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The Biggest Excuses not to Exercise

Moderate weight bearing and aerobic exercise is essential to good health and long life. It strengthens bones and muscle, and improves cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary health. A regimen of exercise, proper diet and adequate rest can give anyone a healthier body.

In our couch potato culture, though, people just don’t get enough exercise, and they all have what they think are good excuses for not doing so. Here are some of the most common rationalizations for not exercising.

I get enough exercise during my normal day’s activity. This excuse is most common among housewives, though working people use it as well. Housewives feel that a day of housework, chasing kids, and shopping provides adequate exercise. The walking, stretching, and lifting done during the course of an average day’s housework, does provide a degree of exercise, but not nearly enough. And, while it’s true that bureaucrats get some exercise jumping to conclusions, passing the buck, stretching the truth and running up deficits (no, that last one is for politicians), this daily activity, coming in fits and starts does not give the body the workout it needs to develop strength and resiliency.

I don’t have enough time to exercise. Our days are filled with activity; meetings, commuting, shopping, and the like, and this would seem like a valid excuse, but it just won’t wash. Setting aside 20-30 minutes, three to four days a week to do some resistance or aerobics exercise is not that difficult if you set your mind to it. Try getting up 30 minutes earlier and devoting that extra time to some stretching, crunches, pushups, and knee bends. While sitting at your desk, shuffling papers, stretch your legs, arms, and back now and then. Instead of that extra order of fries at lunch, spend 30 minutes of your lunch hour power walking.

I don’t have a place to exercise. This is the lamest excuse of all. You don’t need a gym membership, or a gym at home. Unless you live in a shoebox, the space beside your bed is perfectly adequate. If your bedroom floor is wood or tile, you might want to invest in a 4×6 exercise mat to do your workout on. It can be stored under the bed when not in use.

I’m too old to exercise. As we age, our bodies naturally lose some of the flexibility and strength of youth. Rather than being a reason not to exercise, this is all the more reason we need to. The deleterious effects of aging can be mitigated through moderate weight bearing, stretching and aerobic exercise.

I have a medical condition that precludes exercising. Okay, for some of you, I’ll give you this one; up to a point. In most cases, though, it’s more copout than valid excuse. I’ll bet if you consult your doctor, he or she will recommend a program of graduated light exercise as therapy.

I don’t like to get all sweaty. If you work in an office, and have to commute by mass transit, this can be a problem – if you’re preparing for a marathon or an NFL tryout. If you’re a normal person, it is possible to get adequate exercise without working up a sweat. The objective is to strengthen bones and muscles, and this does not require a herculean effort. For good cardiovascular health it is only necessary to get your heart rate up for about 20 minutes, three or four times a week. Consult a physician or a licensed therapist to determine your appropriate target heart rate.

There, you have it. Some of the main reasons people don’t exercise – all shot full of holes. The fact is, there is no good reason not to exercise, so drop those lame excuses and drop and give me 20.