There’s nothing quite like a good excuse.

We start from the time we start pre-school by telling mom we’re too sick to go color and eat graham crackers. Then we get older and find excuses to cover our late homework. Then we get older and find excuses to skip class. Then work. Then working out.

The funny thing is, excuses don’t fool anyone. They only come back to haunt us later and then, ultimately lead to more excuses down the road.

If you’ve been thinking of working out, but keep making excuses, here’s a clear message: Stop. Whatever you’ve been continuously telling yourself to get out of working out is probably more work than the actual exercising itself.

1)    “I am way too busy/tired/stressed!”

Exercise is proven to reduce stress, increase energy, get your heart pumping and keep your brain functioning at optimum performance throughout the day. Even the distress you feel over not working out melts away once you hit the gym.

And, while exercising can take a lot of time, you don’t have to spend 2 hours at the gym per workout. Save longer workouts for days when your schedule permits, and otherwise just do what you can. Even if you only have 30 minutes, a half-hour workout is far better than nothing. If you don’t have much time, just pump up the intensity of your session to get the most out of every workout!

2)    “I just moved to a new city!” or “My gym closed!”

Relocating can be a stressful experience and wasting time finding a gym will only add to your stress. Look for a gym at the same time you’re looking for a new house and movers. As you’re planning your entire move, think about things you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In the same fashion, if your gym closes or moves, don’t waste time finding a replacement. You could sit around for weeks making the same excuses, but in the end you’re only hurting yourself. Be proactive about finding a new gym after a move or in the even that your old gym closes. You’ll be much happier you did!

3)    “I can’t afford a gym membership!”

Yes, gym memberships can be ridiculously expensive and a monumental waste of money, especially if you never use it. That being said, people sometimes forget that gyms aren’t the only way to get exercise.

Take advantage of the warmer months by getting outside and taking advantage of nature’s treadmill. Walking or running outdoors is far more exciting than working out in a gym. Biking is also a great way to get out, see the world, run errands, get form point A to B, and get exercise in the process. Swimming, hiking, roller blading or even playing whiffle ball in your backyard are fun ways to enjoy being outdoors and stay healthy in the meantime.

Intramural sports leagues are also awesome avenues for exercise and meeting new people during winter months.

4)    “I’m not in good enough shape to exercise!”

Believe it or not, people often avoid exercising because they feel they aren’t in good enough shape. And, while health and fitness experts advise staying within your bounds when starting an exercise regimen, there are workouts for people at every fitness level. A person new to exercise should certainly not try to run a marathon, but walking at moderate speed to build muscle and endurance is great exercise for a beginner. As long as you’re within your target heart rate for your age and maintain it for 30-60 minutes, your body is getting the workout it needs. Regardless of your fitness level, there’s always something you can do!

So, save your excuses for something else and go take advantage of the gym membership you’re already paying for. You, your body and your decreased stress level will thank you for it!

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