I am as guilty as anyone else when it comes to looking for the occasional excuse not to do some exercise. Maybe if the weathers bad or I have had a hard day in the office or, in fact, any number of reasons. However, there are some people out there who do not realise how easy it is to get outside and start taking some exercise.
I have chosen what is probably the four main excuses for not taking up or maintaining an exercise or outdoor activity programme. The thing to do is look for the opportunities to get out rather than the excuses or reasons to stay in. Start off slowly and you will find your mindset changing and you will be looking forward to your next walk or run.
This is, by far, the biggest excuse put up against getting outdoors. Whilst I admit we do lead full and hectic lives, even when we get older. We do need to make time for some activity, even if its only at the weekend.
Try exercising first thing in the morning. Combine physical activity with a task that’s already part of your day, such as walking the dog or doing the housework. If you don’t have 30 minutes to be active, look for three 10-minute periods. As you progress, add more 10-minute sessions until you hit your goal!
If, like me, you still work fulltime, try spending 15-30 minutes of your lunch break walking around a local park or up and down the high street. If you work or live in a high-rise building, use the stairs rather than the lift.
If you really want to take some exercise, you can always find a few minutes each day to get outside.
I can remember at school hating PE because I found it boring. However, every now and again the teacher would say we could do what ever we wanted and all of a sudden PE became fun because we were doing what we really liked.
Try and make exercise interesting and enjoyable, go with a friend or take a talking book and headphones. Do things you enjoy, but do not be afraid to try new activities in order to keep your interest alive. Be creative about your physical activity plans and regularly try new forms of exercise to prevent boredom.
Walk with friends or your local ramblers group. That act of talking whilst walking takes your mind off of the pain and relieves any boredom in your exercise routine.
I get a little annoyed when I see adverts in the magazines or on the Internet for the latest high-tech walking and running gear, coupled with the suggestion that you must have this gear in order to walk or run.
Yes, sure, if you are going to be walking/running up the mountains and fells then you will need to get the proper gear. But we are talking about local urban and rural activities which are not going to require any specialist equipment.
Being active doesn’t have to cost a thing! All you need for brisk walking is a pair of comfortable, non-slip shoes. For strength training, you can save money by making your own weights using soup cans or water bottles. Check with your local authority or senior citizens centre about free or low-cost exercise programmes in your area.
Even joining the ramblers is not too expensive and they have plenty of local walking groups that, in most cases, organise one to two walks a week.
Being too tired is a consequence of age, weight and workload plus many other things. It can be so easy to say “I’m too tired today, I’ll leave the walk until tomorrow”. Yet a good brisk walk or some light exercise will help release endorphins in the brain and leave you feeling happy and more lively.
As a result of the effects of regular, moderate physical activity, you can help reduce fatigue and even help manage stress. Exercise can also reduce feelings of depression, while improving your mood and overall emotional well-being. Once you become active, you’re likely to have more energy than before. As you do more, you also may notice that you can do things more easily, faster, and for longer than before.
My thanks to the National Institute of Aging for the inspiration to write this blog post and the use of their images.