Even when you know physical activity is good for you, it's easy to keep dragging your feet—literally. We all have reasons to stay inactive, but sometimes those reasons are based more on myth than reality. Here are some of the most common myths about physical activity and ways to replace them with a more realistic, can-do spirit.
=> Myth 1: "Physical activity takes too much time." Physical activity does take some time, but there are ways to make it manageable. If you don't have 30 minutes in your daily schedule for an activity break, try to find three 10-minute periods. If you're aiming for 60 minutes daily—a good goal if you're trying to avoid weight gain—perhaps you can carve out some "fitness time" early in the day, before your schedule gets too busy. Another idea is to combine physical activity with a task that's already part of your daily routine, such as walking the dog or doing yard chores.
=> Myth 2: "Getting in shape makes you tired."
Once you begin regular physical activity, you're likely to have even more energy than before. As you progress, daily tasks will seem easier. Regular, moderate-to-brisk physical activity can also help you to reduce fatigue and manage stress.
=> Myth 3: "The older you are, the less physical activity you need."
Most people become less physically active as they age, but keeping fit is important throughout life. Regular physical activity increases older people's ability to perform routine daily tasks and to stay independent longer. No matter what your age, you can find a physical activity program that is tailored to your particular fitness level and needs.
=> Myth 4: "Taking medication interferes with physical activity."
In most cases, this is not true. In fact, becoming more active may lessen your need for certain medicines, such as high blood pressure drugs. However, before beginning a physical activity program, be sure to inform your doctor about both prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking, so that your health can be properly monitored.
=> Myth 5: "You have to be athletic to exercise." Most physical activities don't require any special athletic skills. In fact, many people who have bad memories of difficult school sports have discovered a whole world of enjoyable, healthful activities that involve no special talent or training. A perfect example is brisk walking—a superb, heart healthy activity. Others include bicycling, gardening, or yard work, as long as they're done at a brisk pace. Just do more of the activities you already like and already know how to do. It's that simple.