Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Conquer Your Exercise Barriers!

It's guest post day! I'm really excited about this guest post because it is written by my high school BFF, Nancy Klotz! We reconnected in the last year or so and I found out that Nancy is a certified personal trainer and lifestyle and weight management coach (writer, great all around person, mom, wife, educator...)! Who better to share wonderful insights with us regarding health and exercise? None other!

I'm thrilled that Nancy took the time to share her insights with us in the midst of teaching classes, maintaining her website, Naper Fit, writing posts for her blog, NaperFit Fitness Blog, writing feature articles for examiner.com and working on her first novel!

Without further ado- because I could really go on and on and on about Nancy- I gladly share with you Nancy's take on how to:

Conquer Your Barriers to Exercise!

Excuses, excuses. We all have them for one reason or another. But what are your excuses for not exercising? While ‘lack of time’ is the most common excuse for not exercising, some people don’t even consider exercising at all. Research has indicated that the benefits from physical activity are tremendous: 

Health Benefits!
  • helps control weight 
  • can prevent or manage chronic health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, arthritis, high cholesterol, osteoporosis 
  • reduces stress – boosts your mood 
  • gives you energy – improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your system 
  • increases performance – improves your muscle tone and endurance 
  • improves physical appearance with toned muscles (helps you fit better in your clothes!)


Barriers can be real or perceived. They can be environmental or internal to your self. Although some individuals may not even think about exercising, there is another group that is still considering the pros and cons of starting to add physical activity to their lives. The benefits are the pros. Some examples of the cons are:

  • lack of time
  • location of fitness facilities
  • financial limitations
  • lack of social support
  • family demands
  • no interest (boring!)
  • childcare
  • weather
  • medical issues or injuries
  • anxiety about appearance or ability (like comparing yourself to others)
  • intimidation of surroundings at the gym (like not knowing what to do or how things work)
  • personal thoughts and feelings about physical discomfort (like sweat, increasing heart rate, muscle soreness)
  • belief in your ability to succeed (like past failures and negative experiences)
  • beliefs about exercise that may or may not be true
Then there is the group of people who start exercising and then stop. Making a permanent lifestyle change is difficult! Research indicates that 50 to 65% of people who start an exercise program stop within the first three to six months of participating. 


First, you need to be ready to try to add or keep physical activity in your life.

Make sure your healthcare provider approves of your plan.

You need to make some goals. Start out small and simple, like walk for 10 minutes a day, five days a week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website defines physical activity guidelines for adults. There are some good ideas on how to build up your goals and what types of exercises to do. “10 minutes at a time is fine.”

Next, you need to reduce or eliminate your barriers.

Finally, you need to plan for overcoming lapses or obstacles that will stop you from sticking to your goals.

Conquering Barriers

There are many ways to turn a negative into a positive. Sometimes you need to be creative. Here are ideas for conquering barriers.

  • Take a walk with your children.
  • Take a hike with your family.
  • Pack a gym bag and leave it by the door where you go out in the morning.
  • Leave an extra set of work out clothes in your car.
  • Join a gym that is on your way to work or on your way coming home from work.
  • Try different forms of exercise to discover what you like doing best.
  • Walk or jog in your neighborhood.
  • Take a bike ride with friends or family.
  • Try exercise videos or follow an exercise program on TV.
  • Just move! If you are sitting in front of the TV get up during commercials and try some step touches, knee lifts, or hamstring curls.
  • Find a role model using someone who has successfully done what you are trying to do.
  • Find a partner to socialize with, motivate each other, and get each other to show up when planned.
  • Start slow so that you become familiar with any physical discomfort you may have.
  • Define goals that you can succeed at to develop confidence in your abilities.
  • Ask a trainer, instructor, or friend what the ‘rules’ of the gym are. Try a group fitness class and learn how to use equipment. You can observe and explore.
Lapses and Obstacles

Many of life’s events can cause you to go off your program, like, vacation, holidays, illness, someone in the family needing care. Plan ahead if you can. Be aware that many people slip up or relapse. This is not a failure. It’s time to identify what caused the slip and to recognize where you are in the scheme of things – like are you not exercising at all or back to twice a week? 

Find social support. Can someone in your family support you? Is there a group at work or the fitness center that you can exercise with? Use your partner or role model to help get you back on track. Can you self regulate yourself? Try keeping a record of all of your achievements.

Time to drop the excuses and do something wonderful for your self. Get active!

Links for Nancy Klotz:


  1. I enjoyed this post too. It makes one stop and actually think through the barriers and the better reasons 'Why.'

  2. It's so easy to throw up barriers to exercise. I wonder why we can find so many other things to do instead? I try to remember how good it feels - during and after - as a way to keep motivated. Saying I 'should' isn't much incentive. That just sounds like my mother talking.

  3. Betty- Thanks! I'm like you about the walking! I could have walked so much more than 5 miles today, but my bladder had other plans. LOL

    Judy- I agree. She really covered just about every excuse under the sun. And gave good ideas on what to do!

    Stephanie- It certainly is. I did it for YEARS! It kind of does sound like my mother too---LOL

  4. Great post. It made me re-think some of my excuses.
    I'm a new follower.
    Kim :)

  5. Kim- Thanks! I'm so glad it was inspiring for you- Nancy will be glad also!

    Megan-Excellent! So glad Nancy did this for us!

  6. Everybody needs to hear this - I love this post! You feel so much better when you exercise regularly. I have a past being in a rowing team, and when I stopped rowing 2004 I took up running. For me it has become a habit, if I don't exercise I feel that there's something missing, especially when I have a job sitting in an office all day.

    Enjoy your evening!

  7. Great guest post! It's funny because I think for so long I blamed everyone else for my being fat, when it was all me - I didn't see another pair of hands pull a frozen pizza out of the freezer and put it in the oven and feed it to me! :D


  8. Eva- I have become the same way with my walks every day. We had rain yesterday and today but I just waited it out and got my walk in anyway!

    Biz- I blamed others too. Yep, no one was shoving the pizza in my mouth either.

  9. Words to live by for sure.

    Sadly like most everyone else I'm a zealot for awhile, then change back to my old self soon enough.

  10. What an excellent post, Nancy! You have covered all of the usual obstacles plus some and you write most persuasively. The problem with me, however, is that I'm one of those who is fully aware that I ought to be doing some exercise, but I just lack the crucial inward push. I know I have no excuse not to make a start and I actually did commit myself to a gym routine a few years back and held out for about 2 years. I felt good and looked good, but after that, it all stopped. If I'm perfectly honest, I know it's just butt idleness that trips me up.

    I have been very impressed with Pam's determination to lose weight and to get fit and she's really done wonders, and stuck to it! She's an inspiration, for sure, but still, I sit on the sidelines not taking action myself.

  11. Michele- I used to be like that too. I hope I've turned a corner this time!

    Desiree-That's pretty much what used to trip me up too! LOL Once you get your mindset you'll do it. Even walking around your neighborhood is good. And all that gardening you do counts for exercise too.

  12. You have a very smart friend there. Thank you for having her be a guest on your blog.
    Take care Pam and have a great afternoon. Blessings my friend.

  13. Love this post. Boy have I had a million excuses over the years. But no more!


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