What Stops Us From Being Active?
Updated: Oct 21, 2021
As a person who is promoting activity and a healthier lifestyle, I often hear phrases like:
I am too old to start. I can’t do sports anymore. It is too late to start.
The truth is that we often tend to generate excuses due to the fact that we are insecure, unaware of what it is to be physically active as well as being scared to go out of our comfort zone.
Let’s break down each one of those individually and see whether they are reasonable or not.
Insecurity is a big one. It is usually triggered by trauma, low self-esteem, and a tendency to compare yourself to others.
If you grew up being told that you can’t do sports, you are not a sporty type, sport is not for you, or any of that, it is obvious that you will believe it all your life. You can’t change the fact that you tend to believe that, however, you can educate yourself further on the topic and slowly try.
This one is a very common one. A lot of people are scared to show up in the gym, or even if they go, they tend to follow a certain model. For instance, women will stick to the cardio machines, just because they feel intimidated to go to the weight area and feel like they should not lift. This one is tight to compare, but a lot of people will just feel like they are being watched and judged.
Just ask yourself this. Do I care about what a person in the third squat rack does? Most of the time the answer is no. If you do not care about the others in the gym, why do you think someone cares about what you do? Everybody does their own stuff, most of the time they can’t even hear anything, as the music or whatever they listen to is blasting in their ears.
Now, sometimes there are curious people, and you can definitely feel their look on you, but that is so rare and most of the time massively exaggerated by your brain. However, if there is that person that is staring at you, there is nothing wrong to go and speak with him/her and finding out their intention. You never know. You may end up having a new friend. And if that is not the case, you can always speak with a trainer, manager, or a member of staff that will always help you out.
Now, even if I don’t want, I am blaming a lot of social media for the comparison part. Most of the stuff in social media is filtered, edited, made from the right angle, etc…, for the very same reason. To compare. It is in our nature to compare, but social media makes it far worse due to the fact that we, first, compare ourselves with something that is not real, and second, encourage such behavior in the gym.
You start to look for differences between you and the others and because you already have a bit of low self-esteem, you fall even deeper into the trap of comparison, which leads you to push more than you should, so you are better, oftentimes leading to injuries, or believing that you are not a sporty type and physical activity is not for you. INSECURITY
I do understand that it is very easy to say it, but way harder to put it into practice, but guys, you are unique. You can’t move the same way as someone else. You can’t perform the same way as someone else, you don’t have the genes and lifestyle of someone else. We are different and we will always be different. The only thing we can do is to find out the baseline we have and try to improve it.
The best you can do to fight that is to just start and most importantly educate yourself. This brings me to the next one, which is super important.
Being unaware of what it means to be active.
A lot of people will think that being active is not for them because, either they will think that they are not capable of being active or will believe that they are already active enough at their job.
Now, to some extent, it could be true. If you are 85 years old and want to become a professional powerlifter, having no experience whatsoever, becoming one will be close to impossible. However, you can start practicing those movements and improve your overall condition even at 100 years old.
What people really need to know is that being active does not mean sitting on new records or pushing everything to your limits.
The reason I love resistant training is that it can be customized for absolutely everyone. For a 20 years old kid, that is perfectly healthy, resistance training can be lifting weights 5 times per week. However, for an 85 years old person with a lot of back pain, resistance training can be as simple as learning to properly sit on a chair and then stand up with control.
And while resistance training is superior, every other activity can be performed equally. Biking, hiking, running, dancing, swimming. You do not have to be a marathon runner. You can just walk a bit more per day.
For a lot of other people, being active is taboo, because they are already very active at their jobs.
Now that to a certain extent is true. There are many people that are doing 12 to 14 hours a day, physical labor, and adding 1 more hour of activity seems like too much. Here comes the fun part. You do not need to be more active. You can do 30 minutes of stretches or mobility exercises that are going to make you feel way better. Yes, you do not need to be more active, but you do need your body to be aligned, so it can endure the 12 hours of hard work.
I am not saying that it is easy. But spending an extra 30 minutes of learning how to move better will make your work way better, as your body will be ready to rock. And if it is too much at the end of the day, well, you might want to consider spending one hour less at work and one hour more at the gym or at home, doing movements that matter.
The last one is the fear of being outside the comfort zone.
And even if it does not feel like a fear, trust me we are all scared to be out of that zone. And it is completely normal to be. It is not pleasant to feel this way. But you can’t disagree that all of the growth happens when we experience discomfort. Take anything that you learned so far. New language, new move, new ability. Yes, it requires practice, but if you lay on the couch and be comfortable, you will never learn to play basketball, right?
Everybody can be active. Everybody must be active. And everybody should be active on their own. Some people can walk, while some others run. Some people can do mobility and correctional exercise, while some others should be pushing a bit harder. It doesn’t matter where you are, and how hard it feels. You can always find the right amount and type of activity.
It is never too late to start.