9 mental blocks and how to overcome them

We all go through this. You make sure to exercise regularly, but when it’s time to move, Your mind throws up a barrage of excuses: I’m so tired, it’s cold, I don’t want to spend money on the gym.

in mental block They may explain why achieving that objective becomes so difficult. So how do you get rid of them?

Those in the know say the first step is to stop thinking of such obstacles as “excuses.”

Simply using that word may indicate that you failed and you should feel bad about your willpower. Research has shown that self-criticism and shame can prevent someone from achieving their goals, said Katie Milkman, a behavioral scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book how to change,

Instead, rethink how real obstacles Why don’t you exercise and make a plan to overcome them, Milkman suggests. “Most of us need not only a goal, but also specific steps and strategies to follow,” he warned.

I asked a variety of professionals with solid backgrounds in exercise science and psychology to share their best tips for overcoming the common reasons people struggle to develop an exercise habit. Here are their time-tested solutions.

I have no time

If you face a busy daily schedule, Try starting little by little, proposed by Kate Baird, an exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Instead of spending 30 to 60 minutes several times a week, plan small activities several times throughout the day. “If you can’t do much, doing something will help you In many ways,” he highlighted.

For example, take a few laps around the block during lunch, he suggested, or a series of squats Between your meetings. Ideally, these bursts should include the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week and 30 to 60 minutes of total-body strength training.

Or you can multitask: Try walking or using resistance bands while talking on the phone or watching TV, he said. (The experts I consulted were moving around during the interview.)

It is important to start slowly. Photo Shutterstock.

If you want a specific training window, Baird recommends that you take a close look at your calendar and ask yourself: Is there anything I can remove or change to get a dose of movement? Can you try setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier?

I am ashamed

If the idea of ​​exercising in front of other people makes you want to dig yourself into a hole, know that you have options, said Kelly Roberts, a running coach and body-positive fitness influencer in New York. “The gym is a really intimidating place“Even for experienced athletes, he said.

For some people, one solution may be to exercise at home. But for others, Roberts recommends taking some steps to deal with feelings of shame.

First, remember why you’re there, whether it’s to feel strong or to train for a race. return to connect with your goals The influencer explained that it can help you feel more secure.

Second, designate a friend or family member to send messages at this time so they can support you when you feel unsafe.

Third, try a different gym, class, or group. If a place doesn’t help you feel comfortable, it’s OK to leave, Kelly Roberts said. “Some places are more welcoming than others,” he said.

Recent years have seen an explosion in fitness offerings for people who have historically not felt welcome in gyms because of their gender or racial identity, body size or athletic ability, such as running clubs in which they are seniors. They admit citizens and the gyms are open to LGBTQ communities.

I don’t want to spend

You don’t need a fancy gym to get fit, says Grayson Wickham, a New York City physical therapist. “There are a lot of things you can do with your body weight,” he said. “This is really wonderful.”

Plank, push-ups, lunges and squatsIn addition, other exercises can help build strength, and regular stretching can increase flexibility.

For aerobic exercise, you can do jumping jacks or consider spending some weight on jumping rope. Wickham reminded, if you have access to a safe outdoor space, you can walk, run or do strength training outside, and also get the added benefit of enjoying some of your time in nature. To get expert guidance, download a free training app.

it’s too cold or too hot

Change in temperature is not a bad thing. Think of the season change as an opportunity to try something new or incorporate more variety into your routine, said Dr. Edward Phillips, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

“Maybe the middle of winter is a good time to step up your strength training and decide to work on your core, or take a Pilates class, or do some yoga,” she said. summer, consider change race for swimming,

“The idea is not necessarily to say, ‘But I’m committed to running 5 kilometers a day, six days a week, forever,'” the doctor advised.

For those who do not want to go to the gym, exercising at home is an option. Photo Shutterstock,

As physiotherapist Wickham points out, as long as it’s safe to exercise outside and you’re wearing appropriate clothing for the weather, sometimes training in temperatures that are less than ideal can build mental and emotional strength.

“In addition to completing your training, you’ll have access to more mental challenges,” he said, “and that will make you better and more prepared for anything in life.”

i don’t have space

If you have room for a yoga mat, you’ve got plenty of room to get a good workout, Phillips explained. “You can get stronger, be in better shape and be more flexible in just a few square meters,” he said, “as long as you can move your arms and legs comfortably without hitting walls or furniture.”

In addition to yoga, Wickham said, you can do jump rope, do bodyweight exercises, lift dumbbells and kettlebells, stretch and use resistance bands.

He suggested that if exercising in small spaces is too intimidating for you, consider an outdoor space that you can turn into your gym.

i have to endure pain

It may seem counterintuitive, but people who struggle with chronic muscle or joint discomfort, such as low back pain, neck pain, or pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, are likely to benefit from physical activity. help them improveNoted Edward Phillips.

“Chronic pain is terrible, but for many people, inactivity makes that pain worse,” he said. Although exercise may not relieve all pain, it can help you handle daily activities more easily.

“If you do more, You will be able to do even morePhillips said. “It’s not a treatment, it’s an administration.” And often, as we become stronger and fitter, the threshold that causes us pain also increases.

If you suffer from any type of chronic pain and want to be more active, talk to a doctor or exercise science expert who can guide you on the safest and most effective activities for your condition.

I feel permanent tiredness

When even the word “exercise” makes you feel tired, any experienced expert recommends meeting your body in different ways.

“I think the first practical resource to address this is to ask yourself: Are you doing your exercise at the best time of day or week to get energy?” Baird said. If you know you have more energy first thing in the morning and usually feel tired by the end of the afternoon, try exercise quickly every day,

If getting started is a barrier for you, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, who is also a professor at Stanford University, recommends starting with Mini workout aimed at improving mood,

“Exercising while singing a song is great because songs change your mood,” she said. “Do something that reminds you that walking makes you feel good.”

Remember that according to most qualified opinions, exercise does not have to be intense to “work.” Stretch, do yoga, do Pilates, walk and jog The speed with which you can carry on a conversation is an excellent option. And finally, do your best to make sure you get enough sleep.

Very simple: I don’t like it

If you still haven’t found a form of movement you enjoy, keep looking. “Exercise” doesn’t mean going to the gym; Professor McGonigal stressed that this could be something as simple as dancing alone in the living room or chasing after your children or grandchildren. Basically, moving in any way that makes you happy.

Plus, research has found that when we prioritize fun on the go, we’re more likely to stay connected. keeping it up over timeKatie Milkman argued.

In the meantime, if you need an instant boost to get moving, try a trick she called “Temptation Pack”, where you have to reserve an engaging audiobook, podcast or television series to enjoy while you exercise and only while you exercise. Their own research shows that putting it into practice can keep you coming back for more.

I’m afraid of getting hurt

Phillips stressed that exercising comes with some risks, but keep in mind that the benefits of physical activity outweigh them. On the other hand, “a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of harmful health effects by 100%.”

If you’re just exercising, recovering from an injury, or haven’t been active in a long time, start slowly, urges Dr. Tamanna Singh, co-director of the Center for Sports Cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic.

The best way to avoid injury move slowly, a lot of things very quickly, even without wanting to. “Build confidence and use that confidence as a motivator to continue exercising over the long term,” he preaches.

For added peace of mind, consult competent sports medicine experts who can advise on the safest and most effective approach for your body.

Translation: Román García Azcarete

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