According to the Center For Disease Control, only 23.2% of people meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity. In my 35+ years of experience in fitness and nutrition, I find the majority of people who aren't meeting these guidelines say it's because they do not have enough time to exercise. While we can’t obviously add more hours to our day we can choose our priorities that will lead us to be healthier and happier.
When it comes to physical activity, we have to see it as a non-negotiable part of our day. Like sleeping, eating, taking a shower, brushing our teeth. These are things we don't find the time to do, we make the time for them because they are important to our daily well-being.
Making the time to exercise means it's an important part of your day to schedule time for your physical health and aren’t going to do anything else in its place. Making time for your workouts is just like scheduling an important meeting with yourself that you can't miss.
How to fit regular exercise into your busy schedule
Life will always be busy so we can't allow excuses like "When things slow down" or "When the summer/holidays are over" keep us from making the decision to get started because there is no time like the present!
It's so important to set yourself up for success. If you are just starting out, don't try an hour long advanced workout that you may not be able to finish which will lead to feel defeated. Start small and aim to create a habit by associating exercise with something you already do every day. For example, if you turn on the news every morning, try getting up and doing a light stretch, squats, marching in place or jumping jacks while you watch. Small, positive changes compound over time and lead to big results!
Here are some more tips to fitting exercise into your busy schedule.
- Decide what works best for your schedule, like before or after work, then commit to it by planning the rest of your day around it.
- Block out non-negotiable time on your calendar to exercise.
- Take a walk outside or even march in place for 10 minutes after you eat.
- Take your bike with you and stop off at a local park.
- Use a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical while you listen to a podcast.
- Do sit-ups and push ups in between episodes of your latest Netflix binge.
- Use our FREE fitness calendar with daily workout suggestions to take the guess work out of which workout to do.
- Wear ankle and/or wrist weights around the house while you do chores.
- Sit on a yoga ball for good balance and posture as you work at the computer.
- Choose a total body type workout so you can maximize the time you have to work your entire body.
- Create a challenge for yourself to make it fun. For example, 25 push-ups each day broken out into 5-10 push ups at a time. 5 push ups before breakfast, 5 more before leaving for work, 5 more before you eat lunch, 5 more when you get home and 5 more before bed. When you can do 5 with ease, increase to 10 and before you know it you will be looking and feeling stronger!
It's important to focus on the action more than the result. If you are constantly stepping on the scale expecting to see drastic changes every day you are likely going to feel more discouragement than motivation. A healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint and forming new habits can take longer than you think. That’s why it’s crucial you focus on the habit itself rather than results in order to keep from getting discouraged.
You may have heard the popular myth that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Scientifically, the average time to form a new habit is closer to two months but this varies greatly from person to person. The reality is that there’s no magical formula before something becomes a habit. It’s important to know this so you don’t feel discouraged and give up when on day 14 you aren’t leaping out of bed at 5 AM excited to exercise.
Focus more on celebrating what your body can do, right now in this moment vs. what it can't. Don't compare your journey to someone on social media who is farther along than you are. This is about the plan of transformation God has for your life. Find joy in the journey and that starts with having a "get to" vs. a "have to" mindset. Don't put it off another day friend. Start fitting regular exercise into your busy schedule today and love yourself the way God loves you!