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4 Excuses That Are Holding You Back


Article by Dr. Jen Esquer

Photography by Dr. Jen Esquer

I am definitely not a huge fan of the word “excuses.” Because we are human, and I understand how life is. Everyone has their own situations and movement journeys. However, here is where those mindset tools everyone talks about come into play by reframing our most common “excuses.”

So, here is how I recommend reframing them: Excuse ---------> Opportunity

Excuse #1: Money. "I don't know if I want to make that commitment right now."

Opportunity #1: Money: “I get to invest first in my own health and the health of my family, especially during such a necessary time. This way we will be able to stay healthy and spend a lot less money on healthcare down the road.” (See how this is also preventative??)

The CDC reports that up to $117 Billion in annual dollars of health care costs are associated with inadequate activity. Uhhhh….. What?! That means that people are unwilling to pay smaller amounts of money upfront for programs that can be beneficial in the long run, when it's the lack of a consistent movement practice that may cost thousands of dollars down the road. USA today reported that exercising regularly could save you up to $2500 annually. Read that again! Now, what if I told you there was a program that you would only have to pay $27/month and be able to move and learn with a Doctor of Physical Therapy? After reading those other numbers, it probably sounds too good to be true, right? Well, I’ll touch more on that in just a bit because I know it can help save you a lot down the road in costs and pains (literally). 

Excuse #2: Time!! "Life right now gives me no time to do anything and I’m so tired when I do have the time."

Opportunity #2: Time!! “I love filling my ‘me-time’ of true self-care with finding creative and unique ways to move throughout my day so that my body can continue to thrive, even on the busiest of days!”

Only 24-hours in a day. That’s all we get so we get. Now, I do not have kids and am unable to appreciate the dynamic that adds to life. However, I know we all can come up with multiple excuses as to why we cannot move or “exercise” throughout the day because I do that too! But let me hit you with some more great news and if you’ve watched Zac Efron’s show Down To Earth, you already know what I’m about to say. 

There are areas in the world called “Blue Zones.” In these Blue Zones, people live significantly longer than the “average” lifespan, with up to 8 times the number of people living to 100 years old or more! There is a woman in the show who is 100 and a man who is 97 who not only have functioning cognitive capabilities but are living and moving comfortably still. A man named Dan Beuttner studied all these Blue Zones and found a commonality. Guess what 1 of the 9 things he found was? Yup, they moved! Now, they don’t move in the way we think of the traditional “exercise” of today. They actually find time to move while picking veggies in their garden for 20 minutes before dinner and then bringing the leftover veggies to their elderly neighbor later that day or take a walk to the nearest bar for a glass of wine like the 97 year old man does in the show. Daily, they find time, keep it functional and make it a priority to move. 

Excuse #3: Knowledge. "I don't know what to do."

Opportunity #3: Knowledge. “I am so excited to learn more about simple movements and strategies that can increase my mobility and strength, decrease my pain, and promote an incredible, long-lived, functional, and healthy life.”

Cheesy? Sure. True? You bet! But I understand that not knowing what to do, or exactly how to exercise can be intimidating. Showing up to a gym and not knowing what to do, or feeling uncomfortable in going to a workout class are real things. Just that moment of being there, looking around at all these people in their element while thinking, “Where/How do I even start?!” Or how about right now that we can’t even go to the gym, so “Where/How do I even start?!”

Our bodies are built to move. They are not built to sit in a seat for 8-12 hours a day, and possibly even more now that most of us are working from home. Our bodies are meant to be in motion and flow about this world with ease. 

It is imperative that we are moving during this time. A study in 2017 that tracked steps taken by a person in the USA found that they are taking less that 5000 steps per day. Now think about how many that is now, during this pandemic, on lockdown, not being able to go anywhere. It has to be even less and that is not good. Not good for our mental, emotional, or physical health. Low activity levels are also associated with higher frequencies of other chronic diseases such as chronic pain, cardiac disease, and depression. The foundation we set for movement NOW will be vital for how we will progress functionally into the future.

My suggestion? If you are truly a beginner, finding a great personal trainer to check in with and initially help you through form and body awareness is great! Then, find yourself a program you know you can trust, written by a doctor (Hi, that’s me!), that will provide you with not only verbal and visual cues for a good and effective workout, but you'll also be equipped with workouts that address strength/cardio, mobility, core, and correct therapy activations with some mindset reframing and some great nutritious food recipes thrown in there too! Everything you need for your optimally functioning body!!

Dr. Rhonda Patrick, an expert on aging and disease, stated that, “High-intensity exercise seemed to ameliorate some negative effects from lack of sleep, at least with respect to blood glucose regulation. Acute insulin resistance was caused in men that were intentionally sleep deprived for 24 hours but high-intensity training before the 24 hours of sleep deprivation attenuated the increase of glucose, insulin, and free fatty acids. It is really good to know that high-intensity exercise ameliorates some of the glucose dysregulation caused by sleep deprivation because when you are a new mama sleep deprivation is a part of the package but it's nice to know that acute insulin resistance does not have to be.”

So, being active with HIITs will actually help your excuse of being too tired! She also stated that, “Multiple studies have shown that high-intensity exercise can delay biological aging by up to 9 years as measured by telomere length. I think physical activity may be the one true panacea for good health.”

Who doesn’t want to look younger and feel rested?!

Plus, the longer you're subscribed, the larger your library of workouts will become. You'll have all of them as a personal reference you can pick and choose at any time, as long as you’re subscribed. How awesome is that?! Learn more here at The Optimal Body.

Excuse #4: Pain. "I’m in pain. I need to wait until I get an adjustment or wait until the pain goes away before I can start moving."

Opportunity #4: Pain. “I have a body that is able to heal and adapt through intentional guided movement. Once I learn the tools that can better assist me, I will finally feel free within my body and move.”

Pain is a...well, you know. It sucks. It creates fear. Fear of moving, fear of change, fear of challenge, fear of progress. Remember... your body is resilient. Your body, the only one you get to live in in this life, has the ability to heal and change. Your body is incredible! You can work out of that pain, really you can! Kick fear in the booty for good! It does nothing but prevent you from your goals and what you really want. Let me help you heal and adapt so that you can create change and progress through your pain. Yes, it’s possible. Yes, it takes hard work and consistency.

When we take a step back to appreciate and care for our bodies, we can realize there is no price limit and there is no better time than the present moment to show up for it. 

I want to challenge you today in dropping all excuses and embracing opportunities. Try it. Really! Be mindful of many times throughout the day an excuse pops into your head and use those mindset tools to reframe it!