6 Ways to Conquer Barriers to Physical Activity

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6 Ways to Conquer Barriers to Physical Activity


Ashley Michalski



Even though we know physical activity is important for us, there are barriers for a lot of people to get moving and stay moving.

By comprehending these barriers that people face towards including more workouts in their life, we can make solutions.

Can you guess what the most common response is from people who don’t exercise enough? If you guessed time you would be right!

In this article, we will look beyond the common time barrier to learn more about other barriers that people face when adapting to a more active lifestyle.

First though, let’s look at some benefits of getting physical exercise.

10 Benefits of Working Out

  1. You will feel happier
  2. You can lose weight with a proper diet                         
  3. It’s good for your bones and muscles
  4. Increases your energy levels
  5. Cuts down your risk of chronic disease
  6. Can help improve your memory
  7. Helps you relax and sleep at nighttime
  8. Increases your body’s production of natural antioxidants
  9. Can enhance the growth of brain cells
  10. It can help reduce pain

Barriers to Physical Activity

Feeling safe is important no matter whether your exercising outdoors or indoors. It’s because of this that safety issues are a common barrier.

Exercising outdoors or indoors can bring about their own set of safety hazards, which is why it’s important to discover ways to keep yourself safe.

On top of feeling safe, you have to gather the energy to workout and people often say they are to tired to workout after work or school.

Another common barrier among not only older people but from younger people too, is that working out is inconvenient.  

In addition to believing physical activity is inconvenient someone might not enjoy working out, or they find it boring and are unable to find the purpose of it.

On the other hand, some people may also lack self-motivation and self-management skills.

In addition, they may lack self-confidence when they’re exercising because they are constantly comparing themselves to other people.

Another part of lacking self-confidence is when people don’t get enough encouragement or support from family and friends.

Finally, sometimes there are barriers that are out of our control.

For example, those with chronic health conditions, disabilities, and the elderly might find it more difficult to add physical activity into their lives.

Also, it’s important to note not all communities are designed with exercising at the top of their list.

For example, not all neighborhoods have walking paths, parks, soccer nets or basketball hoops, or biking paths.

If your community does, count yourself as lucky!

Discovering the Time to Exercise Solution

Since physical activity is good at keeping us fit and healthy, let’s see what solutions there are when it comes to common barriers of living a more active lifestyle.

Since finding time to exercise is the most common barrier, let’s look at a solution for that first.

Try exercising first thing in the morning, preventing you from allowing work or school to break up your routine.

If you have children, get them to exercise with you so you don’t have to feel your parenting role needs to hinder an opportunity to get fit.

You can even try to add your activity choice to something that is already apart of your day, but make it longer.

Such as walking your dog for a longer period of time.

This way you will be accomplishing your workout and you will be checking off daily dog walk off your list at the same time!

Safety Issues Solution

While being 100% safe all the time is never guaranteed to anyone, there are however some protective measures you can take.

For instance, purchase mace and keep it with you, wear the proper clothing and shoes designed for your specific workout of choice, and make sure you are well prepared for the weather if you workout outside.

If you’re afraid to workout alone, try to bring a family member or close friend with you.

Also, always remember to bring your phone with you. Make sure it’s fully charged.

If you’re listening to music don’t wear both ear pieces in your ears, if any at all.

Why? Because you can’t hear your surroundings and you should always be fully aware of your surroundings no matter if you’re working out alone or with a friend.

One other thing you can do to prevent bodily injury is to learn how to warm-up and cool-down properly.

You should also take in consideration your age, fitness level, skill level, and your overall health status. This will tell you which exercises you should or shouldn’t do.

Friends and Family Not Interested in Exercising With You

If you’re desiring new fitness goals, but you’re family doesn’t share the same interest as you it can be difficult for them to support you if they don’t understand or feel your goals with impact their lifestyle.

Explain your fitness and/or health improvement goals to close friends and family members and ask for their support.

If you’re finding a lack of encouragement and/or support, join a local YMCA or walking club to find people with similar goals to offer support instead.  

Working Out is Boring Solution

If you’re one of those people that find working out is boring.

Find something you like but pick up the pace, make it challenging to keep yourself engaged.

Try something different, exercise outdoors because this way the visual scenery will keep you focused.

The fresh air doesn’t hurt either!

Trying out a new activity once in awhile can help keep your interest alive and this way you’re exercising different muscle groups.

I Have No Money to Workout Solution

Not everybody can afford to workout at their local gym, so it’s important to remember that working out doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money.

For taking a brisk walk, all you need is a comfortable pair of tennis shoes.

Interested in strength training but don’t have the money for your own set of weights? No problem. Save money by making your own with water bottles.

Jumping rope isn’t just for kids, it’s actually a really good workout. Purchasing a jump rope isn’t that expensive and can be a great way to keep yourself engaged.

If none of these sound interesting to you, try looking for inexpensive, convenient resources in your community, such as a park and recreation center, wellness groups, mall walking clubs, etc.

This is also a great solution if your community doesn’t have any public walking or biking paths.

Something that also correlates with lack of money is the lack of transportation. Not anyone lives in a big city like NYC where public transportation is available.

It costs money to own or lease a car.

While it’s not a huge barrier because you can workout in your home or apartment, it can be a barrier for those desiring to workout at their local YMCA or gym if they are also looking for social engagement.

There is no easy solution to this because it depends on where you live, but purchasing a bike or walking to your nearest gym or YMCA could be a possible solution. The trip to your workout location can even be apart of your warm-up!

Lack of Energy and Motivation Solution

Fatigue is another big barrier to not living a more active lifestyle.

However, did you know that regular exercise can actually decrease your fatigue and stress levels?

To help maintain a regular exercise routine, create or purchase a calendar.

Schedule a physical activity that you enjoy for specific times/days and “check” it off your calendar each time you complete it.

This way you will feel motivated to keep accomplishing your daily tasks.

If you’re exercising with your children, you can give them a sticker every time they complete an activity with you.

This will keep the motivation alive and moving forward!

Monitoring Your Progress

If you say you don’t have enough time, this solution to monitoring your progress might work for you.

By monitoring your daily activities for one week you should be able to identify at least three 30-minute time slots you could use for physical activity.

You can then select activities requiring minimal time, such as walking, jogging, or stair climbing. You can even exercise while you watch TV or a movie. This might make your time exercising go by faster.

In Summary

In conclusion, there are many barriers that limit people from getting any or enough physical exercise.

The top three are time, energy, and motivation.

By discovering which reason or reasons effect you the most when it comes to physical exercise you can find a solution.

One of the biggest things you can do is to find an activity that appeals to you.

This way you will find the time and energy to complete the activity. Having fun during working out will make you happier and less likely to say the activity is boring. This will lead you never to do it again.

If you get discouraged by setbacks, think of how you can overcome them ahead of time. This way you are prepared.

Having a support network of friends, family members, or an exercise professional can be beneficial to you so you get back up and start exercising again.



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