Tag Archives: benefits of exercise

Why Isn’t Everyone Exercising?

11 Sep

family-riding-exercising-together-on-bikes-in-autumn[1]The benefits of exercise and physical activity are indisputable.  Regular exercise can improve strength, mobility, balance, coordination, fitness, health, wellness, energy level, mood, sleep, and confidence.

Yet, despite all these benefits, the majority of people in our country — children and adults — don’t get adequate, regular physical activity.

Anne-Marie Spencer, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for PlayCore in Chattanooga TN, looks at some top reasons for not exercising, as well as possible solutions:

It’s too difficult. Sadly, a lot of advertising for fitness-related products and programs have taken it to an extreme. In these cases, the standards for fitness have become elevated in such a way that too much focus is placed on what your body can’t do, rather than what it can do. One does not need to aspire to body builder status to improve their overall health, nor run in an endurance race, join a team, or order the latest set of extreme fitness DVDs. It can be as simple as talking a daily brisk walk, riding a bike, taking a few laps at the local pool, or finding a free outdoor fitness park and exercising at one’s own pace. The key is to make it enjoyable so the behavior is repeated. This may take several attempts to discover, but with so many options, there is most certainly something for everyone.

It’s boring or I just don’t care for it. If this is your opinion of exercise, you haven’t found the right thing. Brisk walks while listening to music, biking, dancing, joining a team, obstacle racing, gardening, skating, playing catch with the kids, doing agility with your family dog, there are so many options! If it’s not done sitting and it elevates your heart rate, it’s exercise! Don’t let preconceived notions define what you consider exercise; just get moving. Does it make your joints ache? Try swimming or cycling. Do you hate to get sweaty? Find an indoor activity. Do you get lonely exercising or lack motivation? Find a local boot camp, yoga class, or dance team to get group dynamics and encouragement. Whatever you try, give it time. Behaviors aren’t changed overnight, and it may take several weeks before the activity feels enjoyable, or part of your regular routine.

I don’t have time. To address this concern, write out what you do each day. Yes, everyone leads busy lives, but carving out 30 minutes a day should be easily attainable. Do you watch TV at night? Television and video games are the predominant form of “resting” for most regular families. Thanks to the Internet, television, live streaming, social media, texting, and an abundance of video games, people are becoming more and more sedentary. Families can all benefit by getting active instead. Sitting at a desk all day, whether in school or at work, should not be followed by more sitting at night. Find the time to get active; it’s always worth it.

I’m too tired. Working out actually gives you energy as your body produces endorphins and circulation is increased. Experiment with different times of day. It might make sense to get up 30 minutes earlier and start your day with exercise to increase productivity throughout the day. Try taking a walk at lunch, or bike to and from work. Remember, your daily exercise does not need to be all at once to be beneficial.

I can’t leave the kids alone. Take them with you! Head to the park, the local playground, and/or schedule family meet ups with other families. It’s much more beneficial to exercise with your children. You reinforce the importance of exercise, create fun memories that children are likely to emulate when they become parents, and instill exercise as a regular behavior. If you’re struggling with regular exercise as an adult, you know how beneficial that can be!

It doesn’t work for me. Don’t give up! This one is especially common when people are trying to lose weight. The right combination of exercise and nutrition are critical. Keep a journal. If you stop exercising for a while due to injury or a break in the routine, pick it back up. Good or bad habits aren’t formed in a day or even a week. Just keep at it!

I don’t want to be all muscular.Surprisingly, very few people do. That middle-aged woman swinging the kettlebell? She wants to be able to pick up and play with her grandchild. The elderly man in yoga class? He wants to ensure he maintains good posture and balance to avoid potential falls and resulting injury. Unless you are specifically training to build oversize muscles, it won’t happen just because you are exercising, even when you use weights. What it WILL do is increase functional fitness. The ability to go through a normal day, run for a bus, carry several bags of groceries, play with your pet, comfortably bend over to tie a shoe, all are more easily and comfortably achieved as a result of exercise to help us stay fit and limber.

No matter what our age, we all benefit from exercise. Without it, we are adversely affecting our health, our long-term ability to move independently, and our children’s ability to balance healthy activity with sedentary behavior. Call it play, call it exercise, call it fun, call it whatever you like, but make sure you make time with your family to get active. Our very lives depend on it.


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