Common barriers to exercise and how to overcome them


There are many reasons why people struggle to make exercise part of their regular routine. Here are some common barriers along with some suggestions of how to think differently and work around them.


I don’t have time

Think about how much time you actually need or want to work out each day or week. It’s well established that short duration workouts can be hugely effective.


Exercise is boring

Agreed, sometimes it might not be the most exciting thing on your to-do list, but the results of regular exercise aren’t boring. Maybe you need to shake up your routine a bit with some new activities. Or get some other people involved in some group or team activity. If it feels like a social engagement rather than a workout, you’re much more likely to keep it in your schedule. If you're looking for some inspiration on what your options are, check out our 61 ways to get active.


I still don’t have time

Ask yourself why you aren’t making time to get active. What’s getting in the way? Are these things crucial to your survival? Can you find ways to make time for exercise and still get the essential tasks of life completed?


I’m lazy

No one is totally lazy. We just all get motivated by different things. Work on a list of personal benefits you will experience by getting more active and remind yourself of these every day. It's in these benefits that you will find your motivation.


I’m injured

Regular activity is a fantastic way to fix injuries or, even better, reduce the likelihood of them in the first place. All you need is a balanced workout routine and / or the appropriate rehab where necessary. Seek professional guidance as soon as you can and you’ll be back on the road ASAP.


Check out common injuries and what to do about them: 7 top tips

Also read troubleshooting common injuries


But really, I don’t have time

You might need to think about when you exercise. If there’s no time in the day, get it done first thing before anything else gets in the way.


I’m not a morning person

You might only need to get up 10 minutes earlier to exercise if you use some of the workout ideas below. Or you might not need to get up early at all if you think about changing your morning routine slightly. Or you focus on the fact that a morning workout will boost your mood and energy, make you more efficient, save you time, help you sleep better and make the rest of your day more productive!


I don’t know what to do

Make sure you have a selection workout routines close to hand at all times. Once you’re familiar with an array of exercises you’ll always have something to do. A simple search for quick workout routines will provide you with plenty of ideas to get started.


Don’t get too hung up about doing everything ‘right’ or in the right order. Just make sure you regularly do something. If you have any concerns about your technique or any injuries of physical limitations consult a medical or exercise professional before you get started. This won’t take long and will lay the foundations for long-term injury free exercise success.


Whatever your reasons, barriers or excuses are for not being as active as you would like to be, write them down and say them out loud. Ask yourself, ‘if this weren’t a barrier, what would my activity routine look like?’ Or, ‘how long have I been using this excuse and how long will I continue to use this excuse?’


Revisit your list of exercise benefits and think about why activity really matters to you. Then create a clear and simple workout schedule – what you’ll do and when – that will guarantee you regularly experience these benefits. Put your chosen slots in your calendar, along with some back up slots, and off you go.

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