Overcoming Barriers
Overcoming Barriers


A barrier is something that keeps you from doing something else.

If you’re not active, it’s likely that you have at least one reason why. Perhaps you’ve never been very active. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll get low blood glucose. Think about what’s keeping you from being active and then check out some of our solutions to the most common barriers to physical activity.

Barrier Solution
I don’t have time to exercise for 30 minutes a day. Think about your day – do you have available time slots?

Do as much as you can. Every step counts. If you’re just starting out, start with 10 minutes a day and add more little by little. Work up to 10 minutes at a time, three times a day. You can also try for 15-minute spurts twice a day.

Make physical activity part of your daily routine. For example, walk or bike to work or to the store, exercise while you watch TV, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do something active with your family to spend time together.

I’ve never been active. Don’t discount your everyday activities. You may do more than you realize, such as housekeeping or mowing the lawn. Being active is more than just “exercise”.

Talk to your doctor about what exercise is safe for you and discuss how you can start.

Starting slowly is important and so is choosing activities that you enjoy. Over time, activity will get easier. You will find that you can increase the amount/intensity of physical activity you do.

I’m too tired after work. Find a time when your energy is highest. You could plan to do something active before work or during the day. For example, you could try walking for 30 minutes during your lunch break a few days each week.

Remember that increasing the amount of physical activity you do will actually increase your energy.

I don’t have the right clothes. Wear anything that’s comfortable as long as you have shoes that fit well and socks that don’t irritate your skin.
I’m too shy to exercise in a group. Choose an activity you can do on your own, such as following along with an aerobics class on TV or going for a walk.

Remember that every-day activities you do on your own like gardening and household chores get you moving and help burn calories.

I don’t want to have sore muscles. Exercise shouldn’t hurt if you go slowly at first. Choose something you can do without getting sore.

Learn how to warm up and cool down.

Stretch before and after you do something active.

I’m afraid I’ll get low blood glucose. If you’re taking a medication that could cause low blood glucose, talk to your health care provider about ways to exercise safely.
Walking hurts my knees. Try chair exercises, swimming, biking, or an elliptical machine. These and other low-impact exercises may be less painful.
It’s too hot outside. If it’s too hot, too cold, or too humid, walk inside a school or a shopping center.

Think of some other activities that are always available regardless of the weather like using a stationary bike, indoor aerobics classes, yoga videos at home, indoor swimming, stair climbing, calisthenics, or dancing.

It’s not safe to walk in my neighborhood. Find an indoor activity, such as an exercise class at a community center.

Think of activities you can do in the safety of your home.

I’m afraid I’ll make my condition worse. Get a checkup before planning your fitness routine. Learn what’s safe for you to do.
I can’t afford to join a fitness center or buy equipment. Do something that doesn’t require fancy equipment, such as walking, jogging, calisthenics, or using cans of food for weights.

Jumping rope and resistance band exercises are other activities that only require one piece of inexpensive equipment.

Look for inexpensive resources in your community like community education programs, park and recreation programs, walking trails, school running tracks, or worksite wellness programs.

Exercise is boring. Find something you enjoy doing.

Mix it up. Try different activities on different days.

Exercise with someone else to keep you company.

If you can, try exercising while listening to music or watching television.

I don’t really know how to exercise. Select activities that require few skills, like climbing stairs, walking, or jogging.

Take a class and develop new skills.

I don’t have the motivation to exercise. Invite a family member or friend to exercise with you on a regular basis. You can also join an exercise group or class in your community.

Remember all of the benefits that come with being physically active.

Make a plan so you decide when you will do each type of activity. Be sure to set realistic goals and make a plan so you know what you are working toward.


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