Fitting Fitness In 

By Susan S. Paul, MS; TSF Training Program Director

The Number One excuse for NOT exercising is lack of time. And, women, more so than men, seem to be worse about not making the time for exercise. Why? Because we don’t make time for ourselves; we are caretakers. We take care of everyone else, everyone EXCEPT ourselves that is! We are mothers, wives, parental caregivers; we are single moms, working moms, daughters, sisters, employees, bosses, business owners, students, and volunteers. We are juggling careers, families, and many other obligations. As a result, TIME, or rather, a LACK thereof, becomes our go-to excuse for why we don’t exercise. We simply don’t have enough time. 

But what if you did have the time? Would you exercise? The reality is that we can give ourselves more time in the long run, by taking care of ourselves now. We have the ability to live a more productive life when we are healthy and fit. We can add life to our years and maybe even years to our life. Research indicates that not only do we experience a better quality of life when we exercise, but we can actually live longer when we exercise regularly, even by exercising for only a few minutes each day! 

So how can you fit exercise in? Make yourself a priority. Help yourself first before helping others. Just like the airline attendant warns us before every flight, PUT THE OXYGEN MASK ON YOURSELF FIRST BEFORE HELPING OTHERS! Why? Because we can do more for others when we take care of ourselves first. Finding the time to exercise is indeed a challenge, no argument there, but if you make it a PRIORITY, you can find the time. We find the time to bathe and brush our teeth every day. Shift your priorities to include exercise as an essential component of every day, just like personal hygiene. 

Examine your daily schedule and see where you might best find some time. Morning exercisers have the highest rate of success, simply because there are fewer conflicts when the world is still asleep. Once the day begins, fitting exercise becomes more difficult, so take a good look at your mornings and see if you can find a few minutes to squeeze it in.

Here are some tips for fitting exercise in:

Time Management

Keep track of your daily schedule for three days and track how much time you spend on social media or in front of the TV; maybe that can be your exercise time. What about your lunch break? Make note of any gaps in your schedule for potential exercise time.

Schedule Workouts

Write your workout time on your planner or calendar, with all your other important commitments and appointments. Plan your week ahead of time so you know when and where you are exercising.

Buddy System

Recruit a friend, join a running group, or find an exercise class for support and accountability. Group exercise can help keep you on track.

Exercise Early

Get up an hour earlier and just get it done! Avoid schedule conflicts by doing it early. Exercise while everyone else is still in bed. Set your exercise clothes out the night before so you can roll right out of bed and go. Don’t think about it, just do it.

Let it Go!

Maybe the house isn’t perfect, maybe the dishes are still in the sink, or all the laundry isn’t folded, but it’s ok. Your health is more important than a perfect house.

Use every Minute

Exercise for even 10 minutes; it doesn’t have to be an hour or more. Do what you can, when you can. Break it up throughout the day; 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes before dinner adds up! Even a few minutes of exercise a day has huge benefits on your health!

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