Fitting in Fitness

6 09 2011

Liz Gilchrist

It’s easy to tell ourselves that we will “make time” for fitness, but there is literally no time to be made. There are never going to be more than 24-hours in a day, so how can we fit fitness in?

Let’s start with an entirely different frame of reference.

Rather than think of exercise as a chore, think of it as a reward. The concept may sound strange, but what we tell ourselves has a direct impact on our feelings. If we dread going to the gym, we will never want to go. However, if we can tell ourselves more true (not to mention positive) statements like, “This will improve my health,” or “Exercise will give me more time with my family,” or even, “Taking care of my body is essential to physical and mental health,” the more fulfilling the experience has the opportunity to be.

How do you spend your time? While we may think there is no availability for exercise, I would encourage you to track your activity for a week. It may be that simply writing out commitments will assist in identifying holes in your schedule.
Another point to ponder is that the average American watches 19 hours of television per week. That can be broken down into 1140 minutes. The suggested guideline for exercise is 300 minutes per week. Would you be willing to give up an hour of television a few nights a week to reward yourself with the benefit of improved quality of life?

Now that you are thinking about “fitting in fitness,” here are some ideas that may be helpful.

Schedule your workouts! The problem with finding time is that other things will disguise themselves as seemingly more important. Make a habit of scheduling workouts and making that time non-negotiable and part of your daily commitment to making lifestyle changes. It is empowering and a way to place your personal needs as a priority.

Spread out your exercise. If you have not scheduled your workout for a particular day, get up and move on breaks. Fit in 10 minutes of activity in the morning before work, take the stairs or an extra lap when you use the restroom, bring a resistance band to get in a few exercises, or encourage a co-worker to take a walk during lunch. Small workouts can have a major effect on reaching your fitness goals.

Get your family (and pets) involved. We can never have too much support when it comes to lifestyle changes, so ask your kids, spouse, or a close friend to be an exercise partner, or award your dog with an extra long walk. Not only will you increase your workout time, you’ll be increasing quality time as well.

Now visualize the rewards of your small changes. In addition to the fitness center 2 days a week, you have been spreading out your workouts 2 days per week, and riding bikes with the family, or taking “Spike” for a walk once per week. All of the sudden that 300 minutes is not only manageable, but attainable and bringing you closer to reaching your weight loss goals.

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One response

6 09 2011
Randy McCoy

I like your ideas about not looking at exercise as a chore but looking at it as more positive in the improvements and the rewards for my body (and life). I know I’m guilty of looking at it as times “something I have to do”. Tomorrow I will tell myself I “get” to stop at the gym to take care of my physical self before heading to work to take care of other things.

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