RECENTLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA I ASKED WHAT BARRIERS TO EXERCISE YOU WERE EXPERIENCING.
I WASN’T SURPRISED THAT “NOT ENOUGH TIME” AND “TIME MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS” WERE THE TOP ANSWERS.
HERE ARE 16 WAYS TO MAKE TIME TO ENJOY EXERCISE
1. MAKE A PLAN
Sit down with a weekly planner and look at the times during the week that you could use to get more exercise.
Ever find yourself looking at your phone or watching something boring on television for an hour?
Set a reminder in your phone to go for a walk at that time.
Making a plan in advance will make it easier to make that decision when the time comes.
2. GET A partner
Find a friend, colleague or neighbour who will be your buddy.
Arrange a regular time and meet up point.
This will help you to stay consistent if you don’t want to disappoint your partner.
3. MAKE SOME schedule CHANGES
Move your schedule around.
For example, would going to bed earlier give you time to get up and get an early morning walk or gym session before you get too busy with daily life?
If you went for a run straight after work and avoided the rush hour would you save time later in the evening?
4. why is exercise important to you?
Understanding why exercise is important for you will help you make decisions when you are feeling conflicted.
What is it that you hope to gain and why is that so valuable to you?
The benefits of exercise are well established. But knowing the facts isn’t important.
Think of all of ways that becoming stronger and healthier will benefit your life.
Health and fitness extends far beyond aesthetics and weight loss, and has benefits that cannot be measured.
5. DEPRIORITISE AND DELEGATE
This might cause some discomfort to yourself (or others) but it’s an important step.
Ask questions about what you already spend time on.
How much do you love doing housework?
Does it matter if the [hoovering, ironing, etc] isn’t done?
Can someone else do it?
Can the shopping be ordered online?
The dinners batch cooked?
Childcare duties shared?
Think of what is your draining your time either at work or at home and get help to manage doing it.
6. GET SUPPORT
Talk to your partner or family members.
Explain to them how important it is to you that you get more exercise.
Maybe you may get more support at home if they understand what it means to you.
7. FIND SOMETHING YOU ENJOY DOING
It’s unlikely you will make time for something that isn’t enjoyable.
Try something new. It might be out of your comfortable zone to start with but give it time.
8. DON’T BE MISLED
The “59 seconds abs blast workout” and “4 week transformation” didn’t happen by accident.
The ‘fitness’ industry knows that people are pressed for time.
As the old saying goes “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
Avoid disappointment and skip empty promises and invest your precious time in something that you can do consistently.
9. SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING
If you can only squeeze 5 minutes of walking, go ahead and do it anyway.
Often times a small change can be the start of something bigger.
10. BE REALISTIC
Choose one thing and stick with it until it is a part of your routine.
Join a gym class.
Begin a running program.
Join a walking group.
Don’t try to do all of the things or it will feel overwhelming and after a few weeks become unsustainable.
11. MAKE EXERCISE A SOCIAL OCCASION
Find something others can get involved in.
Bring a football to the park, cycle the canal, have a family picnic, meet friends for a coffee as you walk etc.
12. Build exercise into your daily routine
Leave the car at home whenever you can.
Walk to the shops or get off the bus 2 stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to work.
It might only take 15 minutes longer, but if you do it twice a day you will have walked for 30 minutes without planning. That simple step alone Monday to Friday is 150 minutes exercise.
13. Don’t give up when you miss a few sessions
Life happens to everybody.
Inevitably you will miss a session or two.
Don’t feel discouraged.
You haven’t failed.
If you’re changing your routine and there are other influences such as work or family involved, expect that it won’t always go to plan all of the time.
Some days other things will be more important than exercise and that’s okay.
14. workout at home
If you can’t get out of the house, find a program that you can do from home.
I recommend asking your fitness instructor for some simple home workouts or for some guidance chooseing an online program that will be achievable yet challenging enough for you to stick with.
15. Address other barriers, beliefs and negative self talk
Time or a lack thereof, is often a reason, but not the only reason not to get exercise.
After all we find time for lots of other things.
Unfortunately, some of us have had negative experiences of exercise in the fitness setting. Others believe that they don’t ‘fit in’ or belong in the gym or sports club.
We have been lead to believe that fitness is more complicated than it actually is.
The fitness industry, and the culture that surrounds it would have us believe that fitness is an all or nothing experience and is only for people who are highly motivated, successful and driven.
This is simply not true.
Fitness comes in many form and is for everybody.
16. HONOR WHERE YOU ARE AT AND WHERE YOU HAVE BEEN
There are seasons in life that are exceptional. Such as when a new baby is born or there is a life event, change in routine, illness or other situation when exercise simply isn’t the priority that it was previously.
Honoring this priority shift is essential.
Taking time to rest, reset and adjust will help to re-establish a consistent pattern when the time is right and it is less of a struggle to make time.
It’s okay to be where you are at right now.
Do what you can.
Celebrate the little things.
Find a fitness professional who can who can help you navigate in a way that meets your needs.
Doing things because it’s the way it’s always been done might not help you to reach your goals. If you want something to change, you will have to change something.
Be creative. Expect to feel a little uncomfortable trying something new.
Aim for consistency not perfection.
Know that results don’t happen overnight.
Everyone struggles at times.
Keep trying. Enjoy what you do.
Maggie is a pre and postnatal fitness specialist and work in Crossfit Leixlip.