The 10 Most Common Exercise Excuses—Squashed!

Jacquelyn Brennan
by Jacquelyn Brennan
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The 10 Most Common Exercise Excuses—Squashed!

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What’s standing in the way of you starting a new exercise routine? Well, usually, it’s you. When you decide to make yourself and your health top priority, getting to the gym or working out in your living room suddenly becomes easier. (You only have one body, so make it the best you can!) Still, little excuses can sneak up on you. Here’s how to squash the 10 I hear most often.

1. “I don’t have time.” Make time. Schedule it and make it a priority. Plan ahead and put it on your calendar as an event that can’t be missed. Don’t have an hour? No worries—it only takes 10 minutes to make a difference. Try to do 10 minutes of exercise 2 to 3 times per day.

2. “Classes and gym memberships are too expensive.” There is no need for a gym! There are so many outlets for no-equipment workouts—check out the FitStar app or visit Grokker for great, online workout videos. And when the weather is nice, take your workout outside. Check out Pinterest for ideas and create a board of workouts to keep things fresh, or try my do-anywhere workout.

3. “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Hire a personal trainer for one or two sessions to learn proper form, and get an exercise sequence you can go through on your own. Lots of gyms and boutique studios have new member specials that make it very affordable to give private instruction a try.

4. “I’m too out of shape.” This is a tough one. It can be hard when you feel too out of shape to attend a class or hit the gym. Try going at off-peak hours when the gym might not be as crowded, or ask a supportive, motivating friend to join you. Exercising not only improves your overall fitness, it boosts your confidence, too. Plus, you have to start somewhere!

5. “I can’t commit.” Sign up and pre-pay for classes. When you register, you’ve made the commitment, and not going means you’ll probably lose what you paid for. No one wants to lose money! And when you make a commitment to a weekly class, the teacher will get to know you and she’ll notice when you’ve gone missing.

6. “I don’t like exercising.” Exercise can be FUN! There is a workout format for everyone. Try out new and different activities until you find your match—group classes, semi-private, one on one, indoor, outdoor, the options are endless. If you enjoyed dance classes as a kid, give Barre or Zumba a try. If you were into competitive sports, CrossFit may give you that sense of team camaraderie you’re craving. Not into monotony? Look for boot camp or HIIT classes—they’re constantly changing it up.

7. “I lack motivation.” Sign up for a race or an event. Having a goal to train towards will push you to stay consistent. Training with a friend or group is another great way to stay motivated and consistent.

8. “I’m too tired.” You might be feeling tired or lethargic due to a lack of movement in your life. It’s true—exercise releases endorphins, increases energy, and elevates your overall mood. Even just a little activity promotes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your tissue and helps your heart work more efficiently. Which means, getting in a good sweat session might be exactly what you need!

9. “I look good enough.” Exercising is not just about aesthetics. Yes, getting fit can give you a toned physique, but the benefits of exercise go way beyond a tight body. Exercise reduces stress, improve your cardiovascular health, improve your mood, sleep better, and feel better. Even if you look “good enough” you can always feel better!

10. “I’m too old.” There is no such thing as too old to exercise. In fact, exercise keeps you youthful and mobile! No matter your age or physical condition, there is an appropriate workout for you. As we age weight-bearing exercises become super important to maintain bone mass, making modified strength training ideal. Other moderate activities, such as water aerobics or yoga, can feel really good on stiff, achy joints. Another good option: walking—it’s fairly low impact, but still creates healthy stress on the bones. And don’t forget Pilates! It can be modified to fit the needs of all generations.

About the Author

Jacquelyn Brennan
Jacquelyn Brennan

Jacquelyn Brennan is a health and wellness expert who shares her knowledge daily at Fitsouffle. She holds a degree in kinesiology, and currently teaches Pilates, group exercise, and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Jacquelyn loves inspiring others to get moving, stay healthy, eat well, and learn how to exercise effectively.

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56 responses to “The 10 Most Common Exercise Excuses—Squashed!”

  1. Avatar gaby hernandez says:

    you forgot to mention actual health risks of attending a gym. those are filthy, filthy places. the main reason why i hate the idea of exercising there is being surrounding by surfaces that grow germs like crazy. week!!

  2. Avatar gaby hernandez says:

    you forgot to mention actual health risks of attending a gym. those are filthy, filthy places. the main reason why i hate the idea of exercising there is being surrounding by surfaces that grow germs like crazy. week!!

  3. Avatar gaby hernandez says:

    you forgot to mention actual health risks of attending a gym. those are filthy, filthy places. the main reason why i hate the idea of exercising there is being surrounding by surfaces that grow germs like crazy. week!!

  4. Avatar Ashlynn says:

    I enjoy exercises where I am seeing new scenery (biking, running, etc) but during the winter it’s far too cold where I live. Do you guys have any advice for wintertime exercises that are interesting?! I hate being in a gym or in classes so in the winter it really inhibits my want to exercise. Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar iowan56 says:

      I do alot of cross country skiing, its fairly easy to learn plus it can be alot of fun! The only problem I run into is a lack of snow…

    • Avatar clg says:

      I really hate walking/running where it’s uninteresting…but I found a treadmill is actually really helpful. Boring as hell to be travelling in one place…but you can turn on the TV and stay stimulated that way!

  5. Avatar Ashlynn says:

    I enjoy exercises where I am seeing new scenery (biking, running, etc) but during the winter it’s far too cold where I live. Do you guys have any advice for wintertime exercises that are interesting?! I hate being in a gym or in classes so in the winter it really inhibits my want to exercise. Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar Riri says:

      What I do is – I have a couple of Jillian Michaels’ and Shaun T’s DVDs. I use those to exercise in my living room. The routines can get a bit dull, so I mute their voices and blast great Music that I enjoy. It’s sort of my exercise/de-stress moment. I think if you try it, you might get into it and really start enjoying exercising indoors. Good luck.

    • Avatar Riri says:

      What I do is – I have a couple of Jillian Michaels’ and Shaun T’s DVDs. I use those to exercise in my living room. The routines can get a bit dull, so I mute their voices and blast great Music that I enjoy. It’s sort of my exercise/de-stress moment. I think if you try it, you might get into it and really start enjoying exercising indoors. Good luck.

    • Avatar jofjltncb6 says:

      I found it was much easier to continue exercising outside during the winter when I had appropriate exercise attire specifically for this purpose. At the very least, it extends how far into late fall/early spring you can continue exercising outdoors.

  6. Avatar Misskitty9000 says:

    Sorry, but I agree with Gaby on this one. I HAD a membership with the Y and was swimming, using the gym. One day the lifeguard had to clear the pool because someone had pooped in it. Imagine all those people, sweating, and possibly urinating in the water. Disgusting. Never again will I use a public pool.

  7. Avatar Misskitty9000 says:

    Sorry, but I agree with Gaby on this one. I HAD a membership with the Y and was swimming, using the gym. One day the lifeguard had to clear the pool because someone had pooped in it. Imagine all those people, sweating, and possibly urinating in the water. Disgusting. Never again will I use a public pool.

  8. Avatar Eileen says:

    I have a problem with pain and other health problems. I used to walk 3 miles a day and now I’ve got neuromas and arthritis in my toes and ankle. I’ve got sciatica and fibromyalgia. My ulnar nerves (elbows) are messed up from repetitive motion. I live 30 miles from a gym. This sounds like complaining, but it’s just a list of things to overcome. I love competition and miss playing badminton…any ideas for me?

    • Avatar RogueRebel says:

      Have you looked at online classes? I have a subscription to Les Mills online video classes and most of them can be done at home with no equipment, they do one called BodyBalance and Bodyflow which is a gentle exercise to help flexibility strength and relaxation. It has a free trial and might be easy on your painful areas.

  9. Avatar Eileen says:

    I have a problem with pain and other health problems. I used to walk 3 miles a day and now I’ve got neuromas and arthritis in my toes and ankle. I’ve got sciatica and fibromyalgia. My ulnar nerves (elbows) are messed up from repetitive motion. I live 30 miles from a gym. This sounds like complaining, but it’s just a list of things to overcome. I love competition and miss playing badminton…any ideas for me?

  10. Avatar Guest says:

    I would love to get back into daily walks and runs however I have a torn
    meniscus in my left knee and a broken collar bone on my right side.
    (Surgeon is going to have to go back into collar bone and take out the
    broken screws but I have to wait a minimum of 9 months since original
    surgery to have the screws and plate taken out and I am currently
    waiting for an MRI on the knee) I have recently started swimming now
    that our pool is open for the season but I can hardly walk more than
    half a block before my knee pain starts. What exercises can I do that
    will not put strain on either area?

  11. Avatar Guest says:

    I would love to get back into daily walks and runs however I have a torn
    meniscus in my left knee and a broken collar bone on my right side.
    (Surgeon is going to have to go back into collar bone and take out the
    broken screws but I have to wait a minimum of 9 months since original
    surgery to have the screws and plate taken out and I am currently
    waiting for an MRI on the knee) I have recently started swimming now
    that our pool is open for the season but I can hardly walk more than
    half a block before my knee pain starts. What exercises can I do that
    will not put strain on either area?

  12. Avatar Djrtmum says:

    Time is an issue for me, all good and well saying make it a priority, but sometimes it is harder than you think. My life starts at 6.30am (…and no, I am not waking earlier). I make breakfast for my family and lunches, then shower and dressed and go to work, finish at 5pm, and cook dinner and training with children, meaning Monday, tutor for kids, I cook whilst this is happening, Tuesday Karate for one child and drumming for me, this is my only outlet, Wednesday footy training with other child. Add to this me being a full time carer for an at home hubby and Thursday a free night so homework with children and Friday is Space Pilots for both lads. Saturday is family time and baking for the week to come for lunches etc, yes I cook things from scratch, glutton for punishment, and Sunday is church and family time as this is the only time I get this. I finally get to stop around 8.30pm most days and I am buggered. My kids and family are my world, nothing will with time, however, I have manage to loose weight and have currently lost 22kg. Still more to go though.

    • Avatar MC says:

      10 minutes 3 times a day is worth it. Like #1 states schedule it

    • Avatar Craig says:

      Join the karate class. I am 46 years old and 22.5stone. But i do Taekwondo (same as karate) the instructor let’s me take it easy if I need to or not do parts to do something else instead. Also when I take my boy to karate I go swimming I get about 40 minutes in the pool.

  13. Avatar hunkachunka75 says:

    I’m in pain 24/7 for over 30 years which worsens the more active I am. Degenerative disk disease, neck to tailbone. Have been thru 2 surgeries with no relief in pain.

    • Avatar My Name Is Oliver Queen says:

      So do I along with Multiple Sclerosis, but it doesn’t stop me walking on the treadmill or using the resistance machines. I am in constant chronic agony but going to the gym helps take my mind off of the pain for a while in a better way than oxycodone does. Swimming also helps in a big way.

    • Avatar Brian Canham says:

      Theres got to be something you can do that doesn’t hurt?

      • Avatar Travis Beaulieu says:

        That’s not how excuses work. There IS something they can do, but it’s probably difficult or doesn’t come with enough positives to make it “worth it” for them. There’s always something you can do to improve yourself further, even if you might not ever be able to attain a physique, or level of fitness, that would be cause others to be jealous. No matter the disease/injury/infirmity, everybody can be a better version of what they are at that moment.

        You haven’t even seen the best you could be yet, how exciting is it that you can do simple things in your life that change how you feel/see reality for the better? That’s damn exciting.

    • Avatar Millie says:

      I have degenerative disc and scoliosis (20 years now). Lifting weights is the ONLY way I can manage/stop the pain. Core strength also = strong back.

      My mother opted for surgeries and pain meds and now she no longer has use of her legs due to nerve damage (waiting for someone else to “fix” her). She’s also on oxygen 24-7. Surgery didn’t fix her. Sorry, sometimes you gotta fix yourself. If you can’t, it’s because you won’t.

  14. Avatar Kat25 says:

    I have a problem with balance, I lose my balance easily, so I can’t go for walks alone, and have no one to go with me. The balance problems and back pain limit the ways I can exercise, along with Type 1 Diabetes which drops my blood sugar with certain exercises and a heart condition, so no over exertion.

    • Avatar PokeyBug says:

      Get a treadmill. Then, you can grab the bars on the side when you start to lose your balance. And, trust me, I’ve been walking at least 20 miles a week with a rod in my femur for the past 15 years. You can’t overexert yourself with walking. But, nice excuse.

    • Avatar RogueRebel says:

      I have terrible balance due to multiple foot deformities, have you tried Yoga or swim classes? Since I started doing classes I’ve found that my balance has actually improved, though it’s still not up to the standards of “normal” but it’s better than what it was. If you go to a gym class and tell someone your difficulties they’ll keep an eye on you for your diabetes and can offer alternative exercises if you feel you can’t do one.

  15. Avatar Evgeni says:

    All these complaints in the comments suggest that people missed the excellent advice given.

  16. Avatar Tasha says:

    I have just started the slim in 6 dvd it seems good but I’m not to sure how many calories you burn when I have done 1 hour.

    • Avatar neldabg says:

      Invest in a heart rate monitor, or calculate using various online calculators. Google is your best friend.

  17. Avatar Brian Canham says:

    One of the most common excuses I hear is from women. I just want get toned. I don’t wanna get big.

    • Avatar eclectic_reader says:

      “Pro body builders spend 3-4 hours daily in the gym for decades and are on gear. But me? I just look at weights and poof I’m She-Hulk.”

  18. Avatar kittymom says:

    I heard a quioe this week. “When you say you dont have time, you are really saying it us not a priority.” I am okay with that, as I have been there before. There are exercises you can do, no matter your physical limitations. My husband has neuropathy yet does leg lifts, various arms movements, etc. you may not be able to do it all, but you should be able to do something.

  19. Avatar Vanessa says:

    The excuse for lack of time is lame. I’m a single mom, working nights, and have 2 special needs children to care for, not to mention a home to keep up and 2 cats. Plus I take a class every Thursday night. I’ve used the lack of time excuse, gotten lazy, and packed on 40 pounds. But, yes, I DID have time to sit in front of the TV every day. Now I’m back at the gym, I’m making it a priority! My kids need a healthy, strong mom! If I can do this, you can do this! Find a way!

  20. Avatar Sherrie Schwartz VanConant says:

    I am 57 and would like to start a routine of exercise. I have 3 grandkids that I am responsible for and I work full time. kids ages range from 14 down to 3. I can’t do the gym because of cost. what would be some good exercise to begin with that I can do at home either before work or after. I like to walk but not always easy with winter weather outside? Idea’s?

    • Avatar clg says:

      body weight exercises are good in a pinch, if not necessarily the best “low impact cardio” depending on your abilities. Honestly, “invest” in a used treadmill from craigslist/similar. You can get fairly new treadmills that someone else never used, and even the “well-loved” treadmills are often still going strong! When I lived in KS, my roommate and I could not live without her treadmill in the winter and it was a godsend!

  21. I prbly dont have time but I make time every single day to exercise in my own home..actually just got done doing mine for the day. I have lost a total of 110 lbs because I have discovered, none of those petty excuses are valid!!! Excuses are just dont want to’s … the only people that may have legit excuse is the ones that do have some very chronic problems that totally keep them from doing anything…I would never put them down because I do think there is a handful of people that are legit and cannot do it but for the most of people it just comes down to not wanting to and trying to make it look as if they are not being lazy when they are. People, just get off your butts and move! SOMETHING is better than NOTHING.

  22. Avatar Shehan Perera says:

    It’s hard to understand why people coming up with all the excuses when it comes to wellness, because after all it’s our body that we have to care about.

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