In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

March 11, 2014

Poor excuses for avoiding exercise

By Elizabeth Harty

Everyone has hobbies. Some people like to read. Some like to sew. Or watch birds. Or weave baskets under water. Others make fitness and exercise their hobby. An even more popular hobby, however, may be making up excuses for not exercising. Some of us truly excel at this. The good folks at the Mayo Clinic News Network thankfully make a hobby of sharing helpful tips and advice for people like us, such as this recent story about overcoming common fitness barriers. The story gives practical strategies to get beyond the excuses. Perhaps you've used some of these excuses yourself?



You're very busy. You say you don’t have enough time to exercise. Mayo's experts recommend being creative to get the most out of your time. How? Take time for short spurts of exercise throughout the day, or get up earlier a couple of mornings during the week to add extra time for exercise. Or, you could revamp your regular activities to include fitness. For example, instead of catching a Saturday matinee (unless, of course, Grease 2 is showing), think about a bike ride or rock climbing lessons.

Exercise is boring. Or maybe your approach to exercise is boring? You can turn things around by varying your exercise with activities you enjoy, as long as it keeps you moving. Or try team sports, like volleyball or pickup basketball, where you can get exercise and be social.

You’re too tired after work. This is a popular excuse. But you may have noticed that fitness clubs are open in the evening, and they seem to be busy. But if you just can't find it in yourself, Mayo experts suggest morning exercise (which apparently goes with the suggestion about getting up earlier) or walking during your lunch hour.

The mere thought of exercise makes you tired. Okay, we'll be honest and fess up to the fact that the mere thought of exercise makes us tired, too. Mayo experts suggest that it might help to set realistic goals. Like rather than deciding you will run a marathon, start with a walk around the block and build slowly from there. Another suggestion is to make your calendar your fitness buddy by scheduling exercise like you would a meeting. Or, (this is our own, because we need extra incentive) consider giving yourself a small reward -- even a mini-treat -- at the end of a walk. (We would not, however, suggest taking things as far they do with the .05K at the Bacon Chase.)

So next time you're straining to come up with a good excuse to avoid the possibility of straining yourself, just remember there are practical solutions to getting beyond your own barriers. You just have to take that first step.

Before you step away, find some time to leave a comment or two below.

Tags: Mayo Clinic News Network, Practice story

Here’s my excuse – I’m morbidly obese and felt inspired one day (a year or so ago) to sign up for a class at DAHLC. It was designed for people like me, to start easing into an exercise routine. Unfortunately, registration had closed and it would not be offered again until 3 months later. By then, I’d lost my enthusiasm. I often think obesity should be treated like any other addiction. When I say I need help, get me into a program and don’t tell me to wait 3 months. I’d like to see something at DAHLC like the IAP program at Generose. It’s 3 strategies (one per week) that keep cycling so you can join the program at any time. Of course, maybe DAHLC has a program like that now, but I’ve been too busy, tired, and bored to check. It’s my problem, I know, so no bashing comments, please.


Hey Bonnie,
I’ve been very over weight in the past, but years ago I started with a 20 minute walk, that over time turned into a run. 80 pounds later I ran my first marathon. I really want to encourage you to not give up. I believe like you that over eating is indeed an addiction. If not for the support of an office mate at the time I’m sure I would have just given up. The weather is going to be getting nice really soon. Maybe you could walk a couple blocks?


Original article’s tone was encouraging and positive.
In the Loop article is condescending and snotty.


Sorry, Jay. I guess we were writing for the differently motivated. (Like us.) Glad you read the original article. I hope it was encouraging to you.

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