Robust inspiration

The American writer William Faulkner said, ‘I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes at nine o’clock every morning’.

With both writing and exercise, it’s healthy to want motivation but unwise to wait around for it to appear out of thin air.

Here are three common barriers to exercise and some hints that will help you say, ‘I only exercise when I’m motivated. Fortunately, I’m motivated every day’.


Our busy lifestyles can push exercise to the fringes of our schedules. The mornings are short and cold. The evenings are when the kids do their exercise. In a busy week, making the most of short blocks of time can be crucial.

Building exercise into your daily routine can keep you active. Taking the stairs instead of the lift, going for a stroll in your lunch break, cycling rather than driving to work, walking on the treadmill while you’re watching TV might not take as much time out of the day as you think.

Another good idea for the busy worker is to commit to a schedule. Joining a sporting team or gym class locks you in to a regular pattern of exercise that’s more difficult to squeeze out of your calendar than that occasional run.


Not enjoying exercise can also stand in the way of an active lifestyle. This, too, is a problem that can be overcome. The number of ways to get active is really only limited by your imagination. It’s okay not to like swimming, running, or organised sport. Have you tried yoga, surfing, gardening, dancing, unicycling, or rock-climbing?

You might just learn a new skill and meet people in the process. In fact, deciding to do something with friends might be the way to make a walk (almost) as enjoyable as catching up for coffee. You can always walk to your favourite café.


The fear of injury sometimes prevents people from being active. Just as there are thousands of different kinds of exercise to fit everyone’s interests, there are also many types of exercise to match everyone’s physical capacity.

If you’re worried you might be stirring something up, you can always check with your physio to get the all-clear and brainstorm ideas that will fit with your body, your interests and your busy schedule.

Your knees might not let you do everything you used to be able to do, but they will definitely let you do something every day, and ultimately thank you for it.