Error processing SSI file

Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity

Key points

  • Common barriers may keep you from being physically active.
  • Learn to overcome barriers and make physical activity part of your day.
Man and woman walking a dog outside.

Lack of time

  • Monitor your daily activities for 1 week. Identify at least five 30-minute time slots you could use for physical activity.
  • Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, walk the dog, or take the stairs.
  • Organize school activities around physical activity.
  • Choose activities, such as walking, jogging, or stair climbing that you can do based on the time that you have available, even for a few minutes.
  • Use work physical activity facilities and programs.
  • Hold walking meetings and conference calls if possible.
  • During phone calls, try to stand, stretch, or move and walk.

Lack of social support

  • Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and family. Ask them to support your efforts.
  • Invite friends and family members to be physically active with you.
  • Plan social activities involving physical activity.
  • Develop new friendships with physically active people.
  • Join a gym or group, such as the YMCA or a hiking club.

Lack of energy

  • Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel energetic.
  • Start slow and build to longer times or more intense activities.

Lack of motivation

  • 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.
  • Join an exercise group or class.

Fear of injury

  • Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury.
  • Learn the best kinds exercises for your age, fitness level, skill level, and health status.
  • Choose activities you feel you can do safely.
  • Increase the amount you do gradually as your confidence and abilities grow.

Lack of skill

  • Select activities that don't require new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.
  • Take a class to develop new skills.

High cost and lack of facilities

Weather conditions

  • Develop a set of regular activities that are always available regardless of the weather, such as dance, indoor swimming, stair climbing, or mall walking.
  • Or, bundle up, go outside, and have fun!

More information

Getting started with physical activity

General benefits of physical activity and specifically for:

Active People, Healthy Nation. Creating an Active America, Together.

Want additional tips and resources to be active?
Learn about Active People, Healthy NationSM, CDC’s national initiative to help people be more physically active.