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How do I convince my over-protective parents to let me exercise?

107 Answers
Last Updated: 11/10/2021 at 6:40pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Paola Giordani, Psychoanalyst

Licensed Psychoanalyst

I have helped and am helping people cope with loss, divorce, anguish and parenting. Depression is also a major issue that comes up.

Top Rated Answers
July 25th, 2018 7:42am
you can talk to them about the health benefits of exercising and how it would not only improve your physical but also your mental well-being :)
August 10th, 2018 6:49am
Explain to them how healthy and beneficial exercise is! Maybe encourage them to join you :) So many benefits for the whole family!
August 12th, 2018 8:13am
There are many ways to excersise without even leaving the house. For example there are many videos on YouTube with good indoor routines. It does depend on why they don't want you to excersise though. For example if it's due to health reasons it may be better to look at it from their perspective.
September 12th, 2018 12:13pm
This can be a difficult situation, but it is important to remember that nobody can really control you. You are your own person. Instead of feeling that your partner must "let" you exercise, think to yourself, "I want to exercise, I will exercise." Making an affirmation to yourself will allow you to feel more confident, and to realize you are your own boss. Behind doing simple exercises at home, mix stretches into daily routines such as getting dressed or while doing chores. Think of grocery bags as weights and loft them with pride. You'll start to feel like you're exercising, co finance will increase. If you have a staircase, run up and down it for cardio. Your partner will likely notice this, and may see the positive change it makes in you.
September 29th, 2018 1:13pm
The best thing you could do in this situation would be to do some research on different studies that shows why it's benefitial for someone to excercise. Once you feel confident in your research you should sit down with them and talk them through the heath benefits of leading an active lifestyle. Remember, just like rome wasn't built in a day this will take some time as the only reason's why parents are over-protective is that they have worries for you and just want the best for you, the best would not be to push things but to calmly present the research and your own personal reasonings behind why you want to statt excercising.
October 10th, 2018 9:15pm
I think this really depends on your relationship with your parents and their reasons for not allowing you to exercise. However I would personally have an open and honest discussion with them to understand their perspectives and to let them know why you want to exercise. I would want them to know that it was something that would make me happy and that would have benefits. Try to listen to their concerns and alleviate them if you can. Perhaps a compromise can be reached which would leave everyone feeling happy. If you find it hard to talk to your parents or feel that you wouldn't be able to articulate your feelings well enough then perhaps you could write them a letter. I find that writing things down helps me organise my thoughts which can be especially useful when you are preparing to have a difficult conversation with someone.
October 18th, 2018 6:24pm
To start, you could try looking at exercises like yoga, which you could do by yourself, and slowly wean it into your regime, and when they see that you are benefiting from it, they will probably be persuaded to let you add small things into your regime, like going for a run or going to the gym once a week, and this will show them how much you're into it, and you'll be getting fitter and happier, and this will show them that it's a thing that'll really help you, and most likely, you will be able to continue exercising and enjoying yourself! :)
November 9th, 2018 4:05pm
This question depends a lot on the reason you want to exercise, and why your parents don't want to let you. There may be a reason your parents are being protective. If you haven't asked them why yet, that may be a good place to start. Think about why you personally want to exercise, and evaluate if that reason is healthy mentally and physically. If you're positive that you want to work out for the right reasons, it may be beneficial to have a conversation with your parents. Keep in mind, parents are over-protective because they love you! Good luck.
January 13th, 2019 2:26am
Talk to them about why exercising is important to you, both for your health and mental well-being. Work with them to come to an agreement over what you can do, which will involve compromise... e.g. taking a cell phone with you when you run or only going at certain times. I they won't budge on letting you go out alone, would they let you join a running club or sports club? If so, you could do that, and probably make some new friends too! Ask them what they did when they were your age. Did they go out alone? Play soccer on a team? This might get them to think 'as you'. In these discussions, remember they just have your best interests at heart and they're only being overprotective because they love and care for you.
March 21st, 2019 3:21pm
if your parents are not cool with you working out that is not fair because you need to exercise. it is good for your health and prevents diseases. if i were in your shoes, i would be upset and have a talk with them and exercise anyway. i know parents are over-protective if you go running in the woods. you should then workout with a friend. exercise is good for your mental health as well. most parents are over-protective but exercise that doesn't seem normal? maybe if you ask your parents to all go on a bike ride together that might help solve the problem.
May 18th, 2019 2:00pm
Explain to them how important exercise is for your physical and mental health. Exercise increases your dopamine levels which makes you happy, its like a free anti-depressant! And on top of that, exercise is also natural and won't have side effects (apart from sore muscles for a couple of days :)). If you are physically fit, you can do more things. You will wake up happier, you will walk around with a spring in your step. If you explain the benefits of those things, I'm sure that your parents will understand. If they don't allow you to join a public gym, then demand a private one haha
August 21st, 2019 2:17pm
It depends: are their concerns about you exercising legitimate? If you have health problems that would prevent you from doing certain activities, then their concerns are reasonable. If they are simply scared of you doing any healthy activity, try to think about why they are afraid. Is it because they think you’ll hurt yourself? Then find an activity like body weight exercises and light yoga that would be unlikely to hurt you. Is it because you would be out of their sight while you exercise? Then try to include them in exercise by inviting them to play tennis or work out with you, or at least find some reliable means of contact like a cell phone so you can talk to them even if they’re not around. Mainly, just try to understand their concerns, and try to alleviate them as much as you can. And don’t forget, it’s probably possible to get in a few pushups or even hand stretches or muscle flexing when they’re not watching!
March 5th, 2020 5:26am
First it might be helpful to find the exact reasons your parents are not letting you exercise. Without knowing that, it is hard to propose any sort of solution. After an open discussion I may learn more about their reasons and be able to come up with acceptable solutions. For example if they feel that jogging is unsafe, I could find a partner, a safe jogging space, or a treadmill. I also know that exercise is very important to my health and have plenty of scientific information to back that up so that would be an important part of the discussion.
March 8th, 2020 8:47pm
Maybe you could explain to them that there are many different ways to exercise, and while sports are a great way to get exercise, it's not the only way. I play sports and I know that even when I properly warm up, wear the necessary equipment, and play smart, there is still a chance of an injury. But exercise doesn't have to be sports. There are exercises such as squats, push-ups, curl-ups, jumping rope, and many others that can even be done inside the house. Walking and jogging is also a great way to exercise and it has a low chance of injuries. Going to a local gym is also an option but if your parents are worried about you misusing the equipment and getting hurt, maybe they could go with you or hire a personal trainer who can watch your form and make sure you don't hurt yourself.
April 26th, 2020 11:50pm
As a parent a child need to understand that it is natural for them to be over protective. If you want to go and exercise and they wont let you go, invite them to go with you. Exercise could also be beneficial for them. A reason a parent is over protective is because they do not know who is there with their child. If your parents are going with you to the gym and they get to meet the gym staff, they will feel more comfortable letting you go. All a parent wants is to know is that their child is safe
May 20th, 2020 3:34pm
One thing I might suggest is making them view the situation from a neutral perspective. Perhaps next time you talk about exercising with your parents, you might say 'what do you think other parents think of restrictions i have?' 'do they think exercising is dangerous?'. Try to sound neutral and non judging so they will not disregard your oppinion. Mention to them that you can understand their worries for your health and safety even though you disagree. One way you might say it is ' i understand that you love me and want to protect me, but try viewing the situation from my perspective, and consider how exercising can actually be healthy'.
June 12th, 2020 12:51am
Explain to them that exercising is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Reassure them about any worries they have in terms of where you are exercising. You can show them the positive effects of exercising and also show that there are detrimental effects from lack of exercise in the long run. If they insist that they don’t feel comfortable with you exercising at a certain location try to come up with an agreement. Maybe that you will go with a family member/ trusted family friend to the gym so they feel more secure. Explain that you are concerned for your personal health and exercising is only beneficial.
June 26th, 2020 2:44am
Sometimes parents need to hear from a professional in the medical or athletic field the facts about what you and your body can handle. Parents are always afraid their children will hurt themselves or overdo something. Parents fear that you will injure yourself so far as to cripple or disable your body for the rest of your life - thus causing you to lose the chance to achieve your dreams. Health and safety are incredibly important to your guardians, they very much want you as safe and as healthy as possible. Still, because they may not understand the science and metabolism of the human body - they might fear things like high intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training, and intermittent fasting. You can try to direct them to books to read about the subjects, but adults also talking to other adults help. Especially if the people they are talking to are well educated about exercise and the things you are interested in accomplishing with your work out goals. So if your parent is having trouble accepting your work outs, have them talk to a personal trainer, or a doctor. Ask them to listen and ask questions about their concerns so that you can move forward safely.
July 3rd, 2020 9:07pm
This really depends on why they aren’t letting you exercise. Is it because they feel you are over obsessive when it comes to things like this and they fear you may end up with disordered tendencies? Are they afraid of you encountering strangers while going on runs or going to the gym? Try to see their point of view and their reasoning so that you can explain yours and why you see things differently. If you don’t know why they have concerns about you exercising, just ask them honestly why. I will be wishing you the best of luck here
July 23rd, 2020 2:37am
I have talked to a therapist or doctor about this issue before, and they helped set up a time for all of us to meet together. Having a trusted professional who has your health care in mind and your concerns can be helpful in communicating your desire to exercise to your parents, and they can help you understand why your parents may be concerned about you exercising. Communication with parents can be tricky when they aren’t seeing your side and you don’t understand why they won’t let you do something. A professional can help bridge this miscommunication, and it really helped me when I had trouble with overprotective parents not letting me do the things that were important to me. It also helps because it usually won’t end in an argument and you can learn more skills for communicating with your parents in the future.
September 14th, 2020 2:21am
Think about why you want to exercise and express your feelings from there. Having a reason behind it shows them that you are serious about this. Since you say they are overprotective, I suppose they will have many questions for you when you ask. So, think about all of the important aspects of exercising. It is important to have a healthy conversation about this. Maybe you can come up with a few questions yourself so the conversation will be two-sided. But, make sure you are respectful in the process. I believe this is important to you, so just be honest and you will be fine!
October 16th, 2020 8:06pm
You could definitely tell them you want to start exercising and even ask one of them to come with you if they'd like and exercise with you. You could always exercise in your living room at the start and work your way up, maybe the garage next, then in front of your house while your mom/dad sits and soaks in the sun. Talking to them and explaining the health benefits of exercising and how they overweigh any risks might help too. teamwork helps both you and your parents and communication is definitely important. don't hide your thoughts. let them know how you feel
October 28th, 2020 11:44am
Maybe explain to them the positive things exercising would do for you, the health benefits (mentally and physically). Also to ease their minds, explain to them how you've taken under consideration all the dangers and maybe solutions to said dangers, so you can show them you are serious about this decision. Make sure to ask them to provide you with reasons why you shouldn't do that, and try to debunk their reasons with logic. Try to understand their perspective, because at the end of the day they want the best for you, even though sometimes it may get lost in translation.
October 29th, 2020 3:47am
Have you and your parents had a chance to sit down and speak to try to understand their reasoning for not allowing you to exercise? Being able to understand each other is important in maintaining healthy relationships and may help find a resolution. They may also not understand you the reason that you want to exercise. If you are able to express how you feel to them, discussing issues that come up may become easier. It can result in both sides being happy with the solution. Sometimes, compromising with each other can be the best option. Hope this helps out!
October 31st, 2020 3:56am
This is a really great question! I understand that it can be hard to do things like get exercise when you have parents that are overprotective of you and your well being. I might try to find exercises that allow you to stay close by so that you don't have to be too far away fro them. Another thing I might consider is talking to them about how you feel that exercise is important and beneficial to you. You might be able to work something out where you can get exercise and they can have confidence that you will be okay while doing so! This could be a plan like letting them know where you are going and when, or picking a workout place and sticking to it so that they know where you are when you are working out. I hope this helps!
November 11th, 2020 12:01pm
That is very interesting question. I guess it is because the statistics show that almost 40% of people are obese. And majority of people are making weight reduction as their New Year resolution. But you are talking about your parents. Here it goes. To convince your parents who are over-protective require you to do some investigative work. You need to ask your parents questions. 1. Reasons that your parents are against exercise? 2. Is there any type of exercise that they would allow? 3. Are they aware of the positive effects exercise have? You have to do some homework to give them. 4. Did something bad happen to them when they exercise. These are questions you can start with. Once they respond to these questions. You can tailor your conversation to satisfy them that you are able to make a healthy decision for yourself about exercising. And finally, you know yourself best about the situation such as underlying medical condition that may require more supervision (from a Doctor, etc.). I will leave you with those thoughts. Have a safe journey to better health. And by the way, do not be too touch on your over-protective parents. It is just their way to show they care.
November 18th, 2020 2:30pm
First, sit them down and explain to them you understand why they're over-protective, that you understand it's coming from a place of care and compassion, however, in this way it is interfering with something productive and healthy. From there you can explain the benefits of exercising and even try to compromise with them by agreeing on exercising at home or a certain gym and perhaps even inviting them to do it with you. Make it into an activity for both yourself and your parents this way they can see that it truly is beneficial to your physical and mental health. You can go further to compromise with them by agreeing on a schedule as well. Just make sure you're communicating and that they express their concerns and worries and you do too, both parties should always be heard.
November 25th, 2020 6:34am
Tell them that it isn’t bad to exercise and if they think that exercising may bruise or leave you in hurt tell them that it is just a starting point and that we never learn until we fail. In the same way you should learn to exercise by getting hurt tripping over because it makes it fun now you are gonna say that being bruised up isn’t fun I agree but a bruise tells stories you remember some funny some scary it is up to you second thing you can tell your parents how important it is for your health but if they think you shouldn’t do it because of your health or eating habits then just explain them that as we start exercising we tend to feel more hungry which makes us eat a lot I used to be in my school basketball team from year 7 to year 9 and I know how it impacted me my eating habits changed though now i don’t eat a lot of food I have got a habit of having something to eat every now and then due to the extra effort I had to put on for my matches
December 3rd, 2020 10:52pm
You can explain to them the benefits of exercise, such as a better state of mind and lower risk of heart disease. For exercises that are deemed "dangerous" such as weightlifting, it is important to stress that such exercises are not inherently dangerous, and that injury only occurs in people that are using incorrect form, or lift recklessly to impress others. When using correct form and adequate weight for your relative strength, lifting weights has many benefits. In fact, those that lift weights have better bone density than those who do not. You should explain to your parents that you want to exercise as a way to promote your health. If possible, you could reach out to a trainer near you to explain the benefits of exercise.
December 25th, 2020 11:44pm
Find a good time to talk to them! Tell them your reasons why you want to exercise. Get them to understand. At the same time, ask why they don't want you to exercise. If they're not letting you, there should be a reason why. When both you and your parents fully understand each other's reasons, compromise! Find a solution that works for both you and your parents! Maybe your parents don't want you to go to the gym because the equipment might hurt you: do exercises at home instead! Maybe your parents are scared you might overwork yourself: create a workout schedule that builds up your strength slowly, so you don't end up overworking your body all at once. The biggest thing here is communcation and understanding. Good luck!