Excuse #4: “I’m too exhausted”

Although it sounds counterintuitive, exercise can actually put more fuel in your tank. According to a 2008 study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, inactive adults who started riding a stationary bike for 25 minutes three days a week experienced a 20 percent jump in their energy level after about two months. “Physical activity increases circulation throughout the body,” explains Lillie Rosenthal, a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist in New York City. “It also triggers the release of feel-good hormones like endorphins, which can make you feel more alert and invigorated.”

Even with this knowledge, it’s still all too easy to shrug off workouts. If you’re usually beat at the end of the day, switch to morning or lunchtime sessions. “To make things even easier, prepare in advance,” says Dr. Rosenthal. “Lay out your clothes and sneakers the evening before.” Or pack your lunch so you won’t have to rush to grab a meal on your way back to the office after your workout.  

Excuse #5:  “My weight is fine. I’m not trying to slim down.”

There’s more to exercise than simply losing weight. In addition to fending off disease -- including cancer, diabetes, dementia and osteoporosis, but it can also improve your life on a day-to-day basis. Working out makes you happier, less stressed and more productive in the office, according to a study published in 2008 in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management. Meanwhile, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology revealed that people who exercise are more excited and enthusiastic about life in general than their couch potato counterparts.

And it’s no secret that regular movement helps ease daily tasks. “Exercise strengthens the muscles and ligaments around the joint, so there’s less pressure,” says Lauren Smith, a physical therapist with the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. This translates into better range-of-motion and less achiness, making it easier for you to like climb stairs, get dressed, take out the trash. In fact, research published in a 2001 issue of the Journal of Rheumatology found that people with knee osteoarthritis who participated in a strength-training program for four months experienced a 43 decrease in pain.

Excuse #6: “I’m too self-conscious.”

Feeling embarrassed or intimidated is common barrier to exercise, according to a 2009 survey published in the Journal of Nutrition Behavior and Education. “You shouldn’t feel out-of-place at your gym,” says Edwards. “If you do, consider switching to another one. Find a place with a staff and clientele that you feel comfortable around.” She suggests touring the health club at the times you usually work out, and looking for classes suited to your interests and fitness level.

If you’re still hesitant about the gym, research other options. Check out fitness classes available at your local community or religious center, or begin walking, biking, or swimming on your own with your doctor’s approval. Whatever you decide on, just get started. “Remember that the path of fitness is a journey,” says Edwards. “You have to crawl before you walk or run.”

Excuse #7: “Joining a gym costs too much money.”

Don’t have extra cash to spend on fancy gear or a fitness club membership? You’re in good company: A 2011 survey from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association showed that 59 percent of non-gym members say that fees are the main reason they haven’t signed up. But experts agree that you don’t have to belong to a gym to get a good workout. “Walking is free,” says Edwards, “and creating a home gym can cost less than $100.” A pair of dumbbells and a resistance band is all you need for a strength-training routine. If you need some direction, look for workout suggestions on websites for health organizations or magazines, such as arthritistoday.org and arthritis.org.

Another place to check for low-cost fitness memberships and exercise classes: local community centers. “Many organizations offer free or inexpensive classes, like those for yoga and tai chi,” says Dr. Wanich. Prefer the at-home approach? Consider picking up a few exercise DVDs.