Health: Diet and Exercise Wellness Center
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  • Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity

    Understand common barriers to physical activity and create strategies help make physical activity part of your daily life.

  • Given the health benefits of regular physical activity, we might have to ask why two out of three Americans are not active at recommended levels.

    Many technological advances and conveniences that have made our lives easier and less active and many personal variables, including physiological, behavioral and psychological factors, may affect our plans to become more physically active. In fact, the 10 most common reasons adults cite for not adopting more physically active lifestyles are:

    • Do not have enough time to exercise
    • Find it inconvenient to exercise
    • Lack self-motivation
    • Do not find exercise enjoyable
    • Find exercise boring
    • Lack confidence in their ability to be physically active (low self-efficacy)
    • Fear being injured or have been injured recently
    • Lack self-management skills, such as the ability to set personal goals, monitor progress or reward progress toward such goals
    • Lack encouragement, support or companionship from family and friends
    • Do not have parks, sidewalks, bicycle trails or safe and pleasant walking paths convenient to their homes or offices
    Understanding common barriers to physical activity and creating strategies to overcome them may help you make physical activity part of your daily life.

    Suggestions for Overcoming Physical Activity Barriers

    Lack of Time:
    • Identify available time slots. Monitor your daily activities for one week. Identify at least three 30-minute time slots you could use for physical activity.
    • Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, organize school activities around physical activity, walk the dog, exercise while you watch TV, park farther away from your destination, etc.
    • Select activities requiring minimal time, such as walking, jogging or stair-climbing.
    Social Influence:
    • Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and family. Ask them to support your efforts.
    • Invite friends and family members to exercise with you. Plan social activities involving exercise.
    • Develop new friendships with physically active people. Join a group, such as the YMCA or a hiking club.
    Lack of Energy:
    • Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel energetic.
    • Convince yourself that if you give it a chance, physical activity will increase your energy level; then try it.
    Lack of Motivation:
    • Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule and write it on your calendar.
    • Invite a friend to exercise with you on a regular basis and write it on both your calendars.
    • Join an exercise group or class.
    Fear of Injury:
    • Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury.
    • Learn how to exercise appropriately considering your age, fitness level, skill level and health status.
    • Choose activities involving minimum risk.
    Lack of Skill:
    • Select activities requiring no new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs or jogging.
    • Take a class to develop new skills.
    Lack of Resources:
    • Select activities that require minimal facilities or equipment, such as walking, jogging, jumping rope or calisthenics.
    • Identify inexpensive, convenient resources available in your community (community education programs, park and recreation programs, worksite programs, etc.).
    Weather Conditions:
    • Develop a set of regular activities that are always available regardless of weather. Some ideas: indoor cycling, aerobic dance, indoor swimming, calisthenics, stair climbing, rope skipping, mall walking, dancing, gymnasium games, etc.
    • Put a jump rope in your suitcase and jump rope.
    • Walk the halls and climb the stairs in hotels.
    • Stay in places with swimming pools or exercise facilities.
    • Join the YMCA or YWCA (ask about reciprocal membership agreements).
    • Visit the local shopping mall and walk for half an hour or more.
    Family Obligations:
    • Trade babysitting time with a friend, neighbor or family member who also has small children.
    • Exercise with the kids go for a walk together, play tag or other running games, get an aerobic dance or exercise tape for kids (there are several on the market) and exercise together. You can spend time together and still get your exercise.
    • Jump rope, do calisthenics, ride a stationary bicycle or use other home gymnasium equipment while the kids are busy playing or sleeping.
    • Try to exercise when the kids are not around (e.g., during school hours or their nap time).
    Retirement Years:
    • Look upon your retirement as an opportunity to become more active instead of less. Spend more time gardening, walking the dog and playing with your grandchildren. Children with short legs and grandparents with slower gaits are often great walking partners.
    • Learn a new skill you've always been interested in, such as ballroom dancing, square dancing or swimming.
    • Now that you have the time, make regular physical activity a part of every day. Go for a walk every morning or every evening before dinner. Treat yourself to an exercise bike and ride every day while reading a favorite book or magazine.

  • Used with permission. ©2015 Walmart. All Rights Reserved. 

    Important Walmart Disclaimer: All content provided is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a medical professional. Consult your medical professional for guidance before changing or undertaking any diet, exercise or health program, or before using any prescription or over-the-counter drug. Neither the author nor assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. Walmart does not sponsor, recommend or endorse any third party, product, service or information provided on this site. If you have dietary restrictions and/or allergies, always read the ingredient list carefully for all products prior to consumption. If the ingredient list is not available on the product, check with the product manufacturer, or do not consume the product.

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  • Dieting & Exercise Are Easier at Walmart
    Whether you want to lose weight or start working out, our Diet & Exercise Wellness Shop can help. Find great prices on the best in diet and weight management, nutritional bars and sports nutrition. Get expert information and tips, or check out the Diet & Exercise Buying Guide to find the best products for your needs. You can even make an investment in your health by shopping for bikes, exercise equipment or bathroom scales.