Finding Time to Exercise
Although we all know the benefits of regular exercise, finding time to fit this in with our extra-busy lives can be a real challenge. No matter how motivated we might be to workout, time (or the lack of it) is often the number one reason why exercise doesn’t get done. However, there are a number of simple ways to find enough time to make this work and you can use one, some or all of them. In no particular order;
- Plan your workouts in advance. Get a calendar and find gaps in your diary where you can fit in your workouts, and make sure you stick to them. If you plan ahead you often find you have more time than you thought you had, and you’re also more likely to stick to your plan. Get as organised as you can, and when you use your diary fill everything in such as other appointments, school and children’s events, work meetings and then put it on a wall for everyone to see. Use it to remind yourself that you do have time to exercise and do everything else too. If you are trying to lose weight or reach a certain fitness target, put these target dates on it as well.
- Steal some time out of your day. ‘Pinching’ time that you would not normally use can be a very good way of getting exercise you would not normally be able to – a good example of this is waking earlier than usual to add workout time for a morning run or swim. And, you get to go through the rest of your day knowing you’ve already done your workout!
- Cut down on watching television. Many people spend hours each week watching television programmes that they have forgotten about by the next day. Watch your favourite shows, and record any that you may want to watch later, but take a long hard look at the amount of time that you may be wasting in front of the TV and use it to exercise. If you have to, watch a programme on the TV when using your gym’s cardio equipment instead!
- Always be prepared. You never know when you might find time for a workout, so be ready for when you do. Keep your workout gear in your car and take advantage of any chance to exercise when you get it. Keep two exercise outfits in your car as well as a towel and basic toiletries so you can have a quick freshen up after a run or workout.
- Think about multi-tasking. It really is possible to use exercise time to do other things too, especially if jogging or using a gym. Use your MP3 player to listen to that book you’ve wanted to hear for ages, or that music or radio programme you’ve never had time to listen to. Try not to do work stuff when exercising – make exercise time enjoyable and keep it separate from your work.
- Include your partner. You might be having a great time once you start to feel fitter but if your partner feels left out then resentment can build up. Having a supportive partner is vital in not only approving of you spending some of your free time out exercising, but also in providing encouragement for any fitness goals you have. Just as you make time for your exercise, also allow your partner to schedule time for their pursuits – all healthy relationships work best with a lot of give-and-take!
- If you have a family, get them involved. If you have children, get them involved in activities so they feel like they are taking part with you as well, and that your pursuit of fitness is not affecting quality time with them. Start jogging with your older children, and remember that if they see you exercising and feeling better, hopefully they’ll want to do that as they age too. Invite them to watch, participate and ask questions about your exercising.
- Prepare for setbacks. Despite all your best efforts there will be times when you simply just can’t fit it all in and exercise has to take a back seat. Accept that this might happen and be prepared to not let it get you discouraged and come back more determined the next day. Keep a workout journal to stay motivated or go online to track your fitness progress. By regularly seeing your effort and results, it’s easy to get back in the swing of things if things don’t go to plan.