Get Past Your Barriers

Most people know that physical activity is good for their bodies and their health. So why are 2 out of 3 Americans still less active than they should be?

There are all kinds of reasons that keep people from being active. Maybe you feel you don’t have the extra time, have no one to be active with, or lack the skills you think you need.

It’s important to understand what keeps you from being active. Take the Barriers Quiz to see which barriers are holding you back. Then read the tips below to help you overcome them and make physical activity a regular part of your daily life.

If you feel you don’t have the time:

  • Think of any free time you have during your day. Keep track of your daily activities for one week and notice when you have 20 or 30 minute time slots you could use to be more active.
  • Add physical activity into your daily routine:
    • Walk or bike to work or errands
    • Walk the dog
    • Be active while you watch TV
    • Park far away from the place you’re driving to
    • Take stairs instead of the elevator

If you need more support from family and friends:

  • Tell them you want to be more active: ask them to support and encourage you.
  • Invite friends or family members to work out with you, or plan events that involve being more active.
  • Develop friendships with people who are already active. Join a group, such as the YMCA.
  • Find a hiking or walking club.

If you don’t have the energy:

  • Schedule physical activity for times during the day or week when you know you’ll have the most energy.
  • Remind yourself that being active gives you an energy boost – try to push yourself, you’ll be happy you did.

If you think you don’t have the skills:

  • Choose activities that are easy, and require no new skills: walking, climbing stairs, or using a stationary bike.
  • Take a class to develop new skills or learn a new sport.

If you don’t feel motivated:

  • Plan ahead and write it into your schedule.
  • Invite a friend to work out with you on a regular basis.
  • Join an exercise group or class – sometimes it’s easier to attend a class than to work out by yourself.

If you’re afraid of getting hurt:

  • Learn how to warm up and cool down the right way so you don’t hurt yourself.
  • Choose activities that involve very little risk: walking, swimming or biking.
  • Learn how to work out the correct way for your age, fitness level, skill level and health status.

If you don’t have the resources you think you need:

  • Choose activities that don’t require going to a gym or using a lot of equipment: swimming, hiking, biking, yoga, Pilates, or tai chi.
  • Look for cheap, easy resources available in your community: the city or town parks and recreation program in your city or town may have team sports and classes for kids and adults. Some YMCAs have sliding scale fees.

This information is provided by Mass in Motion.