Overcome 5 Common Barriers to Starting Your Exercise Program

Another new year is upon us and with it comes the resolution to get in shape, lose weight, or commit to a healthy lifestyle.  Nearly 50% of New Year’s resolutions are related to losing weight or starting an exercise program.   We all have good intentions but the fact is most fail miserably at following through.   About 6 of every 10 Americans make New Year’s resolutions but research suggests less than 10% are actually successful by the end of the year.  In fact, 60% to 80% fail by February.  Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure success with your new exercise program.

Your Thoughts, Actions, and Results

Successful goal achievement starts with our mindset.  Our thoughts control our actions and our actions determine our results.  Be clear on your desired result.  Is it to lose weight?  Or increase strength?  Or increase energy levels?  Next, work backward and focus your mind on how you will achieve it.  Think positive thoughts only.  Envision yourself achieving your goal.  What will you look or feel like?  Then decide on the necessary steps or actions you need to take in order to achieve your goal.  Write them down.  Track your progress and stay focused.

Remember, your thoughts determine your actions and your actions determine your results.  If you think about getting home to watch television that is exactly what you will do.  However, if you think about how good you will feel and look from exercising regularly then you will make it a priority to eat healthily, get to bed early, and make time in your day to exercise.   If exercise is not really all that important to you there is no need to continue reading this article.

5 Barriers to Exercise That Stand in Your Way

Setting a clear goal and thinking positive thoughts is imperative for success.  You will also have to acknowledge and be prepared to overcome obstacles along the way.  The 5 most common barriers to follow-through with a regular exercise program include the following:

  1. Lack of self-efficacy
  2. Perceived lack of time
  3. Poor social support
  4. Lack of exercise facilities and cost
  5. Pain, injury, or poor health

Lack of Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy refers to your belief in your own abilities to deal with certain situations.  You choose your path.  You are not a victim of circumstances.  Go ahead and list as many reasons as you can about why you cannot exercise. If you accept these as out of your control you are destined for failure in more ways than one.  If you truly desire to start an exercise program in the New Year there is nothing that can stop you except yourself.  Remove negative thoughts from your mind and take ownership of your health.

Lack of Time

We all have 24 hours in a day.  We are 100% responsible for choosing what we do with each of those hours.  Not your boss or your spouse, or your parents.  You are responsible.   It comes down to setting and following through on what is important to you.  If your resolution to exercise is a priority, you will think about success and the actions needed to achieve success.  However, if your resolution to exercise is a wish or something you believe would be nice to do, it is not a priority and you are doomed.  When you are committed to your resolution you will make time during your day.  You will get up earlier, leave the television off, and spend less time on social media.  We all have something we can remove from our day in order to insert something more meaningful.  Small sacrifices often result in huge rewards.

Lack of Social Support

You don’t have to go into it alone.  Enlist your spouse or friends to join you.  Social support assists adherence by fostering discussion of exercise, invitations to exercise, and celebrating the enjoyment of exercise.  Seek out environments to exercise that promotes a social support system.  Consider joining a group environment such as Trident Fitness, Hot or Not Yoga, Blacksheep, or others in our area.   There are great benefits to getting around strong fitness cultures that promote community and healthy competition.

Lack of Facilities & Cost

You always have options when it comes to where you choose to exercise.  Anyone can develop an exercise program to perform within the comforts of their own home.  You can join a gym with a plethora of equipment options (Retro Fitness or Planet Fitness).  The cost varies from nothing (in your own home) to $100 or more per month.  The fact is, the cost may be an obstacle to exercising in your ideal environment.  However, the cost can never limit you from exercising at home or starting a walking program.   If the cost is preventing you from getting started, refer to our discussion on self-efficacy.  The only thing that can truly prevent you from exercising is you.

Pain, Injury, or Poor Health

Some people believe they are not fit for exercise because they are experiencing pain.  Some also reference their metabolism or some medical problem which prevents them from losing weight.  Maybe this is the case and nothing can be done to reverse these problems.  Even so, there a number of things you can still do for yourself to lose weight, get fit and become healthy.  Pain, injuries, or poor health may limit your options but there are always options.  Meet with your doctor or a physical therapist if you need to develop a plan to work around some of these obstacles.

Your Physical Therapist Can Help

A doctor of physical therapy can help get you started and assist you along your journey.  If you are unsure about getting started, meet with a physical therapist for a free screen.  There is no obligation tied to this 30-minute session.  Based on the physical therapist’s examination, you will be guided in the right direction.  Guidance may include tips for developing a sense of self-efficacy.  Your physical therapist can also help you find time to carve out during your busy day so you can devote this time to your new exercise program.   After discussing your goals and preferences, your physical therapist can recommend the right environment or facility for you.  And most importantly, based on your health and injury history, your physical therapist will help you design the right type of exercise program for you.

Free Consultation Physical Therapist

Get Started with Your Exercise Program Today

It’s time to take action.  You have decided on what is important to you and you have acknowledged there will be obstacles.  You are willing to do what it takes to get the results you truly desire.  Now, the first step is the most difficult to take.  We want to help you be successful and feel your best.  Give us a call and schedule your free screen with a physical therapist.


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