If you were asked to write down the five things in life most important to you, what would you list? The usual answers include family, friends, God, financial security, and, of course, your health. Because, as they say, if you haven’t got your health, well, you’re in trouble. Yet the number one reason people give for not exercising regularly is “I haven’t got time.”
Yeah, right. And you have a low metabolism and a spandex allergy. Face it, it’s a cop out. What you really mean is that you’d rather be chillin’ on the couch watching Dancing With The Stars than working up your own sweat. The problem is we live in an automated age — we can send a letter with the click of a mouse and skip the walk to the mailbox. If your health is truly important to you, you have to program in exercise just like you program your TiVo.
But let’s play along. How much more time do you need to fit fitness into your day? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of activity three times a week, and you can even split that into two 15-minute segments. What if you could come up with at least 60 more minutes a day? But the rule is that when you find it, you have to spend it at the gym.
To find your hour, simply keep a log of how you spend your time in an average day. Most people sleep seven hours a day and work eight hours. Now estimate the time it takes you to shower, dress, eat, commute, and run errands. You might find that you spend more time than you realized singing in the shower or lingering over the paper during breakfast. By reducing errands to one big trip during the week instead of running out every time you think you need something, you’d save minutes, money, and Mother Earth. Speaking of ecology, if you could walk or bike to work even occasionally you’d get some exerciseand help the environment.
How about after work and dinner? According to Nielson research, the average American watches 4 hours and 35 minutes of TV a day. If you think that’s bad, consider a new cyber stress study that shows that 65 percent of Americans spend more time with their computer than with their families.
How do your numbers add up? Be honest — this is just between you and your running shoes. If you’re not sure where you stand, here’s a hint: If you haven’t missed an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, you have time to exercise. If you’ve seen all the movies that were up for Academy Awards this year, you can get in 30 minutes at the gym. If you know the top five videos on YouTube, you better dust off that treadmill.
Now that you are looking at your daily schedule in the flesh, decide where in your day you can trim some fat and add some muscle. Consider the early morning — people who exercise first thing in the morning are 75 percent more likely to stick with their program. Things just don’t come up at 5am to throw you off schedule. If you’ve never seen Ocala before daybreak, give your body a few weeks to get used to being an early bird. Once you set your exercise time, here’s the most important part — put it on your calendar just like any other appointment. Write it down, in ink. If your calendar is electronic, mark it as a reoccurring event and add a reminder.
OK, you’ve got a 30-minute workout scheduled for tomorrow. Don’t wait until then to plan the next step. Write down what you’re going to do during that half hour. Put it on your calendar, start a fitness log, or post it on the fridge. Whether you head to the gym for weight training or to the park for a walk/jog, you need to plan your work. Then pack your clothes and gear tonight and set them out so you can grab them and go.
If you are already thinking of an excuse for tomorrow, battle those negative thoughts with positive energy. There are many things you can do to get motivated.
If the thought of exercise ranks right up there with root canals, tax returns, and your annual physical, you may need to change your attitude along with your sweat socks. Your workout is your “me” time. Guard your fitness time like a coveted possession. Your investment in your health affects every other important thing in your life. You’ll be a better worker, parent, spouse, and friend.
It’s time well spent.
Tick! Tock! Terrific Time-Saving Tips:
- Keep a notepad handy and make lists of errands, phone calls, and home chores, then schedule blocks of time to accomplish each group in a more efficient manner.
- Set a limit on how long you will spend doing yard work, showering, watching TV, or surfing the net, then set a timer to alert you when to move on.
- Get up earlier! Move the alarm clock away from the bed so you have to get up to shut it off.
- Cook two or three dinners at once and refrigerate or freeze them for the rest of the week.
- Reduce the number of days you eat lunch or dinner out and save time as well as calories.
Ways To Get Motivated!
- Don’t focus on the scale. Regular exercise reduces stress, improves sleep quality, slows the aging process, and gives you more energy.
Use prayer or meditation to pass the time while walking, jogging, or biking.
- Listen to music or audiobooks while you work out.
- Start off slowly. Warming up for 5-10 minutes will rev up your psyche along with your muscles.
- Recruit a friend to join you. Having a partner makes it fun and gives you accountability.
- Commit! Get a trainer, sign up for a class or a 5K run, or take lessons to learn a new sport or to dance like the stars.
The Busy-Day Workout
This checklist can be done in 15 minutes at home or work. Start once a day, three times a week, and work up to twice a day.
- Walk briskly for 3 minutes.
- 15 squats, rest 15 seconds, repeat.
- 15 push-ups, rest 15 seconds, repeat. Start with your hands against the wall or counter edge and progress to the floor.
- 15 lunges, right foot forward, rest 15 seconds, repeat with left foot.
- 15 dips, rest 15 seconds, repeat. Start with hands on the edge of a sturdy chair or table.
- 30 abdominal crunches.
- Stretch for 2 minutes.