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Beat the Top 8 Exercise Excuses

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Excuses 2-5

2. I'm too busy
Many people don't exercise because they feel weighed down with work, but a good sweat session will make you more productive on the job. You'll have less stress, a clearer head and a better perspective. "You can actually get more work done after your workout than before," says Mark Anshel, Ph.D., a performance counselor with LGE Performance Systems, a corporate training center in Orlando, Florida.

A recent study at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggested that people who thought they were too busy to exercise really did have the time but chose not to make it a priority. Figure out how to incorporate physical activity into your workday. Try exercising at lunchtime, when many of us can steal away without missing too many calls or meetings.

3. I'll never look like Jennifer Lopez, so why bother?
"Comparing yourself with others is unrealistic and often leads to feelings of frustration, which can sabotage your workouts," says Richard Van Haveren, Ph.D., a sport psychologist at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Instead, set challenging but attainable goals, then focus on how you're going to achieve them, for example, by running two miles a day three days a week. "In this case, running is something specific that you know you can do, whereas looking like a certain celebrity may not be."

4. I'm too sore from yesterday's workout
Light exercise the day after an intense workout may help you recover faster, says Priscilla M. Clarkson, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. When you lift weights, you cause microtears in your muscles that then mend, making the muscle even stronger. Exercise, she says, probably increases blood flow, nourishing the muscles with oxygen and removing waste products. A recent study at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, shows that people who engaged in light activity the day after a strenuous workout experienced less soreness than those who didn't.

5. I feel as if I'm getting sick
Feeling under the weather doesn't have to keep you from the gym. Research from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, shows that working out with a head cold isn't harmful. The study, which divided volunteers with colds into two groups—one that exercised every other day and the other not at all—found no difference in the duration or severity of volunteers' symptoms. "While exercise may not improve or shorten your cold, it certainly won't make it any worse," says lead study author Thomas Weidner, Ph.D.

Next:  Excuses 6-8

 

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