1. Health
Paige Waehner

What Not to Say to Someone Who Just Won't Exercise

By February 27, 2013

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My blog post about getting your spouse to exercise is one of my most popular, inspiring comments even now, almost a year after I posted it.

Clearly, this is a major issue in some relationships out there, as you'll see from some of these comments:

"I always get the "I'm an adult, you're not my mother" whenever I'd suggest doing ANYTHING to get my husband to do anything beneficial for his health."
"I too have tried everything to get my husband to come with me to the gym, but he is so inconsistent. We have been married for 2 years and he has put on about 60 pounds. I am really worried about his health."
"We just operate from different manuals, appearance is important to me and it kills me that there is a growing gap between the two of us....we all age, but let's at least try and age gracefully, right?!"
"I've done everything I can think of to encourage my wife to exercise for the last 10 years: offering to coach, trying to make it fun, buying various workout equipment and gym memberships, etc. I've been rejected for the last 10 years. I've finally accepted that she's decided to be sedentary and there's nothing I can do about that. "

So, what's the answer to this conundrum? If I had it, I would sell it to you for the low, low, low price of $99.99. Or, I would just post it here. I have made some suggestions but, of course, there is no answer that fits every relationship and, sometimes, it's hard to find even one answer that fits.

What I do think is that there some approaches that can make the situation worse and I've fleshed out a few of those ideas in my latest article, What not to say to the loved one who just won't exercise. If you check it out, let me know your thoughts on the matter. What would you add to the list?

As always, I want to hear from you about this. Have you ever said something to a loved one about his/her exercise habits you regret? Or have you had a loved one try to 'motivate' you in precisely the wrong way? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

For your added reading pleasure, my article is part of a larger series that includes many more 'What Not to Say...' articles from some of our best Health and Fitness Guides at About.com. Check it out for some amazing content about everything from addictions and cancer to fitness and mental health. I have to say, I'm very proud of my fellow Guides for this series and of Christine, our Running Guide who put the whole thing together. I forget how much we rock sometimes.

And on a completely unrelated note, Happy Birthday to My Dear Husband...who I will not nag about exercise. (at least, not today...)

February 27, 2013 at 11:08 am
(1) falconridge says:

We know very, very, very well that we should be eating this and not eating that and should be exercising. We are tired of being told over and over and over as if we were dimwitted. We are tired of reading and hearing “Talk to your doctor before you…..”

February 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm
(2) Loring says:

I would add, as a person who has long struggled with weight and exercise (but keeps trying) that WE also need to understand where our spouses are coming from.

My husband used to make comments/suggestions a lot. At first it would really piss me off, but now I realize it is because he really does love me, wants to spend the rest of a long life WITH me, and he just wants to help. Our solution? He asks me what he can do to help, now, instead of shaming/nagging, etc. He loves to cook, so I tell him if he wants to help, cook good, healthy, easy to reheat meals & make lots of veggies for leftovers so we can have healthy snacks. It has worked out well for BOTH of us – he feels like he IS helping, and I don’t feel nagged.

March 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm
(3) Colette says:

Nagging never works for eating healthy or exercising. It has to be up to the person. I don’t exercise as much as I am supposed to (hardly ever right now), but I do not want to hear the exercise will make me feel better or make me less hungry, or any of the other reasons people give you to exercise. I love Zumba, since my mom passed away almost 2 years ago, I have regained about 50 lbs. I want to exercise but my motivation died when she did. Trying to get that back is very hard and I am working on it. Mom was very positive in my weight loss journey and encouraged me without being critical or any other negative things. She understood.

March 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm
(4) Richard says:

My daughter told me she gave my 80 year old brother a hug and said, “He is solid muscle!”

I thought to myself, “You are 40 pounds overweight, have a 44 inch waist, back trouble, acid reflux and who knows what else (I do not have high blood pressure or colestorol).

That statement, to me at 67,was enough to get me moving. My wife had patted my paunch, but I never got the hint.

It took three years, but I weigh 175, have a 34 inch waist, lift weights and excercise on a regular basis. I sleep better, do not have any pain in my back and no acid reflux.

Nagging and subtle hints don’t work, but something just may spark a start.

I had a high school clasmate’s wife say to him, “He is the same age as you? He looks 10 years younger.” That was his spark and he now excercises on a regular basis. He has lost 20 pounds and like me has done it with excercise. Diet, while considered, is not the major factor.

My Doctor said that the best thing I could have done for myself was lose the weight and excercise.

My wife is happy too.

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