The Dog Ate My Gym Shoes
We get it: You’re tired. You’re busy. And your shoes are way over there. But you can still get your move on!
“I just love being out of breath!” “I have all the time in the world!” “I look best when my face is red!” If you think “Hey! That sounds just like me!” then congrats—you’re a fitness bot sent from space . . . go take a victory lap. But if you’re more like the average teen, who doesn’t get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day, we understand. Maybe some days you really don’t have a second to spare. Or you’re running on fumes after a week of midterms and need a nap instead. Excuses are OK sometimes, but not every day—and especially not today. So lace up your sneakers, get up off the couch, and let us kick your go-to excuses to the curb.
Get Real Being really out of breath may mean you’re trying too much too soon, which will kill your confidence. But you don’t have to be huffing and puffing to get a workout. “Active doesn’t have to mean high-intensity,” says Anthony Wall, from the American Council on Exercise. “It’s just about moving.”
Get Going Struggling to find the right pace? Take the “talk test.” If you’re moving within your target heart rate zone, you should be able to say the Pledge of Allegiance without collapsing. Once you’re comfortable, increase the pace until it’s too hard to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner”—but you can still speak in short sentences.
“I HATE EXERCISE.”
Get Real It may seem unbearable, but you just have to get started. Exercise releases endorphins (your brain’s own feel-good chemicals), which can be habit-forming. “Once you develop a routine, your body anticipates its daily boost,” says Jenn Burke, a trainer for Crunch Gym.
Get Going What’s the best exercise? The one you’ll do. So you absolutely detest running—don’t run! Ride your bike or host a Just Dance tournament. Even cleaning your room is active. As long as you’re moving and getting your blood pumping, it counts—so get creative.
“I DON'T HAVE TIME.”
Get Real You may not have infinite time to spare when you’re slammed with schoolwork, but we bet you can find 10 minutes. Bonus: An activity break will send oxygen to your brain, making you super-alert and more creative too. “Our brains are like computers,” says Stacy Fowler of the National Association for Health and Fitness. “If you don’t move the mouse every 20 minutes, the screen goes blank.”
Get Going Famous thinkers like Aristotle and Steve Jobs swore by “walking meetings,” and you can follow in their footsteps (literally) by bopping around while you brainstorm about a tough assignment or memorize your Spanish vocabulary. You can also take quick brain-boost-breaks. Study as hard as you can for 30 minutes, then plank for 30 seconds and do 10 jumping jacks.
“I NEVER SEE RESULTS!”
Get Real Even if you train with the discipline of a pro, you won’t see results right away—but you will feel them almost immediately. “Any physical activity helps you do better in school, be more productive, and have a more positive self-image,” says Wall. (You get an energy boost too!)
Get Going Don’t focus on how your body looks—zoom in on how you feel. Keep a journal of when you exercise (or don’t) and how you feel that day: Stressed? Focused? Hungry? Tired? When you start noticing the amazing effects of exercise, you’ll have no excuses.
3 MORE EXERCISE EXCUSES WE'RE JUST NOT BUYING
“I can’t afford fancy equipment!”
All the necessary tools for exercise (willpower and a body) are completely free. Walking, running, crunches, push-ups, squats, and lunges are part of the same $0 package too.
“I don’t want to look stupid.”
Are you working out in front of a mirror? Because the only person judging how you look while you exercise is you. So go ahead and get into it and get sweaty—that’s the point!
“I have no motivation.”
Getting started is the hardest part. The answer? Trick yourself! Say you only need to exercise for 3 minutes. You can stop then, but once you begin, we bet you won’t want to quit!