Do these sound familiar?
- I have a sore finger!
- I have a cold!
- I need to get my shizzle together before I can start exercising again!
I have no doubt, that 50% of you (or more – myself included) have all used these types of excuses/reasons in the past or at the moment not to exercise or work out. Sometimes exercising seems utterly impossible when we consider the stuff going on in our lives, our bodies and our mind. We make ourselves rationalise every action or inaction we take in life. But what we tell ourselves is a legit reason for not exercising is not always so legit however. There is a fine line between reason and excuse.
A ‘Reason’ is considered a fair and logical justification for not participating in something. An ‘Excuse’ is a pretence or subterfuge that can logically be overcome.
For example a Reason may be – that it is physically impossible to participate in exercise such as holidays, ongoing obligations elsewhere or broken leg. An excuse may be – that you feel tired, had a big night or have a bit of a sniffle.
This is not a lecture to convince people they need to get off their arses and exercise or call them out on their excuses. Consider this more as an impetus for people to reassess the excuses in our life to see if they are in fact a legit reason or an excuse.
I know that in the past I have often used the excuse ‘I just need to get a routine going in my life’ to not workout. I like order in my life and feel like I can focus on things better when I am organised. So how can I get around this ‘excuse’? Answer: By squeezing it in when I can here and there. And then when I am organised, I can establish a regular routine workout. I realised I had to stop making excuses or I would never start, because in all honesty, my life is never completely organised (Whose is?).
It is incredibly hard to be honest with ourselves if we are used to making excuses. So how can we assess the legitimacy of our excuses to see if they are in fact that or ‘a reason’?
Ask yourself these questions:
1) Do you have a physical constraint that is preventing you from exercise? (THIS IS A BIGGIE)
There are some injuries or on going conditions that limit your ability to exercise. But ask yourself the following probing questions so see if it is really as limiting as you think:
-If it is a leg injury – can you use your arms, back and core?
-If it is an arm or shoulder injury – can you use your legs, back and core?
If it is lower or upper back – speak to your doctor about what movements you can do and you may be surprised. Things like yoga and pilates do wonders for these sort of problems under correct guidance.
If you work with a good trainer, they should be able to tweak any work out to cater for minor injuries. If it is a major injury, seek the advice of your doctor and specialist – but also listen to your own body because it will let you know its own limitations. I could honestly dedicate a whole article to this topic, but that’s for another day.
2) Is there a lack of time or not enough hours in the day (ANOTHER MASSIVE ONE – AM I RIGHT PARENTS?)
So many of us spend our time running around after kids, making sure that they get to participate in sports and extra-curricular activities. Hello? What about the parents? Don’t they get to do stuff for themselves and look after their own health? And then there are those that are fully committed to their career. Is your life happy and balanced?
I’m all for having priorities in life, whatever they may be. But don’t let your health (physical and mental) suffer at the expense of these priorities. Quite often if we look after our physical and mental well-bring, we are more efficient and satisfied in fulfilling our other obligations.
So ask yourself this follow up question:
-Are you managing your time efficiently? Could you streamline things such as meal prep or cooking?
-Can activities be shuffled about?
-If you don’t have time to exercise in the afternoon or evening, then what about at the crack of dawn or even lunch time?
Is there someone you can ask to help out with pick ups or drop off, shuttling etc? Even job share style where every 2nd day or fortnight you take it in turns with someone so you can squeeze in a workout?
Did you know that a workout doesn’t have to be a 1-2 hour excursion to the gym? You can do a 15-30 mins exercise routine in your own home (after the kids are in bed!). There are so many awesome Personal Trainer apps these days that set it all out for you: exercises, timer, voice coach, even music. And many of them have plenty of bodyweight only exercises so you can do it anywhere with no need for equipment.
So do you really have zero minutes in the week to improve your physical and mental health…or can you actually spare 15-30 minutes 2-3 times a week?
3) Is tiredness just a symptom of lack of exercise or just an excuse not to do it?
After running around all day: get up, breakfast, make lunches, work, school drop off and pick ups, after school runarounds, emails, pay bills, clean house, cook dinner, wash dishes, do laundry (then repeat then next day); it is not surprising that so many people are exhausted with life.
Now we just explored fitting in time for exercise in the above point. Great if you can make the time, but not so great if you are too tired to actually do it. I’ll let you in on a secret about the hardest part of exercise. It’s GETTING STARTED. If you can drag your arse off that couch or desk chair, then you are 50% of the way there. You are much more likely to exercise (regardless of tiredness) if you have it scheduled in at a certain time and day during the week.
The other big secret is quite often you feel sluggish, tired and unmotivated when you aren’t getting enough exercise. A workout can increase your energy levels. It is a great cure for Monday-itis. Better Health Victoria recognise that physical activity can boost energy levels and help you sleep (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue).So it could help cure tiredness, if that is in fact the issue.
Ask yourself this final question:
Are you genuinely unable to exercise or could you honestly find a way to make it work?
So is yours a REASON or an EXCUSE?
WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?