What to do When You Don’t Have Time To Exercise
“I don’t have time” may be the most overused excuse when it comes to working out and eating better. In today’s world its no exaggeration. We are the generation of multi-taskers; for the most part we love to be busy, to over work ourselves everyday, and try to fit it all in. Unfortunately, the first thing that often gets pushed to the back burner is our health. Why we put the one thing that can improve the quality of our lives and extend it for years to the back burner is beyond me, but hey its the truth. Heck, juggling a full-time job, nursing school, and raising these two beautiful, energetic pups, has had me muttering this a time or two as well.
So what’s the deal? Are we really too busy to exercise, eat right, and live the healthiest life we are capable of? Probably not.
Look, I get it. There are going to be days where you are gone from sun up to sun down and getting to the gym for an hour workout is just not going to happen, and that’s fine! But here’s some tips and tricks to help you get that exercise in even when you think you can’t.
First and foremost you need to make your health a PRIORITY in your life.
The truth of the matter is that “I don’t have enough time” is a pretty lame excuse. I hear it all the time from clients and when we really break down their day, there is no excuse at all. We have a tendency to make time for the things that we care about and justify the things we can’t. When it comes to working out and eating right, consistency over time, is the key factor. You may miss a day here or there, eat a meal that doesn’t quite fit into your plan, but if you are consistent more often than not, you will still see results. So make it a priority in your life, something that matters to you, something that you are passionate about. Find a form of exercise you enjoy and stick to it, make it a habit. If you can do that, you will find that you have more time for it than you may have thought.
Secondly, make it fit your schedule. I’m talking about both when you workout, and for how long you workout for. Here’s some life altering, shattering news for you:
You don’t need to workout 6-7 days a week for 1-2 hours at a time to see results.
Research shows that even three 10 minute exercise breaks during the day can give you the same health benefits as one 30 minute session, if not better. The Journal of Physiology published data showing that two high intensity sessions totaling less than twenty minutes, combined, can have positive impacts on your body’s ability to handle insulin (which helps you fight off diabetes). You don’t necessarily need hour-long workouts to get the results you want to see if you are consistent and following a progressive program.
Along with this point, find a time (or times) of day that you can actually exercise. For me, even though I am not a morning person, that is the time of day that works best with my schedule. After a long day of classes, clinicals, studying, and work, I can come up with a thousand excuses to miss a workout. Getting out of bed an hour early and getting my workout in leaves me with an open slate for the rest of the day so no matter what happens, I won’t have to worry about missing it. Try out this 20 minute circuit workout you can do anywhere. Add weights to the exercises if you can, and always adjust exercises to your level:
Now that you have made it a priority and found out how much exercise is realistic for your life, make it even easier by finding a gym that makes this all come together. If the gym you are signed up at is across town and takes you 30 minutes to get there, then I’m sorry to say no matter how perfect it may be, it’s not perfect for you, especially if you are tight on time. Find a gym that’s close to where you spend most of your day, or even pick up some equipment to work out at home or the office on your lunch break.
Finally, some last tips for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle: sneak it in. There’s evidence to show that living a more active lifestyle improves people’s lives. Finding opportunities to walk more and sit less, may not be a substitute for a short session at the gym, but it definitely helps. I would still be happy if a client told me they couldn’t get to the gym today, but for the first time ever they walked over 10,000 steps, did squats in their office while talking on the phone, or lunged from room to room when they got home for the whole night. To me this shows me that it’s a priority to them, and that even on the worst days they are banishing those excuses. If your goal is to lose some weight and live a healthier life, you don’t have to be doing the “perfect” exercise routine for it to work and add benefit to your life. You just need to find the routine that is perfect for you and work with what you can.
Readers: how do you fit exercise into your busy life? What do you find is the one thing that makes it hard to fit it in?