Michele Vaughan's tone arm workout:
Exercises you can do with the following equipment:
With stability ball:
With the bands:
With medicine balls:
With small weights:
Despite knowledge that exercise is important to the overall well-being and health of their bodies, many men and women avoid exercise consistently due to various perceived mental and physical barriers. These barriers listed below prevent people from exercising but can be easily overcome by taking a different approach.
- Not Enough Time
Many people put off exercise because they do not feel that they have enough time. However, you do not have to schedule one or two hours of time in one large chunk every day to get the exercise you need. Simply moving at regular intervals is a good way to stay active especially on busy days.
Here are a few suggestions:
>> Walk for 10 minutes before lunch or 10 minutes after.
>> Exercise while you watch television or are waiting for your dinner in the oven. You can use an exercise bike or a treadmill at home or at the gym. If you don't have access to equipment, you can watch a Pilates, yoga, or other fitness video and exercise with it.
>> Combine activities. For example, if you are meeting up with a friend, walk over to meet them or include walking in your activity.
>> Regularly walk with friends, family, and colleagues. Encourage movement.
>> Park further away from your destination so that you can include walking in your day-to-day activities.
>> Prioritize what you have to do every day so that you have enough time for exercise every day.
>> Start out your day with some exercise. Aim for 10 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity every day.
>> Keep your gym bag ready with shoes, socks, and clothes in your car or at work so that you can just grab it and go whenever you want.
>> Get up earlier in the day. Start out with just 2 mornings and work out for 10 minutes. Slowly, you can add in another day.
>> Look at your rituals. Try to combine exercise into them such as your Saturday or Sunday morning/afternoon activities. Make them fun like a visit to a rock-climbing gym, hiking outdoors, swimming in a lake or pool, going to a yoga or dance class, etc.
- Feeling Bored
Repetitive exercise can easily feel boring especially if you are alone. However it does not have to be that way.
>> Change your routine, including different exercises such as swimming, cycling, and walking. Cross training helps you condition different muscles.
>> Meet up with friends and neighbors to boost each other up and enjoy group activities.
>> Look at your exercise differently. Approach it as an activity you enjoy.
>> Join an exercise class or a sports group.
- Fear of Failure & Perceived Poor Health
Due to various reasons, many people have perceptions of their own poor health that prevents them from moving forward. It might be as simple as a fear of injuring themselves from lack of practice, feeling too overweight, or having some medical concerns. You may have exercised in the past and failed to reach the goals you desired and gave up. Try to figure out what went wrong, learn from your mistakes, and try again. Whatever you do, don't give up!
Remember why you're exercising. Use your personal fitness goals as motivation - and reward yourself as you meet your goals.
>> Begin slowly with a simple program of just walking. You can add more activity, as you get comfortable. Start out small and build in intensity.
>> Start with an exercise program geared to beginners, which will teach you all the basics so that you feel confident and know what you are doing.
>> Meet with a personal trainer to teach you exercises and customize them for your individual needs.
>> Have realistic goals such as 20 minutes of exercise versus 1 hour for 3 days a week.
>> Use your goals as motivation. Reward yourself when you meet your goals. Remember that change often happens slowly but then will be long lasting.
Many people feel self-conscious when they exercise, afraid of what other people might think of them. Working out is by far the most physically rewarding activity you can do for yourself.
>> Instead of worrying about what other people think, spend that energy in dwelling on all the positive things you will experience in your new fit body.
>> Focus on the strength you will gain and the increase in energy level.
>> Be gentle with yourself.
>> Give yourself encouragement for increasing stamina.
>> Start out solo using an exercise video or buying a treadmill or stationary bicycle at home. As you exercise, you will gain confidence and feel more comfortable with exercising with others.
- Feeling Tired
Long days and nights, stress at home or work, feeling sick, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition are common reasons for feeling tired. When you feel excessively tired and possibly sick, you should rest by all means. However if it is a general fatigue or one that sets in as your day goes by, try to change your pattern.
>> Find a person to exercise with to help you stay motivated and get out, whether it is a family member, friend, partner, or dog.
>> Choose a group activity that you enjoy such as yoga, group sports, tai chi, ballroom dancing etc that you find fun, reduces your stress, and gets you moving.
>> Meet with a personal trainer to guide you and monitor your progress.
>> Consume less alcohol, sugar, and caffeine, which can disrupt your energy and sleep patterns.
>> Drink more water and stretch frequently.
>> Enjoy healthy snacks in between meals and before and after exercising such as fruit, yogurt, and energy bars.
>> Get enough sleep so that you have energy to exercise the next day.
>> Keep a pair of shoes by your desk so that you can just get up and go for a brisk walk whenever you want.
- Not Being Athletic
Some people fear that they cannot exercise because they are not naturally athletic. Old memories of being in the gym in elementary, middle, or high school and not enjoying those activities bother them.
>> Begin with something simple like a walk daily.
>> Meet up with others to help you motivate to work out.
>> Take the pressure off. Instead of focusing on being an athlete, think about all the positive changes you are bringing to yourself and the improvements you see in your body and your mind.
- Lack of Equipment/Access to Gym
Being a member of a gym has many rewards such as fitness classes, access to equipment, and possibly training with a personal fitness consultant. However, you can still exercise without a gym membership.
>> Strength-train at home with resistance bands, small weights, or even substituting milk jugs filled with sand or water or canned goods for weights.
>> Use your own body weight to do push-ups and squats.
>> Exercise with exercise videos for yoga, dance aerobics, kickboxing, or other.
>> Share videos with friends or check out different types of exercise videos at the video rental store or the library.
>> Begin a walking group with friends and neighbors.
>> Use the stairs as much as possible.
- Fear of Triggering Pain or Injury
Sometimes, you may have a preexisting medical condition or are recovering from an injury or accident.
>> Talk to your doctor or therapist to learn specific and targeted exercises to help you strengthen areas that are injured while still participating in a fitness program for your overall health.
>> Aim for a few minutes of activity and slowly add in time and distance, giving yourself permission to begin at a low rate and to continue forward slowly at your own pace, thereby reducing the risk of injury while building strength.
- Lack of Support from Friends or Family
Sometimes, the demands of family life, friendships, and partnerships can take their toll on your health, even unconsciously. Tell your loved ones of your new goal to be healthy and get fit.
>> Join up for joint classes with your partner, friends, or kids.
>> Incorporate physical activity into your daily regimen such as games with your kids, going for walks, etc.
>> Be adventurous. Try out something new together such as a different kind of workout, going to a rock climbing gym, swimming outdoors together, etc.
>> Find opportunities to walk while you are doing activities.
- Feeling Lazy
Not exercising is like any other ingrained habit. If you pay attention, you can slowly change it. For many people, the idea of exercise makes them want to curl up and hide. They feel too lazy to get up off the couch.
>> Begin with realistic expectations. Do not expect yourself to be an athlete overnight. Start out with a walk every day and keep it up till you feel tired. Just take it one day at a time.
>> Pay attention to when you have energy. Workout during those times.
>> Schedule your exercise into your daily planner so it is part of your life as much as meeting your friends for dinner, going to a business conference, or visiting the doctor.
>> Tell your friends, partner, and family so that they will encourage you in your fitness goals.
- Not Prepared
Exercising does not require a lot of preparation but failure to do a few simple things can make it more daunting or difficult at times.
Also, if you plan on exercising outdoors, be sure to dress appropriately and exercise in well-lit areas. Choose clothes that will help you handle changes in weather and that are suitable for the climate such as warm and dry clothes in cold weather and lighter fabrics for ventilation in the heat. You can always work out indoors at a gym or at home. Be sure to drink enough water, carry a water bottle, and stretch before engaging in any cardiovascular activity. Stay out of the hot sun on warm days and if you are exercising in snowy or icy conditions, be sure to layer up with enough warm clothes to keep you protected while your body adjusts. Walk and move with confidence. By following these tips, you will notice a significant improvement in your exercise and health habits, while boosting your energy and feeling good about yourself.
Michele is a fitness expert with a Master of Science in Physical Education and Dance, and 28 years of industry teaching experience. A former professional dancer and choreographer in New York and Seattle, she has owned Balance since 1995 and was a principle in Twist Conditioning, San Francisco.