How you should respond the next time someone comes up with an excuse.
As part of our series to encourage people to start exercising, today we are tackling the common excuses we hear from people to not exercise and we give you some guidance to help overcome those excuses.
Everyone including myself has this misconception that exercise means hitting the gym and lifting 20KG weights to be labelled as fit and healthy. That’s actually not true (Unless you’re an athlete). But we’re just normal people leading a normal lifestyle. Therefore, exercise can seem intimidating, especially as an older adult if you’ve never done it before.
The Oxford English dictionary defines exercise as “activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.” Did you notice that it didn’t state you have to run strenuously or sweat a bucket? Exercise can be used to improve your wellbeing or even to improve a part of your body that might need some TLC. For instance, if a person keeps falling, balancing exercises such as heel raises are considered a form of exercise.
Exercise also improves your sleeping pattern. I personally feel that I sleep much better and feel less tired the following morning when I exercise regularly. It makes me feel good about myself and makes my day better. In a previous post, we discussed taking the first steps to start exercising. Now that we know exercise isn’t as scary, let’s get into the common excuses we hear to avoid exercising.
1. I am too old
Well, there are many studies saying that it is never too late to exercise. It may be hard to start exercising especially if you haven’t done it since you were young. So be it then. You do not have to start like a professional athlete. You can start by doing a chair exercise at home like our “At Home Guide” or go for a walk. Try a Siel Bleu community exercise class or see if there is an aqua fit class in your local swimming pool.
2. I am afraid I will fall and I’m too unhealthy
You might be afraid that you will fall when you exercise. Believe it or not, exercise actually does the opposite. It helps strengthen your muscle preventing you from falling. However, it is important to realise that this is all specific kinds of exercise that focus on certain part of the muscle that prevents falling and thus it is important to seek help from a professional, like a Siel Bleu Physical Trainer before carrying out any activity. If you’re worried about falling during a class, seek a programme designed by professionals who will ensure to reduce falling hazards as much as possible. And you are never unhealthy to exercise. Everyone needs to start somewhere to be healthy. Everyone has to start somewhere.
3. I am too lazy
We all have that day when we just don’t feel like doing anything and not feel guilty about it, or is it just me? During those days, I would usually just watch the telly the entire day and let’s not forget snacks. So to make my days slightly productive, during commercial breaks I would move around and exercise for 4 minutes. Let say a show lasts for an hour and I watch the telly for 10 hours. And there is 4 commercial in every show. That will amount to 160 minutes of exercise. Now that’s not exactly realistic, but even moving during the break will help to reduce the time you are sedentary and improve your help. Simple exercises that can be done at home such include leg extensions and heel raises when you’re on the couch.
4. I have arthritis
“I should avoid moving too much” is the most common misconception about arthritis. Instead, you should move regularly because it keeps your muscle and the tissue surrounding the joints, therefore, protecting the bones, which prevents joint pain from getting worse. Exercise also lubricates your joints for ease of movement. It helps to maintain a healthy body weight which will reduce the stress on your joints. Your doctor, physiotherapist or Siel Bleu Trainer will be more than happy to show you the different kind of exercises to alleviate your pain.
5. I have back pain
Back pain is typically caused by a weak core. Exercise is the best way to strengthen your core. Stretches and the correct resistance work can help elevate the back pain. Having a back pain shouldn’t stop you from exercising, provided you’re doing the right exercises. If the pain is really bad, it is best that you seek medical attention.
6. I have diabetes
I think the biggest concern for people living with diabetes is the drop in their blood sugar level. I do not have diabetes but there are times when I over exercise, I would feel a little light headed. I realise that it is important to pace my exercise and listen to your body. Bring a small snack like an apple or some juice. Sit down when if you feel light headed. Do not panic. Breathe through it and have a sip of your juice or sweet snack. It is better to have someone with you when you exercise or let someone know where you will be. You might want to link your location to your family’s phone so that they can track your location. Consult your doctor before carrying out an exercise and they will advise the right programme for you.
7. I have COPD
Why would anyone with COPD who already has shortness of breath exercise? That’s going to make your breathing more laboured than usual. Well, that’s where the misconception comes in. It is actually recommended to exercise if you have COPD because exercising will increase the heart rate, which will make the blood circulate carrying more oxygen around the body.
To conclude, don’t be afraid to exercise again. Observe yourself and take note. If you realise that you exercise better in the morning than in the evening, take note. Or you have better balance when you wear your pink shoe instead of the green one, mark that down. Little difference can change your attitude towards exercise. I
**DISCLAIMER – Please always consult with your GP before making any changes to your lifestyle.