Overcoming Exercise Obstacles & Barriers – Sustaining Behavior Change

by Marsha Hudnall

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Managing exercise obstacles and barriers | Keeping Your Fitness FocusExercise Rx for Barriers & Emergencies

You can count on it: The best-made plans can-and will-get interrupted. Unforeseen disruptions impact our vacation, dinner, and carpooling plans…and they make squeezing exercise into our busy lives even more challenging. Skipping exercise once in awhile isn’t the end of the world, but when life gets crazy, an open mind can help you problem solve and think “opportunity” instead of “disaster.”

Ideas when things don’t go as planned:

GLITCH: You’re traveling and you forgot your SpriTube.
PLAN: Stop by the hotel gift shop or a nearby convenience store to pick up a pair of inexpensive pantyhose. Use it in place of a SpriTube.

GLITCH: A thunderstorm threatens to rain out your fitness walk.
PLAN: Open the doors and windows on the protected side of your house, and do your own mini-aerobics or step class while you watch the show!

GLITCH: Your child or loved one is sick, and you can’t get to the gym.
PLAN: Pop in a video or devise your own aerobic routine of walking the stairs, doing jumping jacks, marching in place and doing knee lifts. Or do strength training moves that don’t require any equipment, such as wall pushups, squats and abdominal crunches — without leaving home.

GLITCH: Your doctor/ hairdresser/ daughter’s soccer practice is running late again.
PLAN: Walk around the block or field a few times; circle back every 10 minutes to check if she’s ready for you.

GLITCH: The gym at the hotel is sparse and smelly, but the pool looks inviting.
PLAN: You don’t have to be a skilled swimmer or remember a formal aquacize routine to get a wonderfully challenging workout; walking or jogging in the water will do just fine. If you didn’t bring your suit, wear your regular exercise clothes or cover up with a T-shirt.

GLITCH: You’re stuck at the office.
PLAN: If you’re in meetings, do heel and toe raises and butt squeezes. Practice sitting properly by keeping your abdominal muscles engaged during the PowerPoint presentation. At your desk, take mini-breaks to do bicep curls or leg extensions with your SpriTube or Dynaband. Finish your day by walking a few flights of stairs.

GLITCH: Your in-laws are visiting.
PLAN: Show them the sights-on foot. For example, plan an outing to a historical or art museum where you can walk around, up and down, while they peruse.

No matter the disruption to your plans, don’t panic!

Try not to dwell on what you can’t do. Instead, focus on what you can do, even if it’s not the very best or your favorite way to exercise. Going through the world with knees soft is not only good for your joints, but it also serves as a positive philosophy for coping with life’s unexpected challenges.

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