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  • Writer's picturePeter George

Why Do I Find It Hard To Stick To Exercise?

Have you ever made a new year's resolution or say "I'll start exercising from next Monday"? You are not alone, many of us decide to start exercising and for the first few weeks we do really well and then eventually we slow down and give up. Despite the fact that we know what benefits exercise can provide us, majority of us regularly don't do enough to stay healthy. So why is it so hard?

How much exercise do I need to do?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that participating in at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. Did you know 50% of Australian adults are not sufficiently participating in exercise? Regular exercise can improve both your mental and musculoskeletal health, it can also reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions.

With that being said, we obviously know how important exercise is for us, so why cant we stick with it? There are plenty of reasons that impact our ability to exercise and these change for each individuals. Below are a few of the main reasons why people don't stick to exercise and how to get past them:

Lack of Motivation

One of the most common reasons for not exercising, motivation is often low when exercise doesn't mean much to your or you don't personally value it. Think to yourself, why am I exercising? what does exercise mean to me? Is it because you want to improve your mental health or improve your physical health condition? Is there a goal you are trying to achieve such as running a marathon or keeping up with the kids? Whatever your reason is, it needs to be meaningful to you. Last thing to do is exercise because you think its what you should be doing.

Next thing to do is set goals to strive towards. You should consider both short and long term goals. The purpose of short term goals are to help you stay on track to achieve your long term goals. When setting out your goals you want to ensure they are SMART goals. S- Specific M- Measurable A- Achievable R- Relevant T- Time Bound

Ensure you review your goals regularly as this will keep you motivated and set new goals once you achieve your goals!

Lack Of Time

Another common reason for not being able to adhere to exercise, whether work, family or studies get in the way, usually exercise is the first thing to go to the bottom of our to do list. However exercise is very easy to add into our every day lives, a couple examples would be to take the stairs instead of the lift, walk instead of public transport or doing exercises while watching tv.

A very popular form of exercise is high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT are usually consisting of exercise session that last anywhere from 20-45 mins of high intensity exercises. HIIT exercises doesn't mean exercising to your maximal capacity but working to increase your heart rate and breathing. If you would like to undertake HIIT training but you have underlying health conditions you should consult your GP or Accredited Exercise Physiologist before attempting HIIT.

Exercise is not fun

Think about what you enjoy, there are many ways to be physically active. You don't need to force yourself into an activity if you don't enjoy it. Exercise is more than running and lifting weights, did you know there are video games such as Just Dance and phone apps that will get you exercising! Try doing different activities until you find one that sticks. You could also exercise with a friend or group, studies have shown that exercising with people are able to adhere more successfully.

I've tried and failed in the past

You are not alone, it is common to start a diet or exercise regime and drop off- don't beat yourself up.

Best to make a plan:

1- Time

When will you exercise, before work? after work? Schedule exercise into your week the same as you would with a Doctors appointment. Pick a time when you know you are the most energetic.

2-Where At home? In the Gym? Park?

3-How will you exercise

Do you need equipment or to go to the gym?

Still finding it hard?

Contact our Accredited Exercise Physiologist at who can set you on the right path, whether that is helping you find what type of exercise is best for you or helping you set out SMART goals.

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