One of the biggest objections I hear from people when asked why they don’t start working out is that they are too busy for fitness, or they can’t find the time to work out between all the other things they do everyday. Even worse is this statement: I’m too tired to work out. Well to all those people I say this: Malarky! While I agree that pretty much everyone these days has every minute of their lives planned out to do something, I don’t agree that you can’t find just 30 minutes 4-5 days a week to take care of the most important thing you have: YOUR HEALTH! How important are soccer games for the kids, shopping, or watching the latest episode of America’s Got Duck Dynasty Pawn Star Talent if your sick, in the hospital, or dead? I know that’s a little harsh but this is serious stuff! The stakes are high here, and it’s up to you to find the time to make yourself healthy. With that in mind I found a few tips and tricks to use if you think you’re too busy for fitness.
For all of these tips all I’m suggesting is that you find 30 – 45 minuts a day to move more than you currently do. I’m not talking about doing an hour of Insanity here or 2.5 hours in the gym like a fitness model, just a moderately paced 30 – 40 minute workout to get you and your heart moving. The first step in this exercise is to take just 10 minutes and jot down what you do each day and when you do it. It’s important to be honest with yourself here as that is the only way it’ll work. I also find it best to plan a workout as early as possible in the day. That way if you miss it, you can always try to find the time later in the same day.
Make a Trade
Since no one has figured out exactly how to make a longer day, the easiest thing to do is find something that you’re currently doing on a regular basis and trade it for your health and fitness. My pet peeve and first recommendation is this: TURN OFF THE TELEVISION. The same goes for other electronics as well, whether it’s the TV, computer, tablet, e-reader, smart-phone, or dumb-phone just turn it off. Considering that Americans watch an average of 3-hours of TV a day and 2.4 hours a day on the Internet (not working) I’m certain you can pick one TV show you can sacrifice or play a few less games of Candy Crush in the name of your health.
Do the Shift
If you really thoroughly and consciously look at how you spend your time each week and can’t find 30 minutes a day for 5 days, then you have to look at what your doing and start time shifting activities. For example if you grocery shop on Tuesdays and take the kids to baseball practice on Wednesdays, maybe you can shop while the kids are practicing. If you find that your schedule is tied up with all your favorite primetime shows, maybe it’s time for a DVR so you can watch your shows after your workout and fast forward through commercials. Maybe you spend an hour before work in the morning getting ready and instead you can lay out your clothes and pack a breakfast for the commute the night before. This one is highly dependent on what you’re doing each day but with creativity it can help.
The other thing that might help you is combining or bundling your workout with other activities. Maybe you need to run to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and a couple small things. Ride a bike or walk instead of taking the car. Bring a backpack with you so you don’t need to carry the stuff in your hands on the way back. Do you spend a lot of time at soccer practice (or any other kids activity) waiting for them to be finished? Use that time to work out. Walk some laps around the field or school where they are practicing instead of waiting. Keep a set of gym clothes and shoes in the car so you’re ready.
Split it Up
Sometimes it’s not a matter of not having the time, it’s not being able to work out for 30-40 minutes straight or a combination of both those factors. If you find that’s the case for you, try splitting your workout in half. Most people think you have to do a ton of cardio at once to reap the benefits, not true! While it’s best to do so, there’s nothing that says you can’t take a 20 minute walk in the morning and a 20 minute walk after work. You can even break it up into 3 parts if you have to. Do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 at night. Then take 15 minutes out of your lunch break for a brisk walk outside. It’ll help you get fit and reduce your stress levels while at work.
Make it Fun
Sometimes we make the “not enough time” excuse because in reality we just hate exercise. Other times it’s just the fact that you’re really out of shape and exercising is hard. If that’s the case, make it fun! There’s a couple of ways to do this. Try playing with your kids outside or taking a longer walk with the dog. Find a community pool and swim for 30 minutes. Have a private dance party in your living room to your favorite music. Working out doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) just walking on a treadmill or following a workout on TV. It’s about getting your blood up an your body moving and having a good time. The other way to make it fun is creating a reward system (don’t make it food based) for working out. Maybe 5 workouts in a week gets you a manicure or a day at the spa, or maybe it gets you an extra hour of uninterrupted time in your man-cave.
There are a lot of ways to make the time to work out and get fit. The key is to make it fun and do whatever works for you. I’ve lost and gained weight over the years and have learned that the more fun I make exercise the easier it is for me to keep up with it. I look back at every time I stopped working out because I was “too busy” and I can see hours of time I spent doing other things that I could have spent working on and maintaining my health. If you have any of your own ideas or tips we’d love to hear about your journey on the road to fit, in the comments.
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