The Number One Reason People Don't Exercise
Convenience and Exercise Adherence
Regular exercise provides a wide range of long-term benefits, yet nearly 80% of the American public fails to get the minimum amount recommended weekly. The Centers for Disease Control suggest at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of intense exercise weekly. The average person spends more than twice that amount of time every day just watching television. So what's stopping those same people from working out? The answer may surprise you.
It's all about convenience. The number one thing you can do to ensure that you'll exercise regularly is to make sure whatever you've chosen to do is easy. Convenience is a more important factor in workout adherence than health concerns, body image or peer pressure.
Joining a big beautiful health club is fine, but if it's across town and takes 30 minutes to get there, it's less likely you'll make it a habit. If you want all the benefits you get from a regular workout, follow these steps to make exercise as convenient as possible.
Look for a gym, studio or health club that's no more than 12 minutes away from your home or work. The further away you live, the easier it is to make excuses and avoid the trip. When the weather turns bad, if there's traffic problems or you're just feeling tired, a 20-minute trip can seem like an insurmountable obstacle.
Get a friend to join you and make the commute together. Having someone pick you up or being responsible for picking someone up takes your mind off the actual trip. Plus sharing a ride with a friend makes the time fly by quicker.
Make things even easier by starting your workouts at home. When you get up, begin the day with ten minutes of exercise. Do some jumping jacks, planks, push-ups and bodyweight squats. Practice dance steps or just walk around the block. Keep moving until you break a sweat, adding another minute or two on your routine each week until you're exercising 30 minutes a day.
Be prepared to do your workouts anywhere, at any time. Carry a bag packed with any equipment or clothing you need. You don't have to walk up and down the stairs at work during your lunch. But if you've already got your exercise gear with you, the decision is easier because there's less standing in your way.
Find exercise opportunities in activities you enjoy doing. If video games are your thing, try ones that get you on your feet. Pokémon Go is an example. You have to get outside and walk around to capture Pokémon to advance in the game. It's fun and doesn't feel like exercise, but it burns a lot more calories than sitting in front of the television.
Remember when you were a kid how excited you'd get when you were going to the beach, park or playground? Turn your exercise into a fun activity and you'll wake up eager to get going.
Sign up for things that give rewards for your completion. One of the most common are 5K races that give out finisher medals. (5K stands for 5 Kilometers and it's 3.1 miles.) What many people don't realize is that 5K races almost always have both running and walking categories. You don't have to run, you can walk the entire race.
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Sign up for a race that's a few weeks or months out, depending on your level of fitness. Then spend at least three days a week slowly building more endurance. Once you're able to walk at least 45 minutes straight, you're ready for the race. The finisher medal is the reward for a job well done. Then you keep practicing to improve your time.
Whatever you decide to do, you'll be more successful if you eliminate the obstacles to fitness. Plan what you'll do before you go. Prepare your gear in advance. Choose activities you enjoy and look for exercise opportunities close to home.
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