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If you have ever missed a workout because you are feeling tired, sore, or unenergetic, you certainly aren’t alone. However, sometimes the biggest barriers to exercise and fitness are not physical, but psychological. In this article, we will discuss a few of the most common mental barriers to an active lifestyle. We will also explore a few of their most common causes, along with some tried-and-true solutions.
Low Self Motivation
Do you have trouble motivating yourself to get to the gym? If you find that being an exercise self-starter just isn’t for you, consider finding a workout buddy or joining a fitness group. This is a fantastic way of giving yourself a bit more accountability, while also making your workouts more fun and engaging.
Fear of Being Injured
Anyone who has ever suffered in exercise-related injury can probably relate to this common concern. The fear of re-injuring yourself is certainly valid. However, it is also scientifically undeniable that, for most people, the best path to long-term health and wellness is regular exercise. If you have been injured in the past and are worried about how continuing to live an active lifestyle could impact you, we recommend pursuing a low-impact exercise such as HIIT elliptical biking.
Poor Self Image
Millions of Americans, both men, and women struggle with body image. For these people, heading to a public fitness space such as a gym can be an especially intimidating experience. Once again, going with a friend is a great way of overcoming this psychological barrier. You should also keep in mind that everyone at the gym was once a beginner, and some may have even struggled with the same insecurities as you. If none of these techniques for reframing or overcoming this issue is effective, you may wish to speak with a therapist or another licensed professional.
Lack of Confidence
Another barrier frequently faced by beginners is a lack of self-confidence. Barbell weights can look awfully heavy, and modern workout equipment can look intimidatingly complex. Fortunately, many gyms offer a free consultation with a fitness coach for new sign-ups. This can be a great way of helping you to overcome the initial doubts you experience when beginning a workout regimen. (Also, keep in mind that there is a wealth of online fitness resources that can teach you the skills you need to succeed with confidence!)
Do you have trouble staying focused and following through on the goals you set for yourself? If so, then self-management skills may be your biggest psychological barrier to working out. If this describes you, you may wish to read a bit on goal setting. Here’s a Top Fitness Mag article on goal setting that you may find useful.
Inability to Enjoy Exercise
Some people love working out. For others, it is sheer torture. If you find your workouts difficult to enjoy, consider pursuing a different kind of activity. Playing pickup basketball at the YMCA can be a much more enjoyable cardio exercise than running on a treadmill, for example. Rock climbing can be a more intriguing strength exercise than lifting barbells. Get creative, and you just may find a workout you can get passionate about!