Overcoming the mental barriers that prevent us from being active
Changing peoples approach to physical activity and working with clients to overcome the barriers that prevent clients from being active is something New You Boot Camp works with clients daily on.
Physical inactivity is linked to many things such as; type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, high blood pressure, cancers, poor skeletal health, mental health, mortality, as well as poor quality of life amongst many other things.
We should not view physical activity only in terms of its disease-specific associations. The benefits of physical activity are far-reaching and extend beyond health alone. Taking regular physical activity is also proven to increase your energy, boost your mood, reduced stress, improve mental wellbeing and encourages better sleep.
Physical activity: more of recommending the same is not enough
Regular activity must of course be done by the individual, but the challenges are tackling changing behaviour, attitudes and mental barriers if we are to see greater uptake of this healthier behaviour in people's every day lives.
New You Boot Camps' client top common barriers to taking up physical activity and New You Boot Camp's suggestions to overcome them.
1. Barrier: Between work, family, and other demands, I am too busy to exercise.
Make physical activity a priority. Carve out some time each week to be active, and put it on your calendar. Try waking up a half-hour earlier to walk, scheduling lunchtime workouts, or taking an evening fitness
Build physical activity into your routine chores. Mow/Rake the garden, wash the car, or do energetic housework. That way you do what you need to do around the house and move around too! But
the music on and make it fun!
Make family time physically active. Plan a weekend hike/bike through a park, a family football/ rounders game, or an evening walk around the block.
2. Barrier: By the end of a long day, I am just too tired to work out.
Think about the other health benefits of physical activity. Regular physical activity may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It may also lower your odds of having heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or cancer. Research shows that people who are overweight, active, and fit live longer than people who are not overweight but are inactive and unfit.
Also, physical activity may lift your mood and increase your energy level. Do it just for fun. Play a team sport, work in a garden, or learn a new dance. Make getting fit something fun will help you look forward to the activity
Train for a charity event. You can work to help others while you work out.
3. Barrier: Getting on a treadmill or stationary bike is boring.
Meet a friend for workouts. If your buddy is on the next bike or treadmill, your workout will be less boring.
Watch TV or listen to music or an audio book while you walk or pedal indoors. Check out music or audio books from your local library.
Get outside. A change in scenery can relieve your boredom. If you are riding a bike outside, be sure to wear a helmet and learn safe rules of the road.
4. Barrier: I am afraid I will hurt myself.
Start slowly. If you are starting a new physical activity program, go slow at the start. Even if you are doing an activity that you once did well, start up again slowly to lower your risk of injury or burnout.
Choose moderate-intensity physical activities. You are not likely to hurt yourself by walking 30 minutes per day. Doing vigorous physical activities may increase your risk for injury, but moderate-intensity physical activity carries a lower risk.
Take a class. A knowledgeable group fitness instructor should be able to teach you how to move with proper form and lower risk for injury. The instructor can watch your actions during class and let you know if you are doing things right.
Choose water workouts. Whether you swim laps or try water aerobics, working out in the water is easier on your joints and helps reduce sore muscles and injury.
Choose a Rebounder workouts. Aerobics and working out on a rebounder is easier on your joints and helps reduce injury.
Work with a personal trainer. A certified personal trainer should be able to show you how to warm up, cool down, use fitness equipment like treadmills and dumbbells, and use proper form to help lower your risk for injury.
Personal training sessions may be cheap or costly, so find out about fees before making an appointment.
5. Barrier: I have never been into sports.
Find a physical activity that you enjoy. You do not have to be an athlete to benefit from physical activity. Try yoga, hiking, or gardening.
Choose an activity that you can stick with, like walking. Just put one foot in front of the other. Use the time you spend walking to relax, talk with a friend or family member, or just enjoy the scenery.
6. Barrier: I do not want to spend a lot of money to join a gym or buy workout gear.
Choose free activities. Take your children to the park to play or take a walk.
Find out if your job offers any discounts on memberships. Some companies get lower membership rates at fitness or community centres. Other companies will even pay for part of an employee's membership
Check out your local recreation or community centre. These centres may cost less than other gyms, fitness centres, or health clubs.
Choose physical activities that do not require any special gear. Walking requires only a pair of sturdy shoes. To dance, just turn on some music.
7. Barrier: I do not have anyone to watch my kids while I work out.
Do something physically active with your kids. Kids need physical activity too. No matter what age your kids are, you can find an activity you can do together. Dance to music, take a walk, run around the park, or play basketball or soccer together.
Take turns with another parent to watch the kids. One of you minds the kids while the other one works out.
Hire a baby-sitter or look for a fitness or community centre that offers child care. Centres that offer child care are becoming more popular. Cost and quality vary, so get all the information up front.
8. Barrier: My family and friends are not physically active.
Do not let that stop you. Do it for yourself. Enjoy the rewards you get from working out, such as better sleep, a happier mood, more energy, and a stronger body.
Join a class or sports league where people count on you to show up. If your basketball team or dance partner counts on you, you will not want to miss a workout, even if your family and friends are not involved.
9. Barrier: I would be embarrassed if my neighbours or friends saw me exercising.
Ask yourself if it really matters. You are doing something positive for your health and that is something to be proud of. You may even inspire others to get physically active too.
Invite a friend or neighbour to join you. You may feel less self-conscious if you are not alone.
Go to a park, nature trail, or fitness or community centre to be physically active.
10. Barrier: The winter is too cold/summer is too hot to be active outdoors.
Go shopping. Go window shopping, find a shopping centre: e.g Blue Water, Trafford Centre, West Centre, West Quay ect and walk indoors all year-round.
Join a fitness or community center. Find one that lets you pay only for the months or classes you want, instead of the whole year.
Exercise at home. Work out to fitness videos or DVDs. Check a different one out from U tube or the library each week for variety.
11. Barrier: I do not feel safe exercising by myself.
Join or start a walking group. You can enjoy added safety and company as you walk.
Take an exercise class at a nearby fitness or community center.
Work out at home. You don't need a lot of space. Turn on the radio and dance or follow along with a fitness show on TV.
Barrier: I have a health problem (diabetes, heart disease, asthma, arthritis) that I do not want to make worse.
Talk with your GP. Most health problems are helped by physical activity. Find out what physical activities you can safely do and follow advice about length and intensity of workouts.
Start slowly. Take it easy at first and see how you feel before trying more challenging workouts. Stop if you feel out of breath, dizzy, faint, or nauseated, or if you have pain.
Barrier: I have an injury and do not know what physical activities, if any, I can do.
Talk with your GP. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about what physical activities you can safely perform. Follow advice about length and intensity of workouts.
Start slowly. Take it easy at first and see how you feel before trying more challenging workouts. Stop if you feel pain. Work with a personal trainer. A knowledgeable personal trainer should be able to help you design a fitness plan around your injury.
Work out what your barriers are and the solutions you are going to use to overcome them? Make a decision to make a lifestyle change. Take the first Active step to the New You!
For more information, including boot camp dates visit newyoubootcamp.com.