As a motivation tool for myself I have listed all my good reasons for not exercising. You may find a few of your favorites on this list. Hopefully you will see my folly and get back on a program yourself.
So after a little reflection, here are my favorites.
1. I’m middle-aged and don’t need to pretend I’m young.
2. I’m too busy to exercise – work, child rearing, keeping the house livable doesn’t leave time for exercise.
3. I don’t get enough sleep as it is without getting up an hour earlier to exercise.
4. My back hurts. You may substitute knees, hips or your big toe – pick your favorite, or least favorite, body part.
5. It’s too hot to exercise (115 F in Phoenix as I write). Of course too cold, humid, windy, rainy or generally inclement works equally well. It could also be too light or too dark for that matter.
6. I have a big meeting tomorrow and I need to be well rested.
7. I’ve been married for 18 years and my wife still likes me (even without exercise).
8. My weight is good and I look like I exercise (I actually stole that one from my wife a decade ago).
9. No matter how much I exercise I still don’t look like Colin Kaepernick or Beyonce?
10. If I can’t do the exercise I want, why bother.
So use one excuse a week and it will be a long time before you actually exercise.
More seriously, most of these are easily swatted away and I have done that myself many times.
A few topics to discuss:
No. 10 is a real struggle for many. I had two back surgeries that put a stop to my running and weightlifting. It took some pondering, but rollerblading is easy on the back and is an aerobic exercise.
Aging and injuries do force you to lower the exercise bar, but throwing in the towel is not necessary. If you can only walk, do that. Almost anyone can swim for exercise, the weightlessness makes it joint friendly.
Looking like you exercise is not the point. Living longer and being able to participate is the point. Exercise can make some wheelchair bound people walk again. You can be fat, thin, short, tall, old or young and still make your life better with exercise.
Most studies show exercise helps joint pain. This is true even with relatively advance degenerative joint disease. It also helps you lose weight, lessening the pain.
Hopefully, I will think of these counterpoints tomorrow morning when I wake up with an excuse at my lips.
I will recognize it for the excuse it is and move anyway. If doesn’t work, Sheba, my Siberian Husky, will remind me she needs exercise also and doesn’t take excuses.
Donald Bucklin, MD (Dr. B) is a Regional Medical Director for U.S. HealthWorks and has been practicing clinical occupational medicine for more than 25 years. Dr. B. works in our Scottsdale, Arizona clinic.
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