If you find yourself using any of these excuses for your lack of exercise, be prepared to read my glorious refutations and have the rug taken out from under your feet like the figurative rug that it is.
- I don’t like running
Rebuttal: Running is by no means the standard of fitness anymore, you Negative Nelly. There are plenty of other types of exercise out there that don’t involve pounding your knees and chafing in the most uncomfortable places. You can get a great cardio workout by rowing, biking, swimming or using the elliptical. The key is to do what you enjoy. Just because someone can run for an hour without stopping and you can’t, it does not mean that they are in better shape than you. Perhaps you can swim longer or bike farther than they can.
- In general, I don’t have an hour a day to spend working out
Rebuttal: You can get around this, you Unimaginative Umberto. Realistically you might not be able to devote an entire hour to a solid workout. Fine. Do whatever you can. Just because it’s not ideal, doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. If you can only manage 20 minutes a day, then that’s better than nothing. Additionally, if you have 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening, then you can split up your workout into two 20-minute workouts. You don’t even need two showers, provided you have enough deodorant and cologne to mask your stench.
- Exercise is boring
Rebuttal: It’s only boring if you make it boring, you Boring Billy. Working out doesn’t have to be drudgery and can be something you genuinely look forward to. Assuming you’re a busy student, you probably don’t have much time for television. If you do have time for television, then you are automatically precluded from using excuse number two. Way to back yourself into a corner. If you don’t have time for television, then you can combine TV time and workout time into one activity. That way, the only time you will ever be able to watch television is if you are working out, thus you will de facto get some enjoyment out of exercise, despite your best efforts. If you have exercise equipment at home, set it up near the TV. If not, most gyms have TVs set up above the cardio equipment for your viewing pleasure. At Shapes, if you can’t stand closed captioning, you can access the audio through various FM frequencies, so if your mp3 player has a radio tuner or an FM radio add-on, you’re in luck. Also, some gyms, like the YMCA-YWCA on Fermor, have treadmills and ellipticals with screens built into them, allowing you to control the channel and volume yourself. All you need are your own headphones.
- I can’t do it today; I have too much studying to do
Rebuttal: This is false, you False Freddie. There are a few reasons why studying should not get in the way of exercise. Workouts do wonders for mental concentration. By being physically stimulated, you’ll be able to accomplish more focused, efficient studying without fidgeting or feeling restless. Slippage of concentration is bound to happen when studying for long durations, so why not break it up with a short workout? Better yet, why not find a way to exercise while you’re studying? It’s actually pretty easy to read a book while on a stationary bike. Granted, underlining passages can be a bit of a challenge, but you’ll manage to make your workout time scholastically productive. You can also set little tasks for yourself while you’re studying at home. For example you can say “After every five pages I read, I’ll do 10 pushups and 10 sit-ups over the next couple of hours.” Not only will you relieve tension in your shoulders that can lead to headaches, but after a while you will notice a change in both muscle and mental strength.
- I’m too tired
Rebuttal: This is a common one, you Common Colin. Is this really the best you’ve got? Students are so busy and sleep-deprived that we’ve outshone the zombies as “the walking dead.” This seems counter-intuitive, but workouts can actually perk you up better than naps. You may be more tired in the evening, but by getting the blood flowing, you’ll feel stimulated and can achieve better mental focus for studying. This also seems counter-intuitive, but making yourself even more tired is a good thing. It’s one thing to be mentally tired at the end of the day, but quality sleep comes from being physically tired, since you will be less restless. Overall, quality is better than quantity when it comes to sleep. This means that after a strenuous workout, you can get a good rest in a shorter time, allowing you to wake up earlier and have more time for other activities.