“I just don’t have time to exercise.”
Sound like you? You’re not alone. “No time” is the number one excuse people make for not exercising. Not to be cruel, but let’s be honest. It isn’t about having the time—it’s about making the time. Your health, fitness, and waistline depend on it.
Work, school, job, and family life place so many demands on your time that finding a “free” hour three to five days a week can seem difficult, if not impossible. But what about thirty minutes (almost) every morning? Or fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen at night? Or ten minutes three to five times a day? Get the idea?
Read on to learn some more easy tips that will help you find enough time to make exercise part of your life.
Tip #1: Break It Up
As noted above, you don’t need to devote one continuous time block to exercise in order for it to be effective.
In a 2012 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers found that “three 10-min aerobic exercise sessions were an effective exercise alternative to continuous exercise for cardiovascular risk reduction.”
And in “Exercise: A Changing Prescription,” Harvard Magazine reports that one of the findings of the Harvard Alumni Health Study concluded that “as long as the energy expended was the same, it did not matter whether the exercise was carried out all at once in a single bout or broken up into several shorter bouts.”
Tip #2: Use a Fitness Tracker
You’ve seen them on wrists, and now it might be time you got yourself one of the new, accurate, and affordable fitness trackers. They can record, track, and display every step you take, even every heartbeat. Accumulating your results throughout the day can help turn every activity into a fitness activity!
People who wear fitness trackers and pedometers tend to walk more because they’re more aware of their steps. They’re often trying to reach that elusive 10,000 steps. If you’d like to increase the intensity and effectiveness of your walk, always avoid elevators and use the stairs.
Perhaps not the most fun choice, but very effective. Set your alarm thirty minutes earlier every day, and use those extra 30 minutes for exercise. This is an especially good option if you work out at home (see Tip #4 below). And it’s simple because you don’t need to change any other part of your routine other than inserting this daily 30-minute workout.
You’ll have very few distractions and no meetings at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. Get it done before the family wakes up and the demands of your day get in the way. Run around the block, use a jump rope, hop on your treadmill, or press play on your favorite fitness DVD.
Tip #4: Exercise at Home
You don’t need a gym full of expensive equipment to enjoy the benefits of exercise. All you really need are comfortable clothes and shoes, your own body weight, and a couple of simple exercise tools (such as a suspension trainer and a pull up bar).
One bonus of in-home training is that no one will see you, especially at 5 a.m. No need to waste valuable time choosing outfits or accessories when you can work out in your pajamas. According to the Houston Chronicle, a home gym can help you achieve your fitness goals without the hassles associated with a gym membership.
Tip #5: Join a team
There are definite advantages to exercising as part of a group. By joining a softball, hockey, soccer, or swim team through your YMCA or local parks and recreation department, you’re committing to a fun form of exercise and training. In addition, your accountability to your coach and teammates ensures you’ll continue to exercise. Team sports provide a wealth of physical and mental benefits.
As an alternate approach, you can sign your grade-school age children up for a team and exercise during your “soccer mom” or “soccer dad” wait time. Think about joining with other parents and to work out together at the facility, park, or football/soccer field.
If you’re an average adult, you spend a minimum of sixteen hours a week watching television. The Daily News suggests the number is as high as five hours every day! Still think you don’t have time to exercise? Break the addiction—or if you can’t, use it to your advantage. Find a reasonably priced used treadmill, stair stepper, rower, or stationary bike. Drag it directly in front of your television, and enjoy your favorite television shows as you pedal, row, or walk for 30 minutes. And all that time you spend online could be put to better use as well.
Tip #7: Make Exercise a Priority
Don’t wait until your first heart attack to realize that diet, exercise, health, and fitness are incredibly important. Exercise can offset many of the bad choices we make every day, from that donut in the morning to the seven hours you spend glued to the chair in your office.
We’re good at making time for the activities that are important to us. Just recognize that exercise and fitness are important. Not just to you but also to your family, as it may help you spend many more years with them. Make exercise a priority. Put it on your schedule, and guard that fitness time slot as though your life depends on it.