Moving Past Exercise Barriers

We oftentimes have the best intentions, but somehow we find excuses or reasons for not starting or sticking with a physical activity program. Research indicates that exercise is important for weight management and helping with the control of blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. Regular physical activity helps us sleep better and, because we get stronger and more flexible, it makes it easier to do everyday tasks. If we really thought about it, we feel good after exercising.

Yet, from time to time, we reach barriers in our exercise routines; barriers prevent you from starting or staying with your program. This can lead to frustration, feelings of incompetence and loss of confidence. The table below indicates barriers and suggestions for how to overcome them. 



I’m self-conscious about my weight, injury or ability.

Exercise doesn’t have to mean working out in a crowded gym. You can try exercising early in the morning to avoid the crowds, or skip the gym altogether. Walking, swimming, or exercising in a class with others who have similar circumstances can make you feel less self-conscious. There are also plenty of inexpensive ways to exercise privately at home (think YouTube).

I’m scared of injury.

Choose low-risk activities, such as walking, and warm-up and cool-down correctly to avoid muscle strains and other injuries.

I can’t motivate myself.

Explain your exercise goals to friends and family and ask them to support and encourage you. Better still, find a friend to exercise with. You can motivate each other and turn your workouts into a social event.

I’m not coordinated or athletic.

Choose exercise that requires little or no skill, such as walking, cycling on a stationary bike, or aqua jogging (running in a swimming pool).

Exercise is boring.

But watching TV is not. Combine stationary biking with movie watching and the time flies. Go to a park and consider your walk a nature walk, not a workout. Include friends when you work out and the conversation will keep you going.

If you are in Ann Arbor over the summer, remember that U-Move Fitness offers a variety of exercise classes on campus. Our classes are conveniently located in the UM Rec Sports facilities and value-priced. Registration for spring and summer classes opens April 7.


Contributed by Sheila Calhoun, U-Move Fitness & KidSport Assistant Director