Struggles With Exercise

To all my people who struggle with exercise, this talk is for you and me. Exercising is something I have struggled with all of my life.

I’ve had periods where I engage in a great exercise routine 4-6 days a week for an 1 hour or more for weight loss. I’ve also had times where I was exercising 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes to an hour. However, I have never had a consistent regimen that lasted over a year.

I know one thing for sure though, I’ve always felt better when I had a consistent regimen no matter how much exercise it was, as long as I was active.

There is evidence that exercise is beneficial for mental health; it reduces anxiety, depression, and negative mood, and improves self‐esteem and cognitive functioning.1

Struggling with my own bouts of stress, life transitions, hormonal issues and burnout, I would always ended up not exercising. Almost as if the feelings of being overwhelmed zapped me of energy. Exercising would look so displeasing and discouraging.

I roll my eyes at the people who talk about laziness in response to a lack of exercise regimen, but if you been there, you know it’s not about laziness. It’s about being completely overwhelm with life that any task SEEMS impossible. This is what depression is like for some people, complete overwhelm with daily task.

I always used to say to my client’s “A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion.”

Even though I know this too be true, I still have difficulty maintaining and have fought hard to find ways around it. This helps me to understand my client’s struggle as well.

I have brought so many exercise videos, made workout playlist on youtube, have home workout equipment, have a membership to the gym, have a good walking area where I live, and I still find it hard to exercise due to fatigue.

I think part of the problem is believing that one day I would get the energy to start back up again. This is not true for me. The energy never comes. I always feel “too tired” to exercise.

I think where real change begin is setting small goals and tricking your mind in to believing that you can easily achieve it.

For instance, it would be easier to convince myself that listening to 1-3 of my favorite songs and dancing my life away than it would for me to tell myself to leave the house and go for a walk at the park.

When I think about going for the park for a walk, I begin to think about the whole process before I even get there (putting on workout clothes, charging my phone, driving in traffic and etc). Before I know it, the walk at the park appears overwhelming because of all the steps.

However, dancing at home in front of the TV sounds doable. I can even keep on the same clothes I’ve had on all day. I don’t have to drive. I don’t have to look presentable and I get to work on my dance moves.

You also have to learn your body. If you are more energetic in evenings or at night, exercise at night. If you find that you have more energy in the morning, try to get a workout in then. Find your sweet spot for exercise. Find that time of the day where it’s more likely you will try to be more active.

There is this one lady on YouTube I absolutely love. Her name is Leslie Sansone. She has 1 mile walking video for about 15 minutes you can do at home. She also has some videos that are 30-45 minutes. But just imagine, if all you did was walk 1 mile a day for 15 minutes in your living room. This could be an easy start for anyone.

Also, never underestimate the power of chores and errands to help you stay active. If you don’t see yourself exercising, get up and starting cleaning or go window shopping for an hour or two. Just do anything to foster movement and being active.

If nothing else, you will at least thank yourself for achieving something and feel better for getting out of your head and focusing on something else.

Start by making a commitment to just do something. You decide! But the goal is to be active and I know you can do it. I am cheering for you as I cheer for myself! We can do this!

Anyone have any good tips on overcoming exercise struggles? Comment below? Some people who find it difficult need encouragement. Let’s show them how to start smart and strong!


1. Callaghan P.. Exercise: a neglected intervention in mental health care? Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing. 2004;11:476–483. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Published by Asha Griffin, MA, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH

I am Asha Griffin, a licensed professional counselor in South Carolina. I am dedicated to improving the mental health of others and helping them to "tend to their gardens". My goal is to inspire people in finding better balance in their lives.

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