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What are your barriers to exercise?

JAN 2012

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If you want to exercise but can't seem to do it, this quiz may help you identify some of the barriers that keep you from being more active.

Barriers to Being Active Quiz

What keeps you from being more active? Take the following quiz to find out.

Directions: Listed below are reasons that people give to describe why they do not get as much physical activity as they think they should. Please read each statement and circle the number of the statement that most applies to you:

How likely are you to say:

Very likely

Somewhat likely

Somewhat unlikely

Very unlikely

1. My day is so busy now, I just don’t think I can make the time to include physical activity in my regular schedule.

3

2

1

0

2. None of my family members or friends like to do anything active, so I don’t have a chance to exercise.

3

2

1

0

3. I’m just too tired after work to get any exercise.

3

2

1

0

4. I’ve been thinking about getting more exercise, but I just can’t seem to get started.

3

2

1

0

5. I’m getting older so exercise can be risky.

3

2

1

0

6. I don’t get enough exercise because I have never learned the skills for any sport.

3

2

1

0

7. I don’t have access to jogging trails, swimming pools, bike paths, et.

3

2

1

0

8. Physical activity takes too much time away from other commitments—time, work, family, etc.

3

2

1

0

9. I’m embarrassed about how I will look when I exercise with others.

3

2

1

0

10. I don’t get enough sleep as it is. I just couldn’t get up early or stay up late to get some exercise.

3

2

1

0

11. It’s easier for me to find excuses not to exercise than to go out to do something.

3

2

1

0

12. I know of too many people who have hurt themselves by overdoing it with exercise.

3

2

1

0

13. I really can’t see learning a new sport at my age.

3

2

1

0

14. It’s just too expensive. You have to take a class or join a club or buy the right equipment.

3

2

1

0

15. My free times during the day are too short to include exercise.

3

2

1

0

16. My usual social activities with family or friends to not include physical activity.

3

2

1

0

17. I’m too tired during the week and I need the weekend to catch up on my rest.

3

2

1

0

18. I want to get more exercise, but I just can’t seem to make myself stick to anything.

3

2

1

0

19. I’m afraid I might injure myself or have a heart attack.

3

2

1

0

20. I’m not good enough at any physical activity to make it fun.

3

2

1

0

21. If we had exercise facilities and showers at work, then I would be more likely to exercise.

3

2

1

0

Follow these instructions to score yourself:

  • Enter the circled number in the spaces provided, putting together the number for statement 1 on line 1, statement 2 on line 2, and so on.

  • Add the three scores on each line. Your barriers to physical activity fall into one or more of seven categories: lack of time, social influences, lack of energy, lack of willpower, fear of injury, lack of skill, and lack of resources. A score of 5 or above in any category shows that this is an important barrier for you to overcome.

____ + ____ + ____ = ______________________

���1����������8���������15�����������������Lack of time

____ + ____ + ____ = ______________________

���2����������9����������16���������������Social influence

____ + ____ + ____ = ______________________

���3����������10���������17��������������Lack of energy

____ + ____ + ____ = ______________________

���4����������11���������18��������������Lack of willpower

____ + ____ + ____ = ______________________

���5����������12���������19��������������Fear of injury

____ + ____ + ____ = ______________________

���6����������13���������20��������������Lack of skill

____ + ____ + ____ = ______________________

���7����������14���������21��������������Lack of resources

Suggestions for Overcoming Physical Activity Barriers

Lack of time

Identify available time slots. Monitor your daily activities for one week. Identify at least three 30-minute time slots you could use for physical activity.

Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, organize school activities around physical activity, walk the dog, exercise while you watch TV, park farther away from your destination, etc.

Make time for physical activity. For example, walk, jog, or swim during your lunch hour, or take fitness breaks instead of coffee breaks.

Select activities requiring minimal time, such as walking, jogging, or stair climbing.

Social influence

Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and family. Ask them to support your efforts.

Invite friends and family members to exercise with you. Plan social activities involving exercise.

Develop new friendships with physically active people. Join a group, such as the YMCA or a hiking club.

Lack of energy

Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel energetic.

Convince yourself that if you give it a chance, physical activity will increase your energy level; then, try it.

Lack of motivation

Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule and write it on your calendar.

Invite a friend to exercise with you on a regular basis and write it on both your calendars.

Join an exercise group or class.

Fear of injury

Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury.

Learn how to exercise appropriately considering your age, fitness level, skill level, and health status.

Choose activities involving minimum risk.

Lack of skill

Select activities requiring no new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.

Exercise with friends who are at the same skill level as you are.

Find a friend who is willing to teach you some new skills.

Take a class to develop new skills.

Lack of resources

Select activities that require minimal facilities or equipment, such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, or calisthenics.

Identify inexpensive, convenient resources available in your community (community education programs, park and recreation programs, worksite programs, etc.).

Weather conditions

Develop a set of regular activities that are always available regardless of weather (indoor cycling, aerobic dance, indoor swimming, calisthenics, stair climbing, rope skipping, mall walking, dancing, gymnasium games, etc.)

Look on outdoor activities that depend on weather conditions (cross-country skiing, outdoor swimming, outdoor tennis, etc.) as "bonuses"-extra activities possible when weather and circumstances permit.

Travel

Put a jump rope in your suitcase and jump rope.

Walk the halls and climb the stairs in hotels.

Stay in places with swimming pools or exercise facilities.

Join the YMCA or YWCA (ask about reciprocal membership agreement).

Visit the local shopping mall and walk for half an hour or more.

Bring a small tape recorder and your favorite aerobic exercise tape.

Family obligations

Trade babysitting time with a friend, neighbor, or family member who also has small children.

Exercise with the kids-go for a walk together, play tag or other running games, get an aerobic dance or exercise tape for kids (there are several on the market) and exercise together. You can spend time together and still get your exercise.

Hire a babysitter and look at the cost as a worthwhile investment in your physical and mental health.

Jump rope, do calisthenics, ride a stationary bicycle, or use other home gymnasium equipment while the kids are busy playing or sleeping.

Try to exercise when the kids are not around (e.g., during school hours or their nap time).

Encourage exercise facilities to provide child care services.

Retirement years

Look upon your retirement as an opportunity to become more active instead of less. Spend more time gardening, walking the dog, and playing with your grandchildren. Children with short legs and grandparents with slower gaits are often great walking partners.

Learn a new skill you've always been interested in, such as ballroom dancing, square dancing, or swimming.

Now that you have the time, make regular physical activity a part of every day. Go for a walk every morning or every evening before dinner. Treat yourself to an exercycle and ride every day while reading a favorite book or magazine.

Source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion's Web site on Nutrition & Physical Activity.