Overcoming Barriers to Exercise

Overcoming Barriers to Exercise: Getting Started is the Hardest Part

After a healthy diet, there’s one thing functional medicine doctors recommend to just about every patient. You probably already know what’s coming.


Did that word make you cringe? You’re certainly not alone. Most adults don’t even come close to getting the recommended amount of exercise each week… even though they know it can have tremendous benefits for their health.

And it may surprise you to hear that the recommendations are actually quite reasonable. Studies show that 1.25 to 2.5 hours of high-intensity exercise or 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week is ideal for most healthy adults looking to increase longevity.

Most functional medicine doctors recommend that their patients shoot for just 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week for optimal metabolic and cardiovascular health. That really shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve, even if you lead a busy lifestyle.

But maybe you’re dealing with chronic pain. Maybe you’re intimidated by all the equipment and people at the gym. Maybe you haven’t found an exercise that you enjoy. Or maybe you simply lack motivation or don’t know where to start.

Well, we’re here to help you get motivated because we want you to receive the joy and amazing health benefits that exercise can bring. We want to take the cringe out of exercise by finding what works for you.

Today, we’re overcoming the barriers to exercise with four types of exercise that even a beginner can do. Our goal is to get you to try something new and help you find enjoyable ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.



So, what is moderate-intensity exercise? Your heart rate is up, you’re working up a sweat, and it’s hard to breathe… but you can still speak without having to stop. All types of exercise can get you there, depending on how hard you choose to work. 

One of the key benefits of moderate-intensity exercise is that it makes your heart and blood vessels work harder to deliver oxygen and blood throughout your body. This strengthens your heart and lungs, in addition to giving your metabolism a boost, reducing stress, and so much more.

According to functional medicine experts, cardio is a great choice for beginners. That’s because anyone can do it without any special training or equipment. It’s amazing for improving your overall endurance and capacity when you’re just getting started, too.

If you haven’t been exercising regularly for a while, you’ve probably noticed that running for even just a minute straight is difficult. But the beauty of cardio is that after just a few weeks of regular practice, it becomes much easier to run a mile or more. That’s because cardio is fantastic for boosting endurance!

If you need more motivation, you should also know that cardio is good for your brain and mental health. Studies show that cardiovascular exercise can also help to lower high blood pressure and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Here are some examples of fun and effective cardio exercise that can easily be adjusted in intensity to suit your fitness level:

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Jogging or running
  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Skiing
  • Skating
  • Climbing
  • Rowing/Paddling

When it comes to cardio, there’s truly something for everyone. You can adjust the intensity easily simply by changing up your speed, route, and the length of your workouts. It’s a great way to get started!



Doctors at Rahav Wellness, who offer functional medicine services in New York City, recommend yoga to virtually all of their patients. That’s because yoga is incredibly beneficial for relieving stress and insomnia, which are both key contributors to most mental and physical health issues.

Functional medicine doctors also love yoga for patients who are dealing with chronic back, neck, or shoulder pain. Yoga helps to improve posture and balance, as well as strengthen and relax the muscles. Almost anyone can practice yoga, regardless of age or fitness level.

There are lots of different types of yoga to choose from, too. Yin yoga is perfect for those who are looking for a more restorative practice that improves flexibility and mobility. Flow yoga is ideal for building flexibility and strength.

There are also various types of yoga that are more intense, sometimes even incorporating weights or heat to make the workout more challenging. You can find a variety of yoga workouts on YouTube, through streaming services, or join a local class.


Kettlebell Training

As you’ve probably already guessed, we’re huge fans of kettlebell training. We love cardio but incorporating kettlebell training into your routine is essential for building and strengthening your muscles and joints. 

Kettlebell training reduces your risk of injury when exercising and provides numerous benefits that just about anyone can appreciate. They include:

  • Weight loss
  • Better balance and posture
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased longevity
  • Stronger bones
  • Improved muscle tone, strength, and endurance

If you’re a bit intimidated by kettlebell training, check out our 21 Days to Kettlebell Training for Beginners course. You will learn how to get started safely and use proper form to prevent injury, as well as how to get the most out of your workouts as you move from a beginner to an intermediate kettlebell enthusiast.


HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

How about a routine that gets you where you need to be in a shorter amount of time? According to studies, HIIT workouts can combine cardio with strength training and provide the same benefits in less time. If you’re not a fan of long workouts or don’t have time for the gym, HIIT might be for you.

So, what is HIIT? It’s simply doing short bursts of intense exercise or strength training with moderate-intensity intervals. This combination gets your heart rate up fast. It’s amazing for weight loss, heart health, and brain health.

The easiest way to get started with HIIT is to alternate between one minute of walking and one minute of jogging for fifteen to twenty minutes. You can slowly increase the intensity until you’re doing one minute of jogging followed by one minute of sprinting.

Over time as your fitness improves, you can switch things up by adding in intervals of body-weight resistance exercises, like pushups, pullups, or crunches, or incorporating kettlebells into your routine.


Wrapping Things Up: Creating a Routine That Works for You

So, you’ve learned about some fun ways to exercise and how they can benefit you, based on your goals and fitness level. But how do you incorporate them into your daily routine? How can you take exercise from something that makes you cringe to something you look forward to every day?

Start by changing your thought process to think of exercise in a more positive way. Then, turn exercise into a habit by doing just a little bit each day. Slowly increase that habit over time until you’re completing a full 30-minute workout five days a week.

If there are days where you don’t manage to squeeze in a workout, don’t beat yourself up for it. Just be sure to work out the next day and don’t allow skipping exercise to become the new habit. 

When it comes to creating a routine that works for you, consistency, positive thoughts, and finding an activity that you enjoy will make all the difference.


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