Barriers to physical activity Think about the game you just played. Notice the difference between your current physical activity and what you would like to be doing. Is something getting in the way? We call these “barriers to physical activity;” and, for many of us, these can be obstacles to reaching our goals. We’re going to discuss some of the most common physical activity barriers. Think of your own barriers and how you might remove them, or work around them, to reach your goals. #1: I feel self-conscious about my weight and being seen by others. Being physically active makes you feel healthy and good about yourself almost immediately. Once you feel good, it’s easy not to worry so much about how you look. You’ll be surprised how supportive people will be! #2: I’ve never been athletic, so I can’t be active and I might hurt myself like I did the last time. Everybody can be active! Start slowly with something that you might like. If you joined a gym before and hated it, try something different like walking with a friend or taking dance lessons. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete or a gym rat to be successful! #3: I’m not motivated to be active and besides, I’m not in the mood! When you exercise, your mood almost always improves. Once you start moving you usually become motivated to do more because it make you feel so good and have more energy! Next time you’re in a bad mood, try some physical activity and you’ll be amazed! #4: The weather is either too hot or too cold for me to exercise. You don’t have to exercise outdoors. There are lots of activities you can do inside. You can walk at the mall, get an exercise video from the local library, use items around the house for strength training, join a local gym, or put on some music and dance! #5: I don’t have time to be physically active. Every bit of activity helps. Spreading exercise over the day in several 10-minute bouts works just as well as exercising all at once. Add physical activity to the other daily routines. For example, walk to the store, take the stairs, park further away and walk, exercise at your desk or while watching TV. #6: Being active is too expensive for my budget! There are many physical activities you can do at little or no cost. Be creative with the resources you already have! #7: I already have pain. Being active just makes it worse. In most cases, regular physical activity reduces pain over time. #8: Nobody cares if I lose weight. Ask for help from family and friends. Find a physical activity buddy. #9: I have a stressful job and a stressful home life and I just don’t have extra time for physical activity. This does not have to stop you from being physically active. In fact, physical activity is a good way to relieve some stress. If you need more help, ask your primary care provider. Over the next week, think of some physical activity barriers you’d like to remove and make a plan to remove them.