Jan 23, 2021 | Fitness

Overcoming obstacles to exercise

article originally appeared on helpguide.org
Even when you know that exercise will help you feel better, taking that first step is still easier said than done. Obstacles to exercising are very real—particularly when you’re also struggling with a mental health issue.

Here are some common barriers and how you can get past them.

Feeling exhausted.

When you’re tired, depressed, or stressed, it seems that working out will just make you feel worse. But the truth is that physical activity is a powerful energizer. Studies show that regular exercise can dramatically reduce fatigue and increase your energy levels. If you are really feeling tired, promise yourself a quick, 5-minute walk. Chances are, once you get moving you’ll have more energy and be able to walk for longer.

Feeling overwhelmed.

When you’re stressed or depressed, the thought of adding another obligation to your busy daily schedule can seem overwhelming. Working out just doesn’t seem practical. If you have children, finding childcare while you exercise can also be a big hurdle. However, if you begin thinking of physical activity as a priority (a necessity for your mental well-being), you’ll soon find ways to fit small amounts of exercise into even the busiest schedule.

Feeling hopeless. Even if you’ve never exercised before, you can still find ways to comfortably get active. Start slow with easy, low-impact activities a few minutes each day, such as walking or dancing.

Feeling bad about yourself.

Are you your own worst critic? It’s time to try a new way of thinking about your body. No matter your weight, age or fitness level, there are plenty of others in the same boat. Ask a friend to exercise with you. Accomplishing even the smallest fitness goals will help you gain body confidence and improve how you think about yourself.

Feeling pain.

If you have a disability, severe weight problem, arthritis, or any injury or illness that limits your mobility, talk to your doctor about ways to safely exercise. You shouldn’t ignore pain, but rather do what you can, when you can. Divide your exercise into shorter, more frequent chunks of time if that helps, or try exercising in water to reduce joint or muscle discomfort.

article originally appeared on helpguide.org