Exercise is an essential component to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle throughout the lifespan.

If you are able to identify the barriers to your participation in exercise then you are able to overcome the barriers. Firstly you need to make exercise a priority and be a part of your lifestyle.

Below are suggestions to assist overcoming some common barriers.

Remind yourself of the benefits of exercise and the alternative path if you do not and this is often a strong motivator to start or keep active. Once you experience the benefits this is often an even bigger motivator to continue so give yourself a chance.

Incorporating exercise into your family lifestyle enables you and your whole family to gain the benefits of exercise together and ingrains a healthy lifestyle. Be creative and make it work with them.

Exercise can also be a time for YOU, to have time out and focus on looking after yourself. A healthier you will also benefit everyone around you.

Ensure to set exercise sessions into your weekly routine that way you are making time for it.  Set an alarm, take a walk during lunch break, ride to work, part walk to work/home, set a session on the way or way home from work.

Rain, hail or shine…adapt, be prepared, rug up, wear protective clothing.

Making exercise social will also assist motivation. Organise to regularly meet a friend/s for a walk/ride/swim, join a group exercise session or sporting club.

Add variety into your weekly exercise so you look forward to different sessions, stay inspired and your body is gaining different fitness benefits.

Be brave a try a new activity and it may very well give you a new lease of life. You do not have to be good at something to do it and you will only get better with trying it and persisting at it.

Communicating your exercise goals and where you need support with your support network will assist to get them on board and help you out where possible.

Starting at a low level, persisting and gradually progressing will increase your physical capacities and enable you to do more, find it easier and more enjoyable. It is never too late to start and gain the benefits.

If you have a medical condition or an injury exercise may be just what you need to help you manage it and get you back on track to functioning more normally again. It may be worth speaking with an Exercise Physiologist, who is trained to treat specific medical conditions/injuries.

If you lack self confidence get some support from an exercise professional that will assist getting you started and provide the support and guidance you need in a non-intimidating environment.

Inexpensive forms of exercise include a brisk walking, body weight gym programs and incidental exercise. Make the most of the natural resources around you like driving to different a location and put yourself in an environment that motivates you to exercise.

It is your responsibility to take action and look after your health and promote healthy lifestyle behaviors to others around you. Set your goals, prioritise, overcome any barriers, seek support if needed, find what motivates you, do it and enjoy the many benefits.

Katie Cole

ESSA Accredited Exercise Physiologist