lap of the park while all the other runners do at least 2.
  18. Setting a goal that’s too ambitious because a suitable goal seems too puny (the Just Do It crowd get extra side-eye from me for making you feel this way)
  19. Feeling under the weather on days when you can get childcare and you don’t have to go to work
  20. Being confused by all the conflicting advice on what exercise you should do and why it’s good for you
  21. You really don’t like the feeling of being out of breath
  22. Having a hard time storing your kit so it’s easy to find when you need it.  
  23. Always finding your kit in the laundry basket, smelling of sweat
  24. You have an underlying health condition
  25. Not trusting yourself to know whether you’ve fully recovered from an illness or injury

Why the barriers are so hard to get over

Now, any one of these in isolation looks a bit pathetic, and anyone trying to convince us to exercise wouldn’t find it difficult to parry them one by one. 

Having a hard time storing your kit so it’s easy to find when you need it?  Take a few minutes to think about a storage system! 

Worrying what your friends and family will think if you start exercise? Surprise them! 

Confused by what you should eat and when before you exercise? Read this!

And yes, if each of us only ever had to deal with 1 single barrier at a time, we could probably focus on it and get over it, given time.

However.

Not for one second does any of us only face one single barrier to getting exercise.  Knock one of them on the head, and another pops up. I’ve just been through this list and I’ve found 2 that still constantly come up in my life, even though I’m not too awful at getting exercise and I have managed to find a way of moving most of the others out of my way most of the time.  From the second list, I face 5 on any given day.  So that’s 7 of these barriers I’m often dealing with on a low level all the time.  

At other times in my life, I’ve had a lot more of them to deal with and guess what? I didn’t exercise!

And the volume isn’t all.  Quite a lot of these are linked together, just heaping one thing on top of another and making them worse.  So if you’re kit’s always in the wash, it’s probably because work and commuting are so tiring you don’t have time to think - especially once you’ve attended to your caring responsibilities.  Dealing with these requires big changes to lifestyle and mental health and often needs support from family, friends and professionals.

Need I go on? It is no wonder that people who know full well that exercise is good for them groan, pull the cover over their heads or reach for the wine bottle whenever it’s mentioned?

It’s so depressing to know that exercise would probably make you feel great if you got up and did it, but there are so many things on the path in front of you.  

Hopefully, recognising the barriers that stand in your way like this comes as a relief to you.  You’re not alone and it’s not somehow weak to be giving in to them.

But without those huge changes to lifestyle and mental health or enough cash to seek professional help, is there anything we can do?

Let’s turn the tables

I do have a suggestion; celebrate what we do get to do.  Acknowledge what we’ve achieved if we just go out for a brisk walk?  Or even if we refuse that lift home and walk from the bus stop?  Or carry on walking the dog for a bit longer?

I look at what I’ve just written in the last paragraph and I know it can read… snowflakey.  

I also know you’ve probably heard something similar before. If your PE teacher at school actually liked children, then you probably have.

But that doesn’t take account of the full back story of your life.  I know that if I go back and reread all those barriers that it is anything but precious.  It’s true.  Going for a long walk, doing a full set of body weight resistance exercises; that’s hurdling 50+ barriers.  Establishing a regular exercise habit, even if it is just a walk around the garden is answering 50+ challenges.

Even if the weather’s nice.


Kate

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I take your health and wellbeing very seriously, so this comes from the heart - it's not just covering my backside legally: I'm not a mental or physical health professional of any kind, as I stress in my disclaimer. If you have any doubts about the state of your health, please get an appointment with an appropriate professional. Here's to your best possible health!

Welcome

Me biting a medal
A few years ago, I got scared that I won't be able to tie my own shoelaces when I’m 70, so I started to work on my fitness.

All the advice I found made me feel I was on the outside looking in. I needed something a lot more me-centric.

Now I feel I have more control and hope for the future.

I’m sharing what I’ve learned so that you can star in your own fitness story.
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Lack of confidence holding you back?

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