Solutions for the most common exercise excuses

Solutions for the most common exercise excuses

Below are solutions for four common exercise excuses.

Common exercise excuses include:

  • “I don’t have time.”
  • “I don’t have enough energy.” (“I’m too tired.”)
  • “I’m not motivated.”
  • “I hate exercise.” or “Exercise is boring.”

EXCUSE: “I don’t have time.”


1. Make the time to exercise

If you’re looking for extra time in your day, you probably won’t find any. You’ll have to make time to exercise by either giving something up, delegating a task, or spending your time more efficiently.

  • What can you remove from your schedule or simply give up?
  • What can you delegate or put on the “back burner”?
  • Where can you spend your time more efficiently?
2. Focus on 10 minutes of exercise at a time

If you don’t have time for 30 or 60 minutes of continuous exercise, focus on just 10 minutes at a time.

Ten minutes of aerobic exercise multiple times during the day has been shown to be just as effective in producing fitness and weight loss results when compared to long periods of exercise of the same total duration. (For example, three 10-minute exercise sessions throughout the day compared to 30 minutes of continuous exercise).

3. Exercise first thing in the morning

Exercise first thing in the morning before you get busy with work, emails, and other distractions or obligations.

4. Multitask

Combine physical activity with other tasks. For example:

Be creative and brainstorm ways to add movement to your day whether you’re at home, work, or running errands. Think of exercise as a running tally of steps or minutes of movement throughout the day.

EXCUSE: “I don’t have enough energy.” (“I’m too tired.”)


1. Exercise when you have the most energy

Think about when you generally have the most energy during the day and plan your exercise around that time.

2. Exercise for one minute and see if you’re still too tired

Get out of bed, off the couch, or away from your desk and start walking for just one minute. (You don’t have to change into exercise clothes.) Once that minute is up, determine if you’re really too tired to exercise.

The hardest part of exercise is generally convincing yourself to start. Once you start, it’s much easier to continue. Bust your exercise excuses with committing to just one minute of exercise.

3. Exercise at the same time each day

Exercise around the same time each day so that it starts to become a habit. Like any other habit, it will become something you just do without thinking. Your body will get used to exercise at particular time and expect it.

4. Use exercise to gain energy

Many people feel energized after exercising. See if this is the case for you. Whether you take a 5-minute walk or a 30-minute run, it might help you feel physically and mentally energized.

5. Stay hydrated

Drink enough water throughout the day. Being dehydrated can reduce your motivation and energy to exercise.

EXCUSE: “I’m not motivated.”


1. Recruit a workout buddy

Make plans to exercise with somebody else. Set a specific day, time, and location for your workout. You’re more likely to stick to your exercise plan when you know somebody is relying on you to show up.

2. Reward yourself for exercise

Reward yourself for exercising as an extra incentive to follow through. Be sure to use non-food rewards and don’t reward yourself with time off of exercise. Other rules for rewards

3. Put money on the line

Give a friend or family member a certain amount of money and earn it back after you exercise. If you don’t follow through with exercise, your friend or family member gets to keep the money. Other ways to hold yourself accountable for exercise

4. Set small, realistic goals

Set small and realistic exercise goals. If your exercise goal is unrealistic and overwhelming, you might not be motivated to achieve it. Instead you’ll probably procrastinate. (How to the BEST goals)

EXCUSE: “I hate exercise.” or “Exercise is boring.”


1. Distract yourself
2. Try a new type of physical activity

Try new activities and exercises to find something you enjoy.  Options include:

  • Sports or sports leagues
  • Dancing or dance lessons
  • Group exercise classes
  • Exercise videos
  • Martial arts
  • Outdoor activities
  • Recreational activities (badminton, kickball, Frisbee)
  • Water activities (swimming, boogie boarding)
  • Exercise machines (treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical)

The more you enjoy something, the more likely you are to do it. If you can’t think of an exercise you currently enjoy or might enjoy, think about something you enjoyed in the past and try it again.

3. Change something

If you think exercise is boring, change something about your current exercise routine (who, what, when, and/or where).

  • Who: Change who you exercise with.
  • What: Change the type of exercise you get.
  • When: Change the time you exercise.
  • Where: Change the location of your exercise. Change the route you walk, bike, or run.
4. Start interval training

Add variety to your regular routine by interval training. Intervals will give you something else to focus on besides just watching the time slowly tick by. Benefits of interval training

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Stephanie Averkamp

About the Author was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

Stephanie Averkamp

Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...