There’s an expression that says, “If you want to do something badly enough, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” This rings especially true when it comes to fitness. This is the time of year when people get derailed from their fitness goals and resolutions before they even break a sweat. Why? Because their excuses become bigger than their fitness goals.
Recently, I attended a luncheon with several smart, successful, beautiful women ranging in age from 45 to mid-50s. The conversation soon turned to fitness, and these accomplished women began offering up a laundry list of excuses as to why they stopped working out. And while the majority of reasons were presented in ways designed to be humorous or self-deprecating, it didn’t change the underlying message: these women were discouraged and felt like their fittest days were behind them.
As I listened, I realized that their excuses were not uncommon, and many women could relate. I also realized that most of these excuses are easy to overcome with a little patience and perspective. You just have to learn to be stronger than whatever is holding you back. The bad news? It won’t always be easy. The good news? It will always be worth it!
The Excuse: At my age, it doesn’t matter what I look like anymore.
While it is nice to comfortably fit in your clothes or be confident in a swimsuit, let’s look at the bigger picture. There is so much more at stake as we get older than how we look physically. It’s about how we feel physically — and mentally. As you get older, do you really want to feel tired or develop health issues that could easily be avoided with a little daily movement? Strength training to build bone density, cardio to strengthen your heart, and yoga to help with your balance and flexibility — these are all critical to the quality of life as you age. Looking great is simply a bonus!
The Excuse: I’ve had three kids – this belly isn’t going anywhere.
So. Not. True. I’m not guaranteeing you will get a six-pack, but you can lose belly fat, thereby reducing your risk for heart disease and other health problems that come from carrying extra weight around your middle. To add insult to injury, as we go through menopause, weight gain in the midsection is a common occurrence. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s unavoidable. Staying active before, during, and after menopause can help minimize or even prevent the dreaded midlife midsection altogether.
The Excuse: I feel intimidated because I don’t know what to do.
There are few things more intimidating than going to a gym for the first time. But remember, all those toned, tight tushes once belonged to beginners too! To avoid that oh-so-self-conscious feeling, enlist a friend to go with you. There’s strength in numbers! Try a group fitness class. It’s easier to blend in, and chances are you won’t be the only newbie in the room. If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer. Not only does the one-on-one interaction hold you accountable, but a trainer can also help you learn the correct form and weight selection to prevent injury.
Still not feeling it? Try one of the hundreds of online streaming services available. For less than the cost of a monthly gym membership, you can have access to a wide variety of workouts that you can do in the privacy of your own home.
The Excuse: I don’t have time.
This is probably the number one excuse women and men of all ages give as to why they don’t exercise. I get it — we all have crazy, busy lives. Jobs, kids, social obligations… The list goes on and on. But here’s the thing: we all have the same 24 hours in a day. Why not spend one of them doing something that will increase your quality of life? It might mean that you get up an hour earlier. It might mean that you spend less time scrolling social media. Maybe, it might even mean that you don’t binge an entire Netflix series in one sitting (gasp!).
It goes back to what you prioritize, and it starts with prioritizing yourself. Don’t fall prey to the mindset that if you don’t have an hour to spend at the gym or work late and miss your favorite group fitness class, the day is a total loss. Something is better than nothing. Go for a 15-minute walk. Take the stairs at work. Do some crunches or pushups while watching TV. Knock out some squats while brushing your teeth. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Moving your body, even in small increments throughout the day, is better than being sedentary. The bottom line? There are 1,440 minutes in the day. Surely, you can find 15-60 to work toward your fitness goals and improve your health.
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