[Disclaimer: This is an old post, refreshed for your viewing pleasure. The reason — (1) there are now many more readers who probably never saw this posting and (2) I am trying to fit exercise into my busy schedule this week. . . see the irony?]
I will be honest with you, talk of exercise used to make my whole body cringe. Exercise equated to pain, sweating, and reminders of just how out of shape I was. It also reminded me of all the times I started exercising, but then stopped. My problem was (and still is) finding the TIME to exercise.
I could (but won’t) give you a list of my excuses – and many are legit – of how I am too busy to exercise. Truth is, there are ways to fit exercise into your hectic life. You may need to make sacrifices (like sleeping in, my favorite!), but it is so worth it. You will discover a newfound sense of feeling accomplished, motivated, and stronger—physically and mentally!
Here are SOME TIPS that will allow you to fit exercise into your busy schedule:
Exercise While Your Children are at Sports Practice
My boys play sports year-round, sometimes several sports at one time, which equates to seven days a week of practices and games. Thank goodness for the “village” that helps shuttle my kids to and from practices.
Sometimes these practices require me to stay and wait (rather than just drop them off and then pick them up later) and when this occurs, I capitalize on this time. I designate those times to either WRITE or EXERCISE. If I am exercising, I am usually walking. Fortunately, soccer and lacrosse practices are often near a track that I can loop around. Exercising outside can be much more invigorating.
Schedule Exercise Classes
There are the hard-core disciplined types that do not like to be held accountable to anyone else’s schedule, but that is not me. I NEED to be held accountable. Right now, I am a member of Orange Therapy Fitness, which requires you to schedule classes in advance. Most of the times, it takes a mental pep talk to drag myself to class But, I do because I HAVE to—I am scheduled and will be penalized if I cancel last minute. It sounds harsh, but it works for me and gets me out of the house and to class. And truthfully, there hasn’t been a time that I regretted attending class. I always leave saying to myself: “I’m so glad I went.”
Not all exercise classes are as strict regarding no-shows, but they are still beneficial. Scheduled classes give you a DATE to SHOW UP with the expectation that you will be there. Put the dates/times of the scheduled classes in your calendar. Just like work appointments, your exercise class is an appointment that will put you closer to your fitness goals.
Treat Your Dog to More Walks
Dog owners take heart. Give your doggy that extra love he/she deserves. Rather than walking the bare minimum with your dog (meaning: dog did his/her “business” outside and so you can go back inside house), take the time to stroll for long, extended walks. After all, doggies need to exercise and stay in shape too.
Take Time to Assess Your Calendar
Time-management is essential to maximize productivity, which means having an up-to-date calendar. I am a visual person, so – even though I do use electronic calendars – I need a tangible calendar that I can touch, feel, and SEE. This visual allows me to effectively plan.
It also shows me where I have openings. . .
Is my morning full or could I exercise before work?
What do my weekends look like?
Can I incorporate exercise into my already-scheduled activities?
The point is that a visual representation of your week can show you that fitting exercise into your schedule IS POSSIBLE. Once you know your openings, literally schedule that exercise into your calendar.
Make Television a Reward and Not a Replacement
Does this sound familiar: “No TV until you finish your homework” or “No dessert unless you’ve eaten your dinner”? We expect this of our kids, but why not ourselves?
Television has the scary power of sucking you in. You may sit down to briefly unwind with television when you get home from work and find yourself sitting there for two – three hours. Why not change your mindset? Make television a reward for exercising rather than a replacement of exercise.
Use your lunch hour to exercise, even if that means just taking a walk outside. Make a pact with yourself—if the day is beautiful, go outside and enjoy it. A few laps around the parking lot or work site will not only help boost physical fitness, but also your mental fitness. Stepping away from your desk, taking a break, and walking clears the mind—making you more productive.
Exercise with Your Significant Other
Taking the time to exercise is often overlooked – just as taking time with your significant other can be. Your kids’ practices, school events, and activities are often the top priority, which often short-changes the one-on-one time you share with your spouse or loved one. How about making a date to work out? Go for a walk, run, or hike together—fit in a joint-exercise that provides the freedom to TALK.
Wear a Tracker and Take the Longest Route Possible
Get your steps in creatively by taking the longest route possible whenever you are on foot. Whether that is when you are doing errands or making your rounds at work. If you are parking your car, do so in the farthest spot away. Rather than taking the elevator, take the stairs. If walking or biking somewhere is just as easy as driving, do so. Use your tracker as your gauge and motivator.
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