Physical Activity has become a popular and effective way to manage physical and mental illness. Doctors are now prescribing exercise as a way to manage and prevent illness. It is easy to take a pill, but making lifestyle changes by increasing physical activity has a longer lasting effect and you will experience wholistic changes in your life.
If you have read my post Barriers to physical activity you may have identified some barriers that relate to you, maybe you have made a list.
Overcoming these barriers takes commitment and adjustment, however you will feel the benefits in all areas of your life.
How to Overcome Barriers to Physical Activity
I Don’t Have Time
- Set short, medium and long term goals. Ensure you commit to achieving these goals
- Get motivated by others or start the local Park Run
- Ask friends or family to do a physical activity with you
- Walk to places you would have normally travelled to in a vehicle. At the very least, park a bit further away from your destination, or get off the bus a few stops early, and walk the rest of the way
- Plan your activities to suit your time table, even if its short sessions
I Lack Motivation
- Set goals and reward yourself when you achieve them
- Think about all the reasons why you want to be active
- Identify activities you enjoy
- Be physically active with your family and friends
- Take a group class
- Monitor your progress, use charts to enable you to see your progress
I Experience Physical Barriers
- If pain is a barrier, remember that physical activity may actually be effective in reducing pain. Listen to your body. If the pain occurs after you start your program, see your Doctor you may have suffered an injury. If you are experiencing chronic pain you may need assessment and management by a Health Professional. I personally don’t believe in “No Pain No Gain”. Pain is the bodies way of telling us that there is something wrong and we need to have it assessed and monitored.
- Starting physical activity can be difficult when you feel fatigued, start with the end in mind. Often you’ll feel more energised after a workout. Acknowledge your sense of accomplishment.
- I suffer from Urinary Incontinence This is more common than is realised. There are steps you can take to manage this and not allow it to affect your exercise goals
Lack Confidence and Self Conscious
- You may be self-conscious about your body or participating publicly in a physical activity, but physical activity doesn’t mean you need to force yourself out of your comfort zone
- Start slow with an activity you know well, and you’ll soon discover your self-confidence. This will allow you to be more willing to try new things—and step up your intensity level
- When you attend the gym or are out walking be proud of yourself that you are out there doing if, you are way ahead of anyone else
I Don’t Have Access to a Gym
- Make physical activity part of your daily activities for example: walk up the stairs instead of the lift, walk to work, use your housework as an exercise session, take the children for a walk, walk your pet, take up walking with a buddy
- Use home exercise apps that suit your needs, there are several to choose from
- Be creative and utilise your resources, exercise doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated
Remember that everyone is different, there is no one size fits all exercise program or exercise tolerance. The key is setting your goals, set them effectively and you will find the overcoming the barriers to your physical activity program are achievable.