We all want to try and stay fit and exercise as much as we can. However, there are times where certain health problems come along and stop us from working out as much as we would like. In this post, I’ve gone through three very common concerns that I've experienced and given some tips on how you can sidestep them and keep on exercising throughout.
For me, anxiety is one of the biggest health concerns that stops me from working out, at least in public. I’ve spoken a bit about anxiety in previous posts, and it’s probably the most common mental health problem in the world which thankfully is now spoken about a lot more.
With anxiety, you become worried about little things that most people are fine with. You’re petrified about what people are going to think of you, you’re worried about doing something wrong and embarrassing yourself. Sometimes you don't even have a reason for the anxiety at all, it's just how we're wired. It’s something that affects you in all walks of life. However, anxiety is sometimes more likely to be triggered in a gym type setting than others, especially with a little extra weight to lose.
The reason for this is simple; there’s a lot to get anxious about in a gym. For one, it can be a very intimidating setting if you’re trying to exercise with loads of big strong blokes throwing weights around and making weird noises. Plus, let’s not beat around the bush here, people’s eyes wander in the gym. No one admits it, but it feels like everyone looks at everyone to just see what they’re doing whilst silently judging them.
For someone with anxiety, just the thought of that is enough to put them off going to the gym for life. Of course, there’s the worry that you’re not doing things properly or using machines the right way and people might be looking at you while you try and get started. Not to mention right at the beginning of your membership when you have to speak with someone that works there. It can trigger anxiety when you have to go up and speak to someone for the first time, so much so that you might just decide not to and never join a gym. Just that mere thought of walking into the unknown is enough to put me off.
Anxiety can stop you working out as you’re too worried about going to the gym and just decide to never go. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are three main things you can do to address this if it’s something that's stopping you from achieving your true fitness potential. Firstly, you can just choose not join a gym and simply workout at home instead. There’s no reason you can’t get fit and stay healthy with a few home workouts. Plus, the more you exercise, the more confident you feel in yourself, which can help aid your anxiety enormously. Secondly, you can join a small, quiet, gym or even a women/men only one if it makes you feel more comfortable. Lastly, try to avoid peak times such as lunch hours and from 5 pm to around 8 pm which tend to be the peak hours in every gym. Don’t go during these times if you’re feeling at all anxious, instead go as soon as it opens or an hour before it closes as it'll be far quieter and you’ll be able to build up your confidence with a little less eyes around. Nobody will be judging you, but I know it can often feel that way.
'Time Of The Month'
Periods happen, it's natural, it's normal and most of us have them. I know some people don’t like talking about them, but us women all go through the same thing every month and it can get in the way sometimes. Undoubtedly, you don’t need me to tell you how it feels when you’re on your period. We all know it can be draining, painful and extra tiring, before during and even after.
I’m sure all of us at one point has used our period as an excuse for not heading to the gym or doing some exercise? I know I have! We wake up feeling bad, or we have some stomach cramps, and just decide it’s simply not going to happen today. The problem is, some of us can avoid working out every month for a good four or five days because of our period. Having a break like that can easily get you out of the routine of going. Not only that, but our diet can go out the window for those few days too as we look for comfort food as a way of dealing with the negatives.
Thankfully, you don’t have to let your period stop you from working out or being healthy everyday. There are plenty of things you can do, some of which you might not have thought of before. The first is to think about some kind of medication that can help your period be less of a burden every month. Girls that have a very heavy flow are often the ones that avoid working out due to a) being self-conscious and worried their period will become visible to others, and b) because they feel more physically uncomfortable. Taking something like the contraceptive pill can actually help calm your flow and make it less of a burden. The good thing is, ordering the contraceptive pill online is now a lot easier than ever before. Plus, doctors are willing to prescribe it to you for health reasons such as this so it's always worth popping in for a chat if it's holding you back. Once the negative effects of your period have lessened, you will hopefully feel more inclined to work out.
My other piece of advice is to seize the moment. We will likely have times during our period where we feel absolutely fine. But, we don’t make the most of these moments and don’t exercise. Then, it comes to a time where we want to exercise, and the cramps come back, stopping us from doing so. Seize every opportunity you get whenever you’re feeling okay, and you can easily get in half an hour of exercise whether that's a quick workout DVD at home, the gym or just a walk in the park.
Injuries are a huge concern for our health as they affect the way we go about our daily life. For me it's my back and the fear of causing further damage, but I know most of us have a weak area or two that hold us back on the exercise front.
The fact is, as we get older, we become even more prone to injuries. This is particularly noteworthy for any women out there that have been through pregnancy. Being pregnant can take its toll on your body and cause various joint problems in your knees, ankles, and hips that can stay with you afterwards. When you have an injury, it prevents you from exercising as you obviously feel pain. So, what can you do?
There's a few things you can try to get things started. First and foremost, see a doctor or a physiotherapist to get a proper diagnosis of your injury. A lot of us can be in pain and assume we have a certain issue, but it may transpire you have something completely different to what you thought. Then, you’ll get given things to do that will help improve your injury and prevent pain. It took me 5 years to get my arthritis diagnosis, but now I know what I'm dealing with, I can work to improve the pain surrounding it and prevent further damage by getting fitter.
Secondly, you can avoid doing exercises that trigger your injury. If you have pain when running, go for long walks instead and try things that are low impact on your problem area. If you have lower body issues, try doing exercises that are upper body dominant until the injury improves, and vice versa. There is always a way round it and plenty of help out there. Being fitter, stronger and healthier generally takes the edge of a lot of those concerns in the first place by lightening the load or helping release those endorphins.
All three of these issues could well affect you at some point in your life too, causing you to reduce the amount you exercise. Regardless, you can get around these health concerns and still exercise every day or as often as you can. Start small and be confident in your skin and the rest will be sure to follow.
This is a collaborative post.