Routinely, enthusiastic individuals daydream of their new fitness plan to become a runner. Often this dream continues in their minds while numerous excuses to not run keep getting in the way.
Continue reading to see if you relate to one or more of the following excuses, and consider playing devil’s advocate to get yourself out running.
1. I’m too tired
Just try. Physical activity helps boost energy. The hard part can be digging deep to find the motivation to get started. Once you get started and are are taking deep breaths, the increase in oxygen will fuel your energy within minutes. If fatigue cannot be beat with exercise then consider seeing your health care practitioner to ensure there is not a medical reason for your fatigue, such as anemia or depression.
2. There’s no time in the day
Make time. Running has both physical and emotional benefits. These include cardiovascular benefits, weight reduction, and support with stress management to name a few. Your health must be a priority and making time for exercise is one of those priorities. Start by making a small change. For example, set your alarm just twenty minutes earlier and get a small run in before work or your day begins. Getting your run completed in the morning will provide an added boost of energy to get your day started, and won’t leave you worrying about when you’ll exercise for the rest of the day.
3. I don’t have the right running shoes
Buy some. Although a good pair of running shoes may cost a few extra dollars, the cost involved pales in comparison to what a gym membership or other exercise equipment would cost. Look for clearance sales online. Most people are not bothered by wearing last year’s model. What is important is that you have a supportive shoe that fits well.
4. My knees hurt
See you health care provider before starting a new exercise program to ensure it is safe for you. Painful knees are often a result of osteoarthritis (OA) that, eventually, most everyone will have to some degree as the cushion of cartilage in the knee wears down over time.
Keeping the surrounding muscles strong, such as the large quadriceps muscles in the upper legs, can help reduce the pressure on the knee joint. Weight reduction can also take the pressure off the knees. Consider seeing a physiotherapist for exercises to build strength around the knees. Painful knees can also be caused by weak ligaments that surround the knee. A knee brace may be helpful to help provide further support to the knee. However a medical practitioner should be seen for a correct diagnosis. More on how to protect your knees here.
5. My hips hurt
As above, see your health care provider. Painful hips are also caused by osteoarthritis. While exercise is an important part of management for arthritis, your health care provider may help you decide if running is recommended for you. For those suffering with severe arthritis running in a warm water pool rather than on land can be a therapeutic option.
6. Running hurts my breasts (for women)
Support, support, and support. A quality sports bra that provides good support goes the distance, in this case, literally.
7. Running is boring
Make it interesting. Boredom can be beat when running by going with a partner, listening to music, or choosing different running routes on a regular basis. Trail running keeps the mind occupied by not only enjoying the scenery but also by keeping your mind focused on watching the ground to not trip over any roots or rocks.
8. It’s too cold outside
Bundle up. This includes protecting your head with a light hat. Running stores may sell lightweight and breathable running hats but even a wool hat will do. Pay attention that the hat can protect your ears as cold wind on the ears can be painful. Runners can even run in snow by attaching crampons to the bottoms of their shoes. Anything is possible.
9. My kids need me at home
Take them with you. If kids are young, pop them into a running stroller and off you go. They will likely love the fresh air, the sights, and the steady rhythm of the stroller. If they are older, have them bike or scooter beside you; or, if you can motivate them, have them run with you. Getting out to exercise together not only sets a great example of physical fitness but also creates time and memories together.
10. I can’t run more than five minutes
Start slow. Five minutes is a great start. Try alternating periods of running with short periods of walking. Gradually your physical conditioning will improve and you will find you no longer need the walk breaks and can keep running.
Running is an energizing, affordable, and convenient way to get physically fit. The next time you come up with an excuse not to run, remember the above recommendations to get yourself out there. As with any new fitness plan, speak with your health care provider before getting started to ensure running is right for you.
Powell, K. E., & Pratt, M. (1996). Physical activity and health. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 313(7050), 126.
The Arthritis Society. arthritis.ca/manage-arthritis/living-well-with-arthritis/physical-activity-and-exercise