How many times have you said to someone, “I would love to, but I’m just too busy”? I think we’ve all used that as an excuse when we didn’t want to spend time with someone socially, but most of the time, we really believe we’re too busy. ‘Busyness’ has become somewhat of a status symbol among Americans, indicating that we view ‘busyness’ as the path to success. Unfortunately, that busy path to success often becomes our excuse to not do certain healthy things, like exercise.
The good news? Research has found that we’re actually less busy than we think. In other words–you probably do have time to exercise! And the myriad positive effects of exercise make finding time in our schedules worth it.
But when we feel we barely have time to cram in work, family duties, keeping up with old friends, cleaning the house, community involvement, catching up on the news, and preparing healthy meals, how can we possibly find time to exercise? By tracking your time, making it part of your commute, finding something you love, staying consistent, and choosing a workout buddy, you’ll be exercising regularly in no time!
1. Track Your Time
How many hours do you actually spend working? Are you truly drowning in meal prep, or does it just feel that way?
Author Laura Vanderkam spent a year of her life tracking her time. With four children under eight, a book tour, and a husband who also traveled for work, Vanderkam felt she was as busy as a person can be. She says, “I didn’t discover a way to add an extra hour to every day, but I did learn that the stories I told myself about where my time went weren’t always true. The hour-by-hour rhythm of my life was not quite as hectic as I’d thought.”
Consider tracking your time in half-hour intervals to see where it’s all going. Like Vanderkam, you may just discover that you have more free time than you thought–perhaps even enough time to exercise.
2. Make It Part of Your Commute
If your commute is a significant part of your day, you may feel like that time is wasted. It doesn’t have to be that way! If you live close enough, consider packing exercise clothes and running home. Or if you take the train, hop off one stop early and walk the rest of the way. You could even bike to and from work. Not only will you gain the physical benefits, but you’ll feel better knowing your commute is actually helping your life be better.
3. Find Something You Love
“But I can’t stand any exercise!” you may be saying. I promise there’s something out there you love. Oftentimes, the reason we hate exercise is that we’re out of shape. So then we don’t exercise and we stay out of shape. . . it’s a vicious cycle.
As you begin this new habit of exercise, I urge you to experiment. Try different forms of exercise of varying intensities. Switch off doing cardio and strength training, gentle yoga and intense Zumba. Be kind to yourself: in the beginning, it’s more about building a habit than building six-pack abs.
Once you find an activity you love, making time for it will be much easier.
4. Stay Consistent
Choose a time that works for you, and stick to it. Being consistent “keeps you from questioning whether or not today is a good day to work out. If 8 AM is always workout time, then you have one less thing to think about, and can just let your routine guide you to do the right thing.”
5. Choose a Workout Buddy
Whether your workout buddy actually exercises with you or the two of you simply have the same workout goals, having someone to check up on you keeps you accountable. This accountability will encourage you to stick to your chosen workout schedule, no matter how hectic your days get.
No matter how busy you are, it’s within your power to find time to exercise. If you track your time, make exercising part of your commute, find an activity you love, stay consistent, and choose a workout buddy, you’ll be able to make time to exercise, no sweat.