Overcome Your “Buts” to Physical Activity

We know physical activity is good for us. We’ve seen the studies showing physical activity is a natural mood booster. We know it can prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illness. So, why aren’t we more physically active?

Well, because our lives are busy, and we have a tendency to put our wellness needs last.

 “I would exercise more, but…”

“I can’t add exercise to my routine right now because…”

If you chose to read this article, you’ve probably completed at least one of these sentiments before. You may even have a whole list of go-to “but”s. Yet more often than not, the buts we give aren’t insurmountable. Let’s look at some of the most common barriers to getting physically active, and see if we can come up with some creative solutions.

Lack of Time

For anyone who’s now mandated to work from home, there is a silver lining. Time you usually spend commuting is now time you can get creative with. Is this a window of time you could plan some physical activity?

And there might be more time in your day than you think. It’s a common misconception that physical activity has to look a certain way: like a 30 minute intense workout. While that is great when it happens, we don’t have to wait for a 30 minute break in our day to get active. For instance, could you do a wall sit while you brush your teeth? Or run in place while you’re waiting for your lunch to heat in the microwave? This counts!

Lack of Energy

What if I told you physical activity actually boosts your energy? It’s true. If you’re spacing out after your lunch break, try going on a brisk walk around the office. If you’re fading on the factory floor, try 30 seconds of high knees or jumping jacks.

Workplace Wellness Director Veronica Crosier gets staff energized during a presentation at Columbia Forest Products.

Social Influence

You might be saying, “Yeah right, can you imagine the looks from my coworkers when I start doing high knees in my hard hat?” Sure. But you might be surprised how many are just working up the courage to join in. Don’t believe me? Check out this (hilarious) 3 minute video about the power of social influence: The First Follower: Leadership Lessons from a Dancing Guy.

Try being a trend setter. And if not that, perhaps be the First Follower.

Just Not Fun

This can be a toughie. Especially, if you’re adding a new physical activity to your routine or making a big increase to the amount you already exercise. It typically takes 3 weeks to create a habit though. If you’re trying something new, it may be hard at first, but give it time before giving up. If you find you still don’t like the activity you chose, ditch it! There are so many ways to get active. You might like traditional methods like jogging, or aerobics. But playing with your dog, gardening, and dancing in your kitchen count too!

Don’t let your conception of physical activity be stereotyped or turned into a chore. You can fight the boredom, and maybe even come to cherish your activity time.

Is there a barrier to your physical activity, or a creative solution we didn’t cover? Let us know!

If you’d like to see physical activity promoted more at your workplace, contact our Workplace Wellness Director Veronica Crosier at [email protected]

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