10 top excuses people use to avoid exercise—part 1

Man stopping to look at his watch during his morning run

Image: GeorgeRudy/Bigstock.com

Being healthy for retirement means getting healthy before retirement. In this 7-part series, health researcher and exercise guru Darren Morton talks about the top 10 excuses people use to not exercise.

1. I don’t have time to exercise

Lack of time is often reported as the major barrier to an active life. While it’s true that the pace of life today seems faster than ever, let’s be honest. Do you find time to watch TV and surf the Internet? Do you find time to eat regularly?

Time really isn’t the problem for most people; it’s prioritising.

Steven Covey—author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First—has an excellent analogy that represents how we prioritise our time. He starts with an empty bucket, which represents the time we have available in a day.

He then places some big rocks in the bucket that represent the truly important things we should put in our day, such as time with family and friends; time for personal growth; and time for physical activity.

He then poses a question, ‘Is the bucket full?’

Of course it isn’t. There are spaces between the big rocks, so he fills the spaces with smaller rocks that represent lesser important but necessary things we must get into our day: work; meetings; dropping the kids off at soccer practice; and so on.

He asks again, ‘Is the bucket full?’

Clearly, there are still gaps between the smaller rocks. Then, by shaking the bucket and moving it around he manages to fill even the smallest cracks with sand, representing the many unimportant time-wasters that often jam pack our days.

He then asks, ‘What is the point of this analogy?’

It’s tempting to think that the takeaway message is to shuffle our timetable so we can pack more and more into our day. No, this is not the lesson.

Covey explains that if we don’t put the big rocks in first, we will never get them in.

Time for physical activity needs to be one of the big rocks placed in your bucket first. Deciding before the day starts when you will be active greatly increases your commitment to do it.

That means planning ahead.

If your lack of time can’t be resolved by better prioritising the truly important things in life—relationships and positive health behaviours such as physical activity—you’re too busy and something needs to change.

If you don’t choose to make changes, you may be forced to by the consequences of your poor lifestyle practices. We all have hectic periods in life, but living at a frantic pace is not sustainable in the long term.

In the pursuit of living more, taking time for regular physical activity is non-negotiable. Besides, it need not be time intensive—just capturing 10-minute chunks throughout the day works wonders.

Darren Morton is the lead researcher at the Lifestyle Research Centre at Avondale College of Higher Education and the author of Live More Active.

Category: Physical Health

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Retire Notes