We’ve all been there: lying in bed in the early dawn, rationalizing why we don’t absolutely need to get to the gym before work, then rolling back over for another hour of sleep. “I’ll give myself a pass and start fresh next week,” we promise — thus setting ourselves up to take a few more steps backward over the weekend.
If this internal struggle is so common and real, let’s look at some of the contributing factors and ways to overcome them to take more immediate steps towards your goals.
“I’m too busy, there’s no way I could possibly fit this into my day.”
Sure, you have a busy life. That is undeniable and unavoidable for most adults. But take a look at just a few of the positive benefits gained by taking time for a sweat sesh:
- Increased productivity
- Mental clarity
- Positive mood booster
- Increased memory
- Stronger bones and muscles
- Increased energy
Mindset shift: Could you benefit from any or all of the benefits mentioned above? After looking at what is to be gained by sweating and challenging your body — it no longer becomes lost time, but an investment so that everything else you want to accomplish is that much better, faster and more enjoyable.
“I’m too tired to make it to the gym.”
“I can’t afford to give up the little sleep I have.”
This is a big one; sleep is undeniably important. Studies have repeatedly shown how essential sleep is to maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. But at the same time, studies have also shown that exercise can help you fall asleep not only faster, but also longer and with a higher percentage of slow wave (i.e., deep) sleep. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?
Mindset Shift: Time management is key. Challenge yourself to modify your sleep routine and start waking up slightly earlier, making gradual increases over a few weeks. Instead of saying: “I am going to wake up two or three hours earlier every single day this week,” set a more manageable goal that you can feel proud of accomplishing on a consistent basis. It may not happen overnight, but your body, family, and sleep schedule will adjust. You may just find yourself more rested after all!
3. Competing Priorities
“Time that I take for exercise is time that I’m not spending with my family, significant other, etc.”
Unfortunately, we live in a world in which we are expected to be on call and available nearly every hour of the day. Whether it’s for work or family, the concept of “taking personal time” commonly has a negative connotation. But consider the well-known “oxygen mask” rule, which indicates the importance of taking care of yourself, so that you are able to then see to others. Similarly, it is our own responsibility to ensure that our health and well-being is being adequately maintained.
Mindset Shift: Think of the ideal person you want to be for everyone in your life. Do you have high expectations? Simply put, you cannot pour from an empty cup. If having more to give to others is the incentive you need to take care of your body and wellbeing, then that is reason enough!
If possible, get the family involved as well. By involving your loved ones in the pursuit of an active lifestyle, you all can reap the same amazing benefits — in addition to having bonding moments and memories to share.
4. Low Energy
“I barely have enough energy to get home and make dinner, and you want me to go to the gym?!”
Imagine your ideal ending to a long day, once the work hustle is over at last and you are home sweet home. I know for myself, summoning the energy to get out the door once again and drive to the gym does not come to mind. But instead of making it an afterthought, what if there were ways to harness the positive benefits of exercise in order to help you through the day? Strategies to minimize the midday energy crash that coffee can barely even fix, without having to invest large amounts of time or add a lengthy workout at the end of an already long day?
Mindset Shift: Check out this study from the University of Georgia College of Education, which found that a single bout of exercise has the ability to significantly boost an individual’s energy, as well as temporarily reduce fatigue. Significantly, the study did not rely on high-intensity or technical sports. Most participants completed 20-40 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity, and 91% of whom found that their energy increased after completion. These aerobic activities included walking, jogging, pilates, resistance training, etc. — activities that you can fit into your day with or without a gym.
By planning a workout, such as a fast-paced walk or yoga, first thing in the morning or peppering a combination of activities that you enjoy strategically throughout your day, you can begin to reap these benefits immediately through extra boosts of energy!
In addition to the numerous positive changes taking place in your body and mind that were referenced above, here are some additional benefits of making your next workout a priority:
- Weight management
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Decreased risk of high blood pressure
- Decreased risk of numerous other chronic diseases
- Improved skin health due to a decrease in oxidative stress
- Increased brain function and memory
- Chronic pain reduction
Whatever you think might be holding you back from finding your routine and capitalizing on all the benefits of an active lifestyle, we challenge you to not let the little roadblocks keep you from finding your motivation to live fit.
Have a happy workout!
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