It's old news that exercising is the single best way to spark up your weight loss efforts. The activity perks up your metabolism, and eats up more calories. In addition, the more you exercise, the better the effect. Exercising builds muscle mass, which is denser and more compact than fat. That means your body has to expend more effort to pump blood through it, and it requires more nutrients to keep it healthy. The end result? Even at rest, your body naturally burns more calories.
Unfortunately, the prospect of exercising tends to elicit groans from most people. There's all the logistics to work out - the time, equipment, expense and the sheer, utter boringness of it all. Negative thinking about exercise can sabotage all your good intentions. Here's a list of answers for some of the most commonly used excuses not to exercise.
I don't have time to exercise!
Exercise could be one of the most important things you'll do for your health today. MAKE time to exercise. If you're doing traditional workouts - move those weights and mats right out into the family room and make use of your television time. Instead of flopping down in a chair while you watch the news or your favorite show, be active. Run in place, do leg lifts or heft weights. Use time in your car to tighten and tone muscles with isometric tummy tighteners. Walk up the stairs instead of using the elevator. Exercise doesn't have to be a solid hour at the gym. Anything that revs up your motors is great for your body.
I don't have the right equipment at home.
You don't need equipment to exercise. A brisk walk around the block is good for you - and burns over 200 calories. Vacuuming your carpets can burn nearly as much. Flip on your radio or pop in your favorite high-energy CD and dance. Don't fool yourself into thinking that your 'exercise' has to be a carefully planned workout to work all the right muscles in the right order with the right tension. Exercise means being active. Just do it.
I can't afford a membership to the gym.
If you'd rather exercise at the gym (and have access to their fitness machines, whirlpools, swimming pool and trainers), there are a lot of ways to make it more affordable. Check with your health insurance company to see if they offer incentives. Most of the major health insurance companies, including Blue Cross, cover part or all of fitness club memberships as part of your benefits. If yours doesn't, or if you don't have health insurance, call your local YMCA or YWCA. Most offer 'scholarships' or sliding fee scales for memberships to their facilities.
But exercise is such a chore!
Says who? Make getting your daily exercise fun. Play a game. Go dancing. Grab a few friends for a weekend hike in the state park. Exercise doesn't have to be routine. Stop thinking of it as a chore and start thinking of it as recreation. You'll be amazed what a difference it makes.