How to find time to exercise

Those who do not find time to exercise, sooner or later will have to find time for illness.” -Earl of Derby, Edward Stanley

One of the key barriers  that people cite as preventing them from doing exercise is lack of time. I’m going to help out with a few strategies for getting around this.

Plan ahead;

Plan in advance when you’re going to exercise. I don’t think that  it’s necessary to plan more than a day or two ahead but it’s definitely helpful to consider when you can fit your sessions in. Think  about commitments that you have to meet and identify gaps where you can fit exercise in. Doing this makes exercise a  priority. It makes a mental ‘appointment’ in an already busy schedule where you know that you’re going to exercise and prevents other activities or distractions from taking over.

Get it out of the way early;

I personally think that the earlier you can exercise, the better. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting up at 5am. to exercise before work but means using the first available opportunity  in a day, e.g. as soon as you finish work, as soon as you get home, or as the first activity after breakfast on a weekend/day off. Then before you know it, it’s done. The later you leave it, the more likely something else is likely to  empt you and get in the way or that little voice in your head is to talk you out of bothering. 

Keep it short and sweet;

There are literally infinite options for really short and intense workouts which can be used as quick options when there isn’t much time in a day. Here are links to a few examples to get you started:

Make exercise a habit;

Start slowly and build up. If you get into the habit of exercising a couple of times a week for a short  period each time then that time pretty soon becomes part of your routine. Keep it going and it then becomes easier and easier to build in a little more as the weeks go by. Before you know it you won’t feel like you’re ‘finding’ time to exercise, it’ll will just be normality. 

Don’t try to cram in too much;

Try not to attempt to fit exercise in at times that make it feel like a chore or when you’re already under time pressure. If you’re in a hurry then inevitably the session feels rushed and you won’t enjoy it.  Many people start an exercise regime with great enthusiasm but make it difficult  for themselves by trying to get up early every day for a run before work or going to the gym straight after a long day at work when they’re tired and just want to go home for dinner. This just makes exercise into something to resent rather than enjoy. If this is the case then it’s better to leave the session and aim to fit it in at a time where you can devote appropriate attention to it and enjoy it. 

Don’t feel compelled to use the gym;

By all means go to the gym if you want to and you enjoy it but also bear in mind that the amount  of time needed to exercise can be drastically reduced by doing it at home or just going out for a walk/run/bike ride etc. No need to worry about travelling time, packing a bag of stuff, waiting for machines to be free etc and of course no cost. 

For general all-round health and well being I personally don’t think that it’s necessary to do spend any more than about an hour a week strength training (a couple of 30 min sessions for the whole body will suffice), less than 30 mins of some kind of intense conditioning and a few hours walking etc (either  in one hit or several short walks). Combine this with a healthy diet and it really is that simple!

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