Barriers to Participation in Physical Activity

As trainers, we hear a lot of reasons and excuses as to why people do not participate in physical activity. There have been a number of studies done around the world that have shed some light on the most common reasons why adults don’t adopt more physically active lifestyles. Here are some of their results:
Top 3:

  • Time;/li>
  • Energy; and
  • Motivation.

Other barriers include:

  • Cost
  • Facilities;/li>
  • Illness or injury;/li>
  • Transportation;/li>
  • Partner issues;/li>
  • Skill;/li>
  • Safety considerations;/li>
  • Child care;/li>
  • Uneasiness with change; and/li>
  • Unsuitable programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes the following suggestions for overcoming physical activity barriers:
Lack of Time:

  • 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; and
  • Select activities requiring minimal time.

Lack of energy:

  • Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel energetic; and
  • 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; and
  • Join an exercise group or class.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put together a quiz on determining your top Physical Activity Barriers. It consists of a short 21 question quiz. If you are interested in taking the quiz please see one of our BAC Personal Training Staff. They would be happy to get you a copy and help you interpret the results!

Be Physically Active

Time is the highest reported barrier to participating in Physical Activity, not just in the U.S. but in many other countries around the world. The Department of Health and Human Services in their 2nd Edition lists the following as Physical Activity Guidelines for American Adults:

  • Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.
  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.
  • Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.

DHHS guidelines of 150 to 300 minutes per week is a challenge for many of us to complete each week. So what’s the answer? Is it possible to reap the benefits of physical activity in less than 150 minutes a week? Absolutely!! There are many strategies and programming options we can incorporate to obtain these benefits in a shorter duration each week. Here are three suggestions we can do on a daily basis:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • When parking your vehicle, park further away from the store so that you have to walk a greater distance to your destination.
  • If feasible walk or bike to work, the store, etc.

There are also physical activity programming strategies we can use to shorten the duration of the activity but still retain the benefits. Research has shown that as little as 15-20 minutes of physical activity can elicit similar benefits as activities performed for a longer duration.

SIT (Sprint Interval Training), HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), and Circuit Training are three programming methods that we can utilize to shorten duration but raise the intensity. The SIT format uses short-duration maximal-intensity bouts of activity followed by active rest. Intensity for the work should be near 100% effort for the prescribed duration which can range from 20-60 sec. Active or passive rest follows for triple to quadruple the amount or duration of the work. These work to rest sets are repeated 4-6 times. This workout can be repeated 2-3 times per week and can be used on any piece of cardio type equipment, or running, or jump roping, etc.

A very popular format in individuals and groups is HIIT. HIIT workouts are performed at an intensity of 70-90% for the work section at a duration of 15-60 seconds (4-8 sets). Active and passive rest periods are double to triple the duration of the work period. A variety of exercises can be linked together, bodyweight, free weight, cardio, etc. This type of format can be performed 2-3 times per week.

A great format for resistance training is Circuit Training where you can link a number of different resistance exercises together and perform them one after the next with the only rest being the transition from one exercise to the next. At BAC, our Cybex areas are set up for circuit type training but you can also link free weight and bodyweight exercises together in a similar format. Be advised the more repetitions and or the more exercises that you perform the longer duration the circuit will be. It’s also important to make sure you balance out movements and not overdo any one movement.

These are just some of the ideas which you can utilize to shorten the duration of your workouts but still receive many of the benefits. If you have questions on how you can incorporate this type of format into your training our BAC staff of Personal Trainers would be happy to help you craft a workout that works best for you!

Commit 20

It’s 2020! The beginning of a new year. It’s a time in which we assess where we are and where we want to be. A period of resolutions and goals. A time in which our motivation and passion are peaked. A New Year “Life Do-over”! Through this process have we had an honest accounting with ourselves as to how we plan to achieve the success we would like to see in 2020? BAC would like to assist you in making your 2020 the kind of NEW YEAR you hoped for! Our Commit 20 program has been designed to guide, motivate, and commit yourself to success in 2020. Here’s how to get involved!

1. Take the Commit 20 pledge: “20 workouts for the month of January.”

  • Complete and sign the Commit 20 pledge (available at the BAC Front Desk);
  • Update your contact information (email, phone, and mobile phone);
  • Update your medical history; and
  • Place your name on a Commit 20 Star (to be displayed in the Fitness area, Group Ex Studio, Gym, or Pool.

2. BAC Personal Trainer assigned to you.

  • Weekly check-ins with your trainer.

3. 20-minute Workouts

4. 20-minute Personal Training packages for $20/session.
5. Commit 20 Incentives.

  • Drawings for free month’s dues; and
  • Drawings for free 20-minute Personal Training Session.

Don’t let the “fire” of motivation and good intentions “fizzle”! “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”