SoulCare® Practices

Overcoming the mental barriers to physical movement

We all know that exercise is good for our physical and mental health, but many of us struggle to make it a regular part of our routine. Whether it's lack of time, motivation, or accessibility, there are a number of barriers that can make it difficult to prioritize exercise. While we can empathize with those barriers, let's look at some practical ways to overcome them.

Barrier: Lack of Time

One of the most common barriers to exercise is lack of time. We lead busy lives, and it can be difficult to find time to fit in a workout. However, it's important to remember that even small amounts of movement or exercise can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing. Here are some tips for overcoming this barrier:

  • Schedule it: Treat exercise like any other appointment or meeting, and schedule it into your calendar. This will help you prioritize it and make it a non-negotiable part of your day.
  • Break it up: You don't need to do a full workout all at once. Break it up into smaller chunks throughout the day, such as stretching for 10-minutes in the morning, going on a walk at lunch, or doing jumping jacks while you watch tv in the evening.
  • Multitask: Look for ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing squats while brushing your teeth, or doing lunges while waiting for the microwave.

Barrier: Lack of Motivation

Another common barrier to exercise is lack of motivation. It can be hard to get excited about physical activity, especially if you're feeling tired or stressed. Here are some tips for overcoming this barrier:

  • Find an accountability partner: Asking someone to exercise with you (whether in-person or virtually) can help keep you motivated and accountable. Invite a friend, coworker, or family member to join you or check in on your progress throughout the week.
  • Try something new: If you're feeling bored with your current exercise routine, try something new! Sign up for a dance class, try a new workout video, or take your yoga practice outdoors.
  • Reward yourself: Set small goals for yourself and reward yourself when you achieve them! Remember, movement and exercise is not a punishment.

Barrier: Lack of Accessibility

Finally, lack of accessibility can be a barrier to exercise. Whether it's due to physical limitations or lack of access to a gym, it can be difficult to find ways to exercise that work for you. Here are some tips for overcoming this barrier:

  • Get creative: Look for ways to move your body that work within your limitations. If you have trouble with your knees, you might enjoy swimming over a more intense interval workout. If you can't make it to a gym or get a full workout in, put on your favorite playlist as you fold laundry or unload the dishwasher! 
  • Work out at home: You don't need a gym membership to get in a good workout! There are plenty of ways to move or exercise at home with little to no equipment, such as using books as makeshift weights, going for a walk or run outside, dancing around the kitchen with your kids, or doing yard work.
  • Look into community resources: Look for community resources that offer free or low-cost exercise opportunities. Check with your local community center or YMCA for classes or programs that fit your needs.

Remember, movement and exercise don't have to be a chore. With a little creativity and motivation, you can find ways to incorporate movement into your daily routine that work for you. Prioritizing movement is an important step towards improving your mental wellbeing.

P.S. This month, Forte is taking on a 30-day movement challenge! Interested in joining us? Download our 30-day Guide here