• Kameron Stone

Overcoming Barriers To Exercise

Updated: Feb 9, 2019


What Is A Barrier To Exercise?

A Barrier to exercise is something that is preventing you from achieving your goal to continue or start exercising. There are two types of barriers; real and perceived. A real barrier is something that is actually physically getting in your way when you want to exercise. For example, lack of transportation to a fitness facility or an injury preventing you from exercising are real barriers majority of the time. A perceived barrier is something that a person believes is preventing them from exercising when in reality it is only an excuse. For example, when someone says that they do not have enough time to exercise it is usually a perceived barrier and not a real one. Both types of barriers can be conquered when you know the right actions to take. That is what I will be helping you achieve with this article.

Girl Rrunning with sunrise

I Don't Have Enough Time To Exercise

Lack of time is the most frequent reason given for not exercising and the majority of the time it is only a perceived barrier. It's not really a problem of time itself, but, more of a problem with time management. People spend hours a day surfing the web, looking at social media, and watching television. Making room for exercising on a daily basis is easier than one might expect. Here are some ways you can overcome this barrier.



Hourglass with red sand telling time

  • Make a time log - This will help you visualize where you spend your excess time and where you can make time for exercise

  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier - By doing this you ensure that you have time to exercise by making it the first thing you do every day.

  • Replace normal activities with physical activities - Instead of watching TV and movies on the weekends try playing basketball or going on a hike. Also, you can replace your office chair at home with a stability ball and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

I Don't Have Enough Energy

Many people struggle with finding the energy to exercise on a regular basis. Let's be honest, coming home after an 8-10 hour work day it's tough to find the energy to exercise. There are ways around this though.

  • Try exercising in the morning - by exercising in the morning you can use your valuable energy to get in a quick dose of exercise before heading to work, then replenish that energy with a nutritious meal.

  • Make it a part of your schedule - carve out time in your schedule to exercise when you know you have the most energy.

  • Take a small dose of caffeine - Try exercising after your morning coffee or tea to help boost your energy levels.

  • Start with a small amount of exercise - Start off exercising for just 20 minutes at a low intensity, then work your way up. Your body's energy levels should adapt to the higher demand over time.

energetic athletic girl jumping imn the air

I Can't Seem To Make Progress

Once you find time to exercise and commit to exercising the next biggest barrier is making progress towards your goal. Lack of progress is a very common barrier among people who are starting to work out. The best ways to overcome this barrier is as follows;

  • Set Effective Goals - Goal setting is crucial to making progress in an exercise plan, Not just any goals but effective ones. Goals should be measurable, realistic, time-based, and specific. When you set goals that follow that guideline you can more easily see and track your progress towards those goals.

  • Do some research - If you're not progressing towards your goals you may need to adjust your exercise methods towards your goals. A great way to do this is to speak to a certified personal trainer about your goals.

  • Take time to recover - If you are exercising vigorously more than 5 times a week and you are not making progress you should cut down on the number of times you exercise or the intensity at which you exercise. Too much stress placed on the body can lead to muscle exhaustion and injury.

Gym Memberships Are Too Expensive

Let's face it, gym memberships are expensive. Some gym memberships range from $15 a month to over $100 a month. Not every city will have a relatively cheap gym which creates a barrier to exercise for many people. It is very common for someone to want to start exercising but they don't think they can because they can't afford the exorbitant gym membership pricing near them. Thankfully there is a way you can get a reduced price at a gym or exercise without a gym.

scale, weights, running shoes, and stabillity ball on white floor

  • Check with your health insurance - some health insurance companies will partner with gyms and offer partial reimbursement of the membership fee if you visit the gym a certain number of times a month.

  • Exercise at home - Exercising at home can be a great way to avoid those expensive gym prices. You can do bodyweight exercises with no equipment or you can buy a stability ball and some other equipment for fairly cheap and use those to exercise.

  • Outdoor activities - Outdoor activities can be a great alternative to exercising at a gym. You can get many of the same benefits as exercising at a gym through activities such as basketball, jogging, snowshoeing, hiking, and other activities. These activities will get your heart rate up and have little to no cost.

  • Consider an online personal trainer - If you are looking for a personal trainer but don't want to pay the high prices for an in-person personal trainer you can try an online trainer. A certified online trainer can offer a lot of the same benefits that an in-person trainer comes with. Also, they can offer ideas to exercise outside of a gym.

I Don't Feel Comfortable In The Gym Setting

A very common barrier to exercise is that people who are new to the gym setting do not feel comfortable there. This lack of comfort can be caused by many things such as; body image, not sure how to perform an exercise, a new environment, and being unsure of what to wear. I'll go over how to make yourself feel more comfortable in the gym setting.

  • Don't worry about other people - Everyone at a gym is there to try and make themselves better and everyone had to start exercising as a beginner at some point. Most people are too focused on their own routine to look around and judge other people. Also, not everyone at a gym is a professional athlete, a fitness facility has every type of person.

  • Learn proper form - If you learn the proper form for the exercises that you will be doing before you go to the gym you will feel much more comfortable. You can learn proper form by doing research online, speaking to a trainer at a gym, or getting an online personal trainer.

  • Wear clothing you feel comfortable in - many people stress about what to wear at the gym. A basic guideline would be to wear athletic clothing that you feel comfortable and confident in, you don't have to match exactly what other people are wearing.

In The Past, I Have Not Been Able To Stick To A Plan

If someone had an experience In the past where they did not have a successful execution of a workout plan it may discourage them about starting another plan. Don't look at a previous defeat as a bad thing, use it to help build your next plan off of. Analyze what led you to quit the plan and use that information to make sure you don't make the same mistake again. Here are some things you can do to ensure that you successfully follow through with your plan.

Girl wrighting in the planner

  • Focus on changing your lifestyle - Don't look at an exercise plan as something you are going to do just to reach a specific goal and then stop once you reach that goal. If you focus on changing your lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle rather than just trying to reach a goal you will have long-lasting success and can have more moderation in your plan.

  • Set smart goals - setting gals is very important and your overarching goal should be to lead a healthier lifestyle for the longest lasting results. Setting that one goal is not nearly good enough have a successful workout plan though. You must set other goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Set multiple goals that fulfill that criteria and your plan will be much more successful.

  • Write down why you are starting your plan - When you start a plan wright down the reasons why you are starting it so that you can refer back to it later down the road and not lose sight of what initially led you to start.

  • Gain social support - social support is one of the most important types of social influence on exercise. You can try to find social support in family, friends, a personal trainer, or a group exercise class. Social support is important to keep you accountable and motivated to succeed in your plan.

The Take Away

German shepard holding dumbell with towel on it

There are a lot of different barriers to exercise and everyone encounters some of them at some point in their fitness journey. You can overcome these barriers, build a successful exercise plan, and lead a healthy lifestyle if you follow the guidelines above. The most important things you can do to ensure that your exercise plan is successful are; carve out time in your schedule when you know you have energy, do your research, find somewhere you can exercise consistently, learn proper form, focus on changing your lifestyle, Set smart goals, and gain social support. I highly recommend trying out a certified personal trainer, either in person or online. we have experienced and certified personal trainers here at Shogun Athletics here to help you.



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