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There are lots of things that can stand in the way of being physically active. Here’s a list of some common excuses.

Remember, everyone is different, with different abilities, knowledge, interests and free time. All of these barriers can be overcome by setting a realistic fitness goal for you, choosing activities you like to do, and asking for the support of friends and professionals when you need it.

  • The fitness facility doesn’t have convenient program times or doesn’t fit my cultural practices.

  • There aren’t any parks, sidewalks, bicycle trails or safe places to be active near where I live or work.

  • Don’t know where to get information about safe physical activity.

  • Exercising is boring, hard or painful.

  • I have health problems or an injury.

  • The first time I tried it, it was too difficult and not enough fun.

  • No time.

  • No energy.

  • No motivation.

  • Programs, facilities, transportation or exercise professionals are too expensive.

  • Don’t have a friend or family member to exercise with.

  • The fitness facility isn’t nearby or it’s on a road that’s too busy for safe walking or cycling.

  • Not enough support from family/ friends.

  • Don’t have the confidence to do it.

  • Don’t have the right clothes or skills.

  • The fitness facility doesn’t make me feel welcome or comfortable.

  • Bad weather.

  • I’m out of town a lot for my job.

  • I’m changing jobs or moving.

Click to view the PDF version of this document: PDF File

There are lots of things that can stand  in the way of being physically active. But every barrier can be overcome by setting a realistic fitness goal for you, choosing activities you like to do, and asking for the support of friends and professionals when you need it.

Here's a list of some things you can do to put fitness within reach.

  • Choose activities that you enjoy and make you feel good. Try new activities—explore and have fun!

  • Make time for activity.

  • Make it part of every day. Add it into your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther way from a building entrance, have a walking meeting, bike to work or be active while you watch TV.

  • Plan ahead. Put fitness on your calendar, daily planner or electronic organizer. Set an alarm.

  • Put up post-it notes and send emails to yourself as reminders.

  • Choose activities that don't take much time, like walking or stair climbing.

  • Look at your day planner and find 10-30 minute time slots you can use for activity.

  • Set a short and long term goal. Goals should be specific, flexible, realistic and right for you.

  • Sign an activity contract or make yourself a training schedule.

  • Keep track of your physical activity. Use a logbook, heart rate monitor or pedometer (an instrument that measures the distance you walk, in steps).

  • Reward yourself when you reach a goal. Celebrate with a new, more exciting goal (like another bike race, but in a different community this time)  or with a treat that encourages you to be active (like new running shoes).

  • Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury.

  • Start with an activity level that's comfortable for you then slowly increase it. Gradually increase the FITT of the activity. F=Frequency (the number of times per week you're active). I=Intensity (how much effort you put into an activity). T=Time (how long you do an activity). T=Type (the kind of activity you do).

  • Do activities that don't need new skills, facilities or equipment (like walking, jogging, climbing stairs).


handsUpThere are lots of things that can stand in the way of being physically active. But these barriers can be overcome by making some changes in your beliefs and behaviors. Understanding the 5 Stages of Change will help you move toward your fitness goals. Figure out which stage you're at, then move on to the next one.

1. Pre-contemplation

  • You haven't even started thinking about finding time for activity in your busy schedule. You don't have any plans to become active. You aren't totally aware of the benefits or importance of physical activity. You don't pay attention to your activity habits. You think that staying the same is a lot more attractive than changing.

  • What to do: Learn why physical activity is important. Focus on the benefits of being active. Read, take a class, talk to your doctor, family member or an exercise professional. Call the Physical Activity Line.

2. Contemplation

  • You know you need to be active, but you have lots of excuses, like your job is too busy or the weather is bad. You're thinking about becoming more active, but not for 6 months or so. You have low self-confidence and aren't sure you can do it.

  • What to do: Move some of the excuses out of the way. Make one small change to your activity level and lifestyle. Increase your chances of becoming active by dealing with your doubt. Focus on the benefits of being active. Believe that you can reach your activity goal.

3. Preparation

  • You've bought a new pair of runners or an exercise DVD. You're doing some activity but not the recommended amount (30 minutes of moderate activity on at least 5 days per week, or at least 20 minutes of vigorous activity on  -5 days per week). You're planning on becoming active in the next month. You've tried being active in the past year.

  • What to do: Plan an exercise program and keep it simple. Set a target date and goals. Focus on the benefits of being more active. Find the information and equipment you need and start planning some rewards and support.

4. Action

  • You've already worked up a sweat to your favourite DVD or met your best friend for a walk. You've been meeting the recommended amount of physical activity for less than 6 months. You're at high risk of a setback.

  • What to do: Prepare for potential setbacks. Keep track of your activity and plan for challenges. Reward yourself and get support.

5. Maintenance

  • You've consistently met your activity goals for at least 6 months. You're confident, know how to deal with setbacks and don't need as much support as you did before.

  • What to do: Have a support system. Prepare for a potential setback. Change and add variety to your activity routine. Keep rewarding yourself.

Click to view the PDF version of this document:PDF File

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