What's the reason you don't exercise?

Researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia asked women in various weight categories what kept them from exercising. The top four obstacles for all women: family demands, lack of interest, no exercise partner and lack of energy. For obese women, the primary hurdle was feeling too overweight to exercise, followed by feeling self-conscious about their looks. Other reasons included fear of injury and the presence of minor aches and pains.

The more obstacles, the less exercise the women pursued.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to systematically look at what stops obese women from getting the activity they need,” says Melissa Napolitano, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology and clinical psychologist at the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University.

“These might sound like excuses to some people, but for those who have aversions, they’re real problems,” says Napolitano.

Because beginning an exercise program can be a real challenge for some people, Napolitano suggests taking a small first step. Try out an exercise DVD at home to build confidence in being active. Or walk in the local mall or school track for 30 minutes each day. “It doesn’t matter what exercise you do, as long as you get out there and move.” In addition, says Napolitano, “Find an exercise buddy, as there is power in numbers.”