Overcoming Common Barriers to Becoming More Physically Active

People most frequently cite too busy, feeling tired, lack of companion, resources or skills as the barriers for having regular physical activity. Understanding your problems and finding ways to overcome them may help you make physical activity part of your daily life. Here are some suggestions:

Lack of Time

  • Review your daily activities and identify the available time slot or create multiple 10- or 15-minute blocks for physical activity. For example, try waking up 30 minutes earlier for some morning exercises, taking a 15-minute brisk walk at lunch time or after dinner.
  • Incorporate physical activity into your daily life. For example, getting off the bus or train earlier and walking the rest of the way, climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift or escalator, riding stationary bike or step-walking while watching television.

Lack of Motivation

  • Plan ahead for periods of physical activity and write the schedule down on your calendar.
  • Find a partner. Try some activities that you can do with a friend, colleague or family member to sustain your motivation and make the activity more enjoyable.
  • Pick an activity (or range of activities) that really interests you and suits your lifestyle.
  • Use a motivational tool, such as a pedometer which is a portable device for monitoring the accumulation of daily steps and supporting you to achieve the daily step count target through walking, or a training log which can mark the progress.

Lack of Energy/Feeling Tired

  • Try scheduling physical activity during the time of day when you have the most energy. For example, have a walk after lunch or dinner.
  • Eat healthy foods that can boost your energy levels.

Lack of Companion

  • Invite a friend, colleague or family member to exercise with you on a regular basis.
  • Join an exercise group or take up a team sport that appeals to you.
  • Take dog for morning or evening walks.

Lack of Skills or Resources

  • Select activities that require minimal skills or facilities, such as walking, jumping ropes or climbing stairs.
  • Take a training class to develop new skills, or find a friend who is willing to teach you the skills.
  • Identify inexpensive, convenient resources available in the community. For example, locate the parks or walking paths in your community, check out community recreation and sport programmes organised by the Government and non-profit-making organization.