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Barriers to Exercise and How to Overcome ThemBarriers to Exercise and How to Overcome Them


Woman at a gym staring at her phone

We've identified six common barriers that keep you from exercising.


Since you can't add more minutes to the day, you must make exercise a priority on your to-do list. Research continues to support that three bouts of exercise lasting at least 10 minutes each are as effective as exercising for a full 30 minutes at one time. Climb the stairs for 10 minutes before work, take a 10-minute walk on your lunch break, and do a combination of squats, push-ups, and crunches for 10 minutes at night.


Don't get sucked into the idea that you need special gear or a gym membership to commit to exercise. Many quick, high-intensity circuit workouts require no equipment, and they can be done for free in your living room. If you would like to have a few tools around the house to alter your routine, there are plenty of inexpensive equipment options for home exercise.


Starting a new activity can be intimidating, but there is so much information available to help build your knowledge for safe and effective exercise. Take some time to read about proper warm-ups, cool-downs, exercise form, and selecting the right activity for your fitness level. The exercise section of the MyFoodDiary blog is a great place to start.


If you are uncomfortable with your body or you feel awkward and uncoordinated when exercising, being active around others may make you self-conscious. Don’t let this concern lead to skipped workouts. Remember that those exercising around you are there for the same reason you are: to get healthier. Start by exercising at home until you feel more comfortable being outside or going to the gym. Stick with beginner groups until you feel ready to join more advanced exercisers.


If you dislike exercise, it’s time to stop labeling your activity as exercise. Don’t set yourself up for failure by planning rigorous sessions. Find activities that require movement, but lack the rigidness of a session at the gym. Join a recreational sports team, go hiking, take dance classes, or go skating. As long as you are moving and your heart rate is elevated, you are engaging in exercise. The key is to choose activities that you enjoy.


It’s rare to find an activity that you will continue to find interesting for years. If you start feeling burned out, switch things up. You might find that mixing other activities into your exercise plan will renew your interest in the original activity. However, pushing through an activity that truly bores you will only lead to skipped workouts.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
Eat better. Feel better. MyFoodDiary Categories Exercise
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