Karin Smeds/Follo Images/Getty Images By Jessica Smith
We all have reasons why we aren't working out. So we asked the experts for advice on how to find the time and motivation to get started
Yes, You Can Get Moving!
Only 48 percent of American adults exercise enough to improve their health, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So why aren't the remaining 52 percent of us moving on a regular basis? Whether you have no time or just feel completely overwhelmed, we've got a realistic solution for every obstacle you face. So get ready to get moving (and make sure you check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program).
"I just don't have the time!"
Yup, this is probably the most common excuse that keeps us from working out. Yet most of us find time to spend an average of four and a half hours in front of the TV every day. Trade just 30 minutes of TV watching for a workout (or workout while you watch) and you'll quickly realize how much better you feel.
"If you don't make time for fitness now, you'll make time for illness later," says Tamilee Webb, a certified fitness instructor and star of the Classic Buns of Steel DVD series. "We think it takes a lot of time to do something physically healthy for ourselves, but it really only takes consistency," she adds. You don't even have to spend an hour -- or even 30-minutes -- exercising to reap the rewards. Try 10 minute stints three times over the course of your day. A 2010 study at Massachusetts General Hospital found that the benefits of just 10 minutes can last for an hour after you're done -- a little exercise can burn more fat and work even harder to control your blood sugar levels.
Get started: Focus on easy ways to sneak exercise into your daily routine. If you just can't give up a TV show, fit in some fitness during commercial breaks by marching in place. You can also squeeze in three mini-workout sessions, no gym time required! Start with this 2-minute routine from Webb: Do 10 modified push-ups, 10 crunches, 10 triceps dips and 10 step-ups. Do this in the morning before breakfast, in the afternoon and again in the evening for a total body workout that takes less than six minutes (total!) Start exercising three days a week, and work up to adding more. Taking those extra steps could help you shed an extra 15 pounds this year!
"I'm too embarrassed to be seen exercising."
"No one is looking at you other than you, and that is exactly what everyone else is doing -- looking at themselves!" If you do feel too self-conscious to venture into a gym or studio, Webb recommends beginning at home. "Start in your own home where you don't have to worry about anybody. There are tons of DVDs you can try in the privacy of your own home." Here are 56 of our favorite workout DVDs to help get you started. Check out our reviews and find the workout that's right for you.
And remember, exercise can be done without workout clothes. Can you walk to do your errands? If not, park in the furthest spot from where you want to go, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and, if you're not buying in bulk, carry your groceries to your car instead of using a cart, says Webb. Or put on some music and clean your house. No one will know you're exercising -- including you!
Get started: Try our Total Body Shaper workout in the privacy of your own home. Do it up to three days a week, adding in your favorite cardio exercise on alternating days, like jumping rope, bouncing on a mini-trampoline or playing tag with the kids. When you feel more comfortable, try taking your exercise routine outside: Take a brisk walk or ride your bike. Invite a friend to join you to help slowly shed your inhibitions.
"I have no clue where to start and I get too overwhelmed when I think about working out."
Instead of thinking too much about how to start, just get moving. Decide first what you want to do -- start walking a few days a week, try a few Zumba classes or do some laps at your local swimming pool. That's it. Now go do it!
Get started: To feel less overwhelmed, Webb suggests teaming up with a friend who exercises on a regular basis to help motivate and guide you. Join her for a workout or ask for advice on getting started. "Better yet, find [the right place] for what you want to do -- group classes, personal training," Webb says, and do an activity for 15-30 minutes, three days a week. If you prefer the buddy system, team up with a friend who may also be new to exercise and book a personal training session. You can share the fee and the workout. After several weeks, see if you feel ready to add another activity to your weekly routine, like an exercise DVD or a new class.
"I need to lose weight first."
This one is kind of like saying, "I need to clean my house before my housekeeper comes," says Webb. Exercise is what helps weight loss, so waiting until you've shed a few pounds to get active won't do your body any favors. And while some activities can cause more wear and tear on your body if you're heavier, there are still plenty of ways to get moving without injury.
Webb recommends taking a "before" picture of yourself (we know, it's not exactly a fun thing to do) to mark your starting point. As hard as it may be to face, looking at that photo may be the kick-start you need to get in gear. And, as you snap that photo, think about how proud you will be of the after pictures you're going to take, says Webb. Consider using an app like Watch Me Change - Weight Loss to collect your pictures. After a few weeks you watch a time lapse video of how your body is changing -- something that is harder to see on a day-to-day basis.
Get started: Start with a low-impact activity that's easy on the joints, such as walking or swimming, to make exercise easy on your body as you begin losing weight. Pair your workouts with a nutritious, healthy diet that helps you cut calories to start losing weight. Need some ideas? Here are 30 simple tips to get weight loss results the healthy way.
Plan to get your body in motion for just 10 minutes a day, every day this week. You can always go longer if you feel up for more, but just focus on getting in the habit of moving for now. In addition, aim to make one small change to your eating habits each day (nothing drastic). After two to three weeks, consider adding two or three 15-30 minutes workout sessions each week.