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No more exercise excuses

If something's important to you, chances are you'll make time for it. © iStockphoto.com/Michael Krinke If something's important to you, chances are you'll make time for it. © iStockphoto.com/Michael Krinke

By Karen Asp
 

No time, zero motivation, your dog ate your gym shoes. There are a zillion excuses for not exercising -- but no excuse for making your health such a low priority. Exercise can reduce the risk of a wide range of ailments, everything from arthritis and diabetes to cancer and heart disease. It can also help you lose extra pounds, maintain a healthy weight and relieve stress, all of which are key if you're prone to heartburn. So if you want to start the new year right, put an end to common exercise excuses with these tips from Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter, a California-based sports psychologist and the author of Your Performing Edge.

Excuse No. 1: I don't have time.

If something's important to you, chances are you'll make time for it. So rather than taking your health for granted and sweeping your well-being under the rug, "think about the benefits of exercise and how they'll help change your life," says Dahlkoetter. Then make working out a priority. Schedule exercise into your week, preferably in the morning, as morning exercisers stick to their plans better. And on those days when you're really strapped for time, 10 minutes is better than nothing.

Excuse No. 2: It hurts and then I'm sore afterward.

Start slowly and do half of what you were planning to do until your body adjusts to the demands of exercise. If breathing becomes difficult, slow down. If exercise triggers heartburn, do low-impact activities like cycling and swimming; avoid activities that require bending over or lying down; and lift light, not heavy, weights.  

Excuse No. 3: I'm too tired.

If you think you're too tired to exercise, tell yourself you'll work out for just 10 minutes. Exercise has an energizing effect, notes Dahlkoetter. "Chances are, you'll feel so good after 10 minutes that you'll want to continue," she says.

Excuse No. 4: I can't afford a gym or personal trainer.

You don't need either. Walking or running are inexpensive workouts, and they can be done anywhere. If the weather's bad, you can even walk at an indoor mall. Exercise DVDs run about $15 each (or borrow them from the library for free!). And who says strength-training equipment has to be expensive? Resistance bands, hand weights and stability balls cost less than $25 each.

Excuse No. 5: I don't know how to get started.

Put on a pair of walking shoes and take a walk. Find a workout show on TV. Get an exercise DVD. Sign up at the nearest gym. See? You have everything you need to get started. Now get going!

Karen Asp is a fitness/health writer who contributes to numerous publications, including Fitness, Natural Health, Men's Fitness, Prevention, Self, Shape and Women's Health. She's a contributing editor for Woman's Day and the Fit Travel blogger for AOL. Asp is also a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
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