• Top Ten Excuses for Not Exercising (With Solutions!)


    As a fitness enthusiast I hear a lot of reasons excuses for not exercising from people who aren’t as interested in physical activity as I am. These are the top ten along with ways to work around the problem.

    Excuse #1: I don’t have time.

    This is probably the number one reason I hear people say they don’t work out and frankly, I have to call bullshit. There is always time to work out. Everyone gets the same twenty four hours in a day. It’s a matter of making your health and fitness a priority. Here are three stellar times of day to work out:

    1. In the morning. Get up early before your obligations for the day take over.
    2. In the afternoon/evening. Work out after you’re done for the day.
    3. Lunch time. Before you discount this one, know that it’s totally possible. I did it for over two years. Pack a gym bag with deodorant and some wet wipes and you’ll be fine. Bonus: This is motivation to bring a healthy lunch to eat at your desk afterwards.

    Still can’t find time? Break up your workout into three or four 10 minute intervals throughout the day.

    Responsible for kids all day? Take them with you. Kids need exercise, too.

    Point is, make time. Your health is worth it.

    Excuse #2: Working out is boring.

    Everyone likes different activities. I happen to like running, but if this isn’t your bag then do something else. Go for a walk. Dance around your living room to your favorite music. Swim laps at your local swimming pool. Climb a rock wall. Just move. Working out doesn’t have to be boring.

    Excuse #3: My [pick a body part] hurts.

    Look, I’m not a medical expert, but unless we’re talking about a serious injury like paralysis from the neck down or your doctor has expressly forbidden you from doing anything, this excuse is bullshit, too.

    A friend of mine had a spinal injury after having her first child. She was paralyzed for months and had to learn to walk again. Now she walks five miles every day.

    Another friend has metal pins and screws holding her ankle together. On good days she can walk, but running is out of her reach. So what does she do? Pilates and yoga.

    As for myself, what do I know about working out under less than ideal health circumstances? I logged more than 260 running and walking miles during cancer treatment.

    So, yeah. There is always something you can do.

    Excuse #4: I’m already too far gone. Or, alternately, I need to lose some weight first.

    I hate hearing when someone has given up. That’s what this is. Giving up. If you know you’re overweight and living an unhealthy lifestyle what more perfect reason could you ask for to start working out?

    You’re not too far gone. You know how I know that? Because you’re not dead. Dead is too far gone.

    If you’re still breathing you can still do something. So get moving.

    Excuse #5: I’m fine the way I am.

    If you like the way you look, awesome! I’m not going to bash someone for having a healthy sense of self-esteem. I sing with Meghan Trainor in the car, too. I sincerely hope you do know you’re beautiful and that the size of your jeans does not determine your worth as a person.

    Here’s where I have a problem with this statement: If you’re using self-esteem as a smokescreen so you don’t have to be active then that’s not self-esteem talking. We can all do better at something. We can all strive to be the best possible version of ourselves. Never stop trying to be better than you were yesterday.

    Excuse #6: I’m embarrassed by/ intimidated of the already-fit people.

    I know you might not believe me, but I understand this one perfectly. The thing is, so does everyone else in the gym. We understand because we all had to start somewhere too.

    When I started running I was so embarrassed I only ran on the treadmill in my garage. When I got tired of the treadmill and started running outside I’d only run in the early hours of the morning when it was still too dark outside for anyone to see me. Eventually I realized no one cared what I looked like.

    Now when I see someone obviously struggling with their weight out running or at a gym I mentally cheer them on because I know how much courage it took for them to be there.

    And, keep in mind, if anyone is judging you for how you look those are the douchebags no one likes anyway.

    Excuse #7: I’m too tired to work out.

    Working out on a regular basis gives you more energy. The runners high is real. So is the high you get from pretty much any work out. That high has a name: Endorphins. And once you realize how freaking awesome they are, you won’t ever want to miss a work out again.

    Excuse #8: I don’t like to get sweaty.

    I personally love getting sweaty and disgusting. I’m happiest when my glasses are fogged over, sweat is dripping off my face and my shirt is soaked. Not everyone likes this though. If you’re sweat averse try a lower impact activity. Yoga or pilates are great work outs. Work out in front of a fan or in an air conditioned room (or both!). Swimming is great for anyone who doesn’t like being sweaty. You’re already wet, so no one can tell anyway!

    Excuse #9: I’m not motivated.

    If I waited to be motivated I’d never work out either. Starting is the hardest part and even I have to trick myself into working out some days. Here are some mental tricks to get you going (mix and match as needed):

    • Get ready. If you work out in the morning, put your workout clothes on as soon as you wake up. It’s a whole lot easier to work out when you’re ready for it.
    • Make a deal. Some days I make deals with myself. My favorite deal is Give it ten. I give my workout ten minutes. If after ten minutes I still don’t want to work out then I’ll quit and try again the next day. In the last six years I’ve quit a handful of times, usually because I was sick or needed the rest. Most of the time I just keep going and finish the work out.
    • Change the work out. Some days I don’t want to do what’s on my schedule. I’m bored or distracted. On days like this I’ll just do something else. Walk or bike, for instance, instead of run.

    Motivation is fleeting. Don’t rely on it to get you moving.

    Excuse #10: Gym memberships are too expensive.

    I’m going to tell you a secret.

    *leans in, whispers* I don’t have a gym membership.

    I have in the past and I loved it. Gyms are awesome for all kinds of reasons, but they aren’t necessary. Right now the world is my gym. I have some free weights at home that I use with strength training videos (either purchased DVDs or free YouTube videos) and I have a pair of running shoes. I don’t need anything else. If you’re waiting until you can afford a gym membership to work out you’re missing out on a lot of good stuff that happens outside a gym.

    So, want to go work out now? *wink*



    What excuses do you hear (or use!) to avoid working out? How did you overcome them? I love comments! Don’t want to leave a comment? Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.

4 Responsesso far.

  1. Liz says:

    “If you’re still breathing you can still do something.” YES. And it’s true for *everything*.

  2. Tina Gower says:

    I second the “dead is too far gone” line. Love it 🙂 When I don’t walk/do some exercises and stretches, I feel my anxiety kicking in. Another benefit to getting started if someone suffers from anxiety or depression. In fact exercise has been shown to help and lessen the effects of a number of ailments.

  3. Chrystal T says:

    I LOVE this! I’m totally sharing!!!

  4. Mom says:

    I go to physical therapy three times a week and do the exercises on the days I don’t have physical therapy. I learn something new at pt when I go there. My goal is to walk all by myself. No cane; no walker. Just my two legs. I’m getting there but I’m still on the cane. It’s not as easy as it was last time with the cane. I may be too cautious of my legs each having artificial hips and things like that. I’ll get over it the more I exercise my legs. It ain’t easy this time but I will get there! Love ya, Mom

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