What's Your Excuse For Not Exercising?
Fairlady|January 2018

‘I’d love to, but…’ Sound familiar? The thing is, you can’t have your excuses and your dream of being fit and healthy. So let’s smash them, one by one!

Anna Rich

I HATE EXERCISE!

‘When you first start exercising, you probably won’t enjoy it,’ says sports scientist Kathleen McQuaide, strategic and media manager of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. ‘Give yourself as much as six weeks not to enjoy it, but to stick at it doggedly. Chances are, after that length of time, you’ll have that eureka moment of “Wow, I actually quite enjoyed that!”, it will become much easier and you’ll start seeing the benefits.

‘We run programmes that take people from not being able to run at all to 10 kays, and it’s often life transforming. It’s not just the fact that they change physiologically that makes participants feel good about themselves, it’s about how much more they realise they’re able to do. Often in the beginning, they say: “I hate this. I cannot do this.” But success has a ripple effect on other areas of their lives – they’re more in control and achieve all kinds of things because they persevered.

‘I’ve seen this time after time. They’re stuck in a relationship or job they’re unhappy with, but as they become physically strong, they become empowered, and their mindset changes to “I can achieve what I want to achieve.” I just love seeing the impact on their lives.

Research shows that once you establish one positive pattern, this ‘keystone habit’ sets you up to effect positive change in other areas.

I HATE THE GYM!

You don’t have to gym to get your exercise in. You can certainly take it outside!’ says Kathy. ‘The physiological benefits to be gained from gymming are similar to those from exercising outdoors, but the gym, while offering a host of benefits, also comes with music, chatter and whirring treadmills, which is not for everyone.’

The effect of leafy green spaces on health is an area that’s attracting growing interest from researchers. Japan is ahead of the game with the concept of forest bathing; its citizens are encouraged to spend time among trees, which has spinoffs for health: lower cortisol levels, pulse rate and blood pressure.

EXERCISE IS A PAIN

‘Really?’ asks Kathy. ‘Or is it just the thought of exercising? If you really do ache all over, please see your doctor.’

If you’ve just started a training programme or you’ve done a strenuous training session, don’t be surprised if you experience soreness and stiffness in your joints and muscles. Expect it to last for several hours, biokineticist Elbé de Villiers and her colleagues at the Biokinetics Centre at Stellenbosch University’s Department of Sport Science explain. ‘You could also experience delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) 24 to 48 hours after the training session, and this could last for three to four days.’

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