Top 7 excuses not to exercise – and why they can be addressed

There really aren’t many reasons why you shouldn’t be able to exercise.

If you are injured, ill, or you have just had surgery or a child, you may be forgiven for sitting out. Otherwise, there are far too many excuses people use to not exercise which can be corrected.

Exercise is very, very good for you. The benefits are vast – for people with diabetes, regular physical activity can improve blood glucose control and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

You will also feel better through exercise, which can boost confidence and reduce stress, while obesity is also tackled through weight loss.

A 2015 study revealed too much sitting can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer. The World Health Organisation, meanwhile, suggest that 3.2 million people die every year as a result of inactivity.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at seven of the most prevalent excuses for not exercising.

7. “I don’t have the time”

Kids, work and day-to-day activities can absorb anyone’s time. However, would a daily 20-minute brisk walk be so hard to achieve?

In January 2015, University of Cambridge researchers revealed this burns roughly 100 calories, which could reduce the risk of premature death from inactivity.

6. “I feel embarrassed”

Embarrassment can be a prominent factor in an individual’s reluctance to exercise. This may be due to their weight, feeling out of place, or being uncertain about not having the right clothes to wear.

Persistence is the best way to overcome this, especially by making that first step. A 20-minute walk or small run round the block is a good starting point. If you feel embarrassed, or self-conscious, bear in mind other people are just as involved in their own thoughts and will probably not even notice you exercising.

5. “I’ve got no-one to exercise with”

Depending on your motivation for exercise, you may find the prospect of exercising on your own unfulfilling and unenjoyable.

Hence, creating enjoyment is crucial. Setting yourself achievable goals will enhance your satisfaction following exercise, while rewarding yourself (but with nothing sugary) can increase your motivation.

Joining group exercises classes or hiring a trainer are pricier alternatives, but still valuable if you strongly prefer exercising with others.

4. “I find exercise boring”

Without goals, motivation and a sense of achievement being fulfilled, exercise can be boring.

Find an aspect of exercise that intrigues you. This could be taking on a different sport, or a sport you know you enjoy, such as swimming, tennis or hiking.

Alternatively, see what sporting events are coming up in your area, such as half marathons or smaller runs, and sign up. Trying to achieve your best possible time will serve as instant motivation, as will representing a charity or other good cause.

3. “Exercise doesn’t make me lose any weight”

It can be quite disheartening if you spend a number of weeks exercising, alongside a healthy diet, but don’t see the progress you’d want on the scales.

While the majority of weight loss results will be attributed to your diet, exercise does help you burn calories. Aerobic exercise, such as running and cycling, will help you burn off fat with weight then put back on as muscle mass. Anaerobic exercise, such as weight lifting, can lead to increased muscle mass, but in the long-term, your BMI and weight should drop.

It can take weeks for regular, consistent exercise to result in weight loss. Patience and commitment are required.

2. “I’m too tired”

Regular tiredness can be a symptom of diabetes, and this will understandably quell your motivation to exercise.

However, the less time you spend sitting down, the better it will be for your health. When you exercise, the brain releases chemicals called endorphins, which create a positive feeling in the body. They tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise and make the experience much more enjoyable.

Your endurance levels will also be boosted by regular physical activity, and leave you less tired.

1.   “I have medical issues”

Diabetes-related complications such as neuropathy can make exercise troublesome, as can conditions such as back pain and asthma.

However, there is very little that exercise cannot assist with. A brisk walk can slow down the damage caused by diabetic neuropathy, while being more active can help you control blood glucose levels.

If you are concerned about a medical condition before exercising, see your doctor or a qualified personal trainer. There will be a regular exercise regime for you.

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About the author

Jack Woodfield

Jack is Editorial Manager of Diabetes.co.uk. He works hard, plays fair and sleeps whenever possible. He has type 1 diabetes, doesn't mind being called a "diabetic", and once won a talent show for dancing to Dario G’s 1997 hit “Sunchyme”.

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