4 Exercise Barriers You Can Break (and How To Break Them!)

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Updated: 5/5/23

What is one thing that everyone hates to receive, but loves to give out?

If you answered unsolicited advice, you get a digital high five, because who isn’t guilty of that?

If you answered candy corn around Halloween time, we need to become best friends, because we think alike.

If you answered excuses, you’ve just won today’s grand prize! (And, we should still be best friends.)

Why do we make excuses?

Because they make us feel better. Excuses are our way of telling ourselves that there’s a valid reason why we’re not working toward our goals or doing an activity we know would be good for us. Excuses are always a great explanation for NOT doing something.

Sometimes, excuses are warranted.

But more often than not, they are a way for us to get out of doing the things we don’t want to do. Excuses are lies we tell ourselves to justify our behavior. They can really get in the way of taking action for our health.

And when are excuses best put to use? When we create excuses not to exercise.

Let’s get straight to the point and break down some common exercise barriers, so that you can start seeing the results you deserve.

Barrier #1: I don't have the time.

This is my all-time personal favorite, hence its top spot on the list.

I get it! You’re busy. I’m busy. Aren’t we all? In today’s 24/7 world, we’re constantly going—going—going. And it’s hard to get a moment to just. Stop.

However, the American Diabetes Association’s (along with TONS of other accredited programs) physical activity goal for moderate to vigorous activity per week is 150 minutes—otherwise known as 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Thirty minutes a day is 2% of your day. Think about that. Just 2%. You can do this!

Think about how often you binge watch your favorite shows. If you can give up just one episode, you definitely have 30 minutes to spare for exercise. Heck, you could feasibly even watch the show while you exercise!

The key here: prioritizing your exercise.

You make it a priority to be in front of your TV/computer to catch a show. The same concept applies for exercise. No excuses!

Pro tip: You could even break it up into three 10-minute bursts throughout the day if it works better with your schedule. Get creative!

Barrier #2: I don't belong to a gym./The gym scares me.

And this is why the internet might as well be the Eighth Wonder of the New World. If others’ perceptions of you in the gym leaves you feeling hesitant to go, or if you can’t afford a gym membership in your monthly budget, the world wide web is the answer to all of your exercise dilemmas.

The options are bountiful. There are millions of free workout articles and videos online, covering everything from bodyweight circuits to flexibility and yoga to sports-specific conditioning. All of this is available without leaving your home or needing any equipment.

Not to mention, there’s always the great outdoors. Go outside and go for a run! Head to a nearby park to get your strength-train on (just use the playground equipment!).

Get to a state park and enjoy the best nature has to offer while getting in a cardio workout. There are plenty of other ways to exercise outside of the gym.

Get your creative juices flowing and your booty moving!

5 No-Equipment Exercises for a Quick Total-Body Workout

Barrier #3: I'm afraid of hypoglycemia.

In our world of diabetes, this excuse is real and can happen. Those on insulin have all been there—we're trying to better ourselves through exercise and then our wellness plan backfires with a dangerous low.

But we can change this. With just a little bit of insulin knowledge and a planned-out exercise strategy, you’ll be armed and ready for a great workout.

Fast Facts

  • Exercise will typically increase insulin sensitivity by bringing glucose receptors to the surface of the muscle cells. Muscles are saying “feed me, feed me” and want to suck down whatever glucose is available, whether this comes from blood sugar or glucose consumed before a workout (i.e. meal or snack).
  • Eating some carbohydrates before you work out may help if you’ve experienced lows. It will take fine tuning to land on the right regimen for you.

5 Tips for Managing Blood Sugar During Exercise

Other Considerations

Intense exercise can actually cause your body to increase your blood sugar. This can be surprising. There isn’t a set time or intensity where this will occur for all people, but you will want to identify if and in what circumstance it can happen to you. Out of interest, here are different types of exercise:

  • Cardiovascular training in a steady state—this can simply be defined as longer duration exercise meant to strengthen the heart and lung capacity, typically done at a steady state. Example: 2-4 mile run at the same pace.
  • Interval training—this is cardiovascular-based, but there are alternated work and rest periods. Example: 100m sprints or tabata training.
  • Resistance training—otherwise known as strength training, this is an exercise that will strengthen your muscles. Example: lifting weights.

Thank your liver for its glucose dumping to cause the potential blood sugar increase.

Knowing how different levels and intensities of exercise affect you, plus how insulin works can help you devise a strategy to prevent hypos. Whether that includes eating a snack before or adjusting insulin after talking to your doctor or during a workout is your call!

It will take some trial and error, multi-checking or CGM-ing during a workout, and patience to start to understand how your body works.

But you will find a system that works best for you. 

Barrier #4: Exercise is boring and I'm unmotivated.

The goal is to find something YOU enjoy doing! If you dislike doing something, how can you expect to be consistent? It will be tough, and you probably won’t. Plain and simple. Instead, find a few things that you enjoy; you’ll start looking forward to your workouts. 

Finding a friend to join in on your fitness journey is also very helpful for accountability—you can keep each other on top of things on days you don’t feel as motivated or vice versa.

Find Joy in Movement

Just start

In the words of Lao Tzu: "every journey begins with a single step." Use these tips to take that first step towards changing your life!

This article has been clinically reviewed by Hanna Rifkin, RD, CDCES, clinical health coach at One Drop.

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Ben Tzeel RD, CSCS
Jan 07, 2019

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