Five points to consider when you want to fit fitness into a hectic life
When I tell people what I do for a living, many will tell me they wish they had the time to exercise, but just can't seem to fit it in. This is one of the biggest excuses people give for not making exercise a part of their life. However, we all have time for the things we feel are important enough. Many people actually have more time than they think. Research now supports breaking increased activity into 10-minute blocks, which anyone can do without even thinking about it.
Do any of these scenarios sound like you?
? I am too tired to do anything after work so I drop down in front of the TV
? With the kids and husband, there is just no time for me
? I work too many hours and have too many responsibilities to get away from the office
? First thing in the morning I always spend an hour drinking my coffee and reading the paper
? I really need to relax in the middle of the day, so I read fiction books at lunchtime
? I'd love to exercise but there's no place for me to do it
? I'm too tired at night and I hate to get up early in the morning
Although exercise is a normal part of my own life, I also try to include a 90-120 minute walk into town several times a week. As I was taking that walk the other day, I realized that there are things in my own life that I perceive I have no time for. This thought gave me a laugh, because here I was, spending 2 hours doing something that other people perceive they have no time for!
In this article, I will give you five helpful tips on how to fit regular fitness into your hectic lifestyle. Then, if you are able to find the time, lack of time will no longer be a valid excuse. My question to you will then be this: Do you continue to not exercise because you don't have the time or don't have the will? That is a subject for a different article.
1. Determine when you could realistically spend time exercising
When starting a new activity, you have to first realistically determine when you can DO that activity. If you are busy driving home from work or cooking dinner at 5pm each night that will not be the time of day to try to exercise. So, pull out your calendar and put some serious thought into when, every day, you could do some type of exercise. Don't worry about what that exercise is, just determine the time and how much time it would be.
Example: You really would like to go to bed earlier each night. This may be the motivator you've been looking for, because if you went to bed earlier, you could get up earlier, and then exercise.
Example: You really could use a break from work in the middle of the day. You often take a couple hours for lunch just to escape work, so this could be shortened to also include some type of activity. There is a racquetball court not far from work and you have some old college buddies who might be interested in a lunchtime game or two.
Example: If you exercised first thing in the morning, before other activities, it would be done each day without guilt. You really do have the time if you do it first thing but you just let yourself sleep in each morning.
Example: There is just no place on your schedule that you can find a continuous 60 minutes you are willing to commit to exercise. However, you could do 20 minutes in the morning, 15-20 minutes at lunch, and 20 minutes in the evening.
2. Investigate what activities you would like to do
Again, it has to be something you're going to enjoy, or it won't matter that you found the time! So, consider all options that are realistic. Do you have a pool that you would enjoy using? Look into group exercise classes at clubs near you, or perhaps the local "Y". Some people do better if they are committed to show up somewhere, others prefer to do it at home and not have to dress to come and go.
Sit down and make a list of all possibilities as well as all locations you would like to look into. Consider finding an exercise partner. Maybe you would enjoy taking a walk with a neighbor, family member or friend.
Example: Several friends have invited you to join their basketball game once a week after work. You have thought about it but never follow through.
Example: You see two neighbors out walking each morning. You know them both but have put off contacting them to see if they would mind a third person.
Example: A workmate has been taking a Yoga class at lunchtime each week. She has invited you several times but you have always found some excuse to avoid it.
Example: You have a treadmill at home that stores blankets. You can clean them off and use it in the morning and night, and at lunch you can go for a walk with workmates who take a 15 minute walk each day.
3. Put it on your calendar
Especially when you first start a new activity, if you don't write it down, you may forget about it. This may not be because you are trying to avoid it, but seriously because it's not a habit, yet. Also, the busier you are, the more important it is that you include it on your calendar. For some people, if it's on their calendar, they take the activity more seriously.
For example, I recently started taking Pilates classes, but they have to be entered into my calendar because it's between clients in the course of my day. If I did not have it on my calendar, I may forget and schedule clients in that time.
4. Prepare ahead for the activity
The more prepared you are, the more likely it is you will do it. If you exercise first thing in the morning, have your workout clothes out and ready to put on. If you walk during lunchtime at work, make sure you pack a bag that has your shoes and any change of clothes for the walk.
Another example of preparing would be if there is a class you'd like to take but you have scheduled another appointment for that time. If it's an appointment that can be moved, move that so that you can create a habit with your new exercise class.
5. Share your intentions with others
The more people you tell, the more likely you are going to do it. Sometimes just the thought of not doing something you told others you were doing is enough to keep
you going. Maybe it's a challenge to yourself to keep your word, out of integrity.
The more people you share this with, the more people who will be asking you how things are going. If you are skipping your workouts, soon people are going to ask if you really are doing them.
If just telling people about your intentions to exercise is not enough, perhaps telling the instructor of a class you've started to take would help. Or, talking to classmates and making the statement that you will see them in the next class could be enough.
For some people, just telling yourself your intentions would work. You could make a commitment to yourself and come up with a reward if you meet your commitment. One example of a reward might be buying yourself a new item of clothing or something else you would enjoy.
We've just looked at 5 strategies to overcome the excuse of not enough time to exercise. Research has shown that it's necessary to get 60 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week for people who wish to lose weight. If this is a goal you have, use the strategies above to overcome the perception of lack of time. For many people, simple strategies such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, using a pedometer to strive for 10,000 steps per day, or parking at the far end of the parking lot into various buildings can actually be included in increasing exercise to meet the 60 minute goal.
If you have been considering how to include exercise into your daily life, sit down and make a plan on how you are going to make it happen. Use the strategies above and perhaps one day you will be out taking a walk, thinking of all the other things you don't have time for.
Marjorie Geiser helps people overcome their confusion and distress they may feel when trying to add healthy eating and fitness into their busy lives. She offers a free, monthly newsletter on various topics of health. She is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer and Life Coach. To learn more about her services, go to her website at http://www.megfit.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.