We’re sure you can understand the importance of exercise, for both your physical and your mental health, but how many hours do you spend in physical activity each day? Experts suggest at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, according to this fitness article at Livestrong, so it’s not as if finding time should be an issue.
However, a lack of time is one of the many exercise excuses that people make. They withdraw from physical exercise because of their busy schedule, although it has to be said that saying “I don’t have the time” could just be an excuse for some people to spend more time in front of the television.
Thirty minutes a day isn’t a great chunk of time, but if you’re somebody who genuinely struggles to fit exercise into your schedule, there are ways to make time for physical activity. We will list a few suggestions here, so keep reading, and follow any suggestion that is relevant to your particular situation.
1. Find ways to exercise at home.
You don’t need to find time to visit a gym to get in your daily quota of exercise, and you don’t need to spend an afternoon running around the park either. If you can find ways to exercise at home, you will be able to squeeze in physical activity whenever you do find yourself with time on your hands.
To exercise at home, you could set yourself up with a home gym. You don’t need to create anything fancy, as a few weights and a skipping rope could be all you need to get started. You could also invest in a rowing machine or an exercise bike if you have the funds to do so, or any other piece of equipment that could help you meet your personal fitness goals.
You could also sign up to a fitness program with Openfit. They offer many short courses, and some, including Openfit Pilates with Lisa Hubbard, consist of 30-minute routines that you should be able to fit into your schedule.
Then there are fitness videos you could watch on YouTube, or you could purchase workout DVDs if you still have a DVD player at home. If you own a smartphone, there will also be fitness apps you can download from the store, so browse the selection and find something that fulfills your personal requirements.
2. Commit to early morning workout routines.
If you struggle to find time to exercise because of work or the needs of your family, it might be that an early morning start is right for you. You will have to make an effort to go to bed at a decent time, of course, as getting a good night’s sleep is also important for your health and well-being. So, set that alarm and rise an hour or more before your commute or your children’s school run.
Within your workout routine, you could follow some of the ideas from the previous point on this list. This way, you will be less inclined to miss out on exercise if the weather is cold or wet outside. But if the weather is tolerable, you could go for a walk or a run around the block, or you could exercise within the confines of your garden. The energy boost you receive from exercise will set you up for the day, which is good news if you have a busy workday ahead of you or if you need the energy to organize the morning school run.
3. Exercise on your daily commute.
Do you need to take the car to work? And is it really necessary to take the bus? If your place of employment is only a short distance away, you could walk or cycle to work instead. Alternatively, you could park a short distance away from work, or you could get off the bus early, and walk the rest of the way.
Please note: Apply the same rule to your school run! By doing so, you would benefit your own health needs, and you would benefit the health needs of your children too. They might even get an A in class if their morning exercise boosts their productivity, so remind them of this if they grumble about the walk (or bike ride) to school.
4. Exercise during your lunch break.
If you do go to work during the day, you could do more than sit at your workstation when you’re on your lunch break. Use this time to go for a walk or to visit a gym if one is located nearby. If your workplace has a break area that incorporates exercise opportunities, such as a ping pong table, be sure to use the facilities available to you.
Find other ways to exercise during the workday too. Stretch your legs for a few minutes, be that inside or outside of your building, whenever you get other opportunities for a break. And if you are confined to your desk for long periods, try some of these desk exercises to loosen up your muscles and joints and to get your body moving.
5. Turn your housework routine into an exercise routine.
You are already burning a few calories when doing the housework anyway, so in one sense, your household chores shouldn’t get in the way of exercise. Whether you’re vacuuming the carpets or washing your windows, you will be giving parts of your body a good workout.
However, there are ways to turn your housework routine into more of an exercise routine. You could do calf raises while you wash the dishes, for example, and you could run up and down the stairs instead of moving at a snail’s pace. Check out Patience Bradley’s housework exercise tips, and follow some of the techniques she advises in her article.
6. Schedule exercise time with your family.
Family time doesn’t have to mean screen time for you or your children, and you don’t have to isolate yourselves from one another either. Be it after school or during the weekend, find ways to exercise together. This way, you would have an excuse to exercise more, and you would also have the perfect strategy for getting your children into exercise too.
So, if the needs of your family have been disrupting the time you could spend in exercise, make a plan that suits all of you. You could arrange to go to the park together to play games, or you could all play outdoor games in your garden. If there is a local leisure center near you, it might be that you can find an activity that you and your family could all do together. It could be a team sport, or it could be swimming, indoor climbing, or some other such activity.
And if your children are resistant to leaving the house during their hours away from school, you could purchase those video games that promote physical activity. These are games you could play with your children, although when they’re at school or in bed, you could play them on your lonesome too!
7. Work out with your friends.
If your social life is getting in the way of exercise, then make arrangements to work out with your friends. This is useful on many levels, not least the fact that you will be able to motivate one another to exercise more. You will be able to bond when you’re exercising too, have a laugh together, and have the means to support one another with each other’s fitness goals.
So, as we suggested in our last point, you could all do something at your local leisure center. Join a dance or fitness class or take part in a team sport. You could go for a walk or a run together too, or you could all pile into your living room (when it is safe to do so) and work out in front of one of your exercise DVDs.
There are lots of other things you could do, from days spent geocaching to nights out on the dance floor, so make a plan with your friendship group.
8. Free up your schedule.
Here’s the obvious thing to do! If you’re still struggling to find the time after the ideas we have presented here, it might be that you need to make more of an effort to free up your schedule. Consider the activities you busy yourself with each week and reduce or eliminate anything that holds no real value in your life. Exercise needs to be a priority, so don’t rank it below anything that has little meaning for you. Take a long hard look at your calendar, push certain things to one side if you can, and pencil in time for exercise. Then draw a large red ring around the time you have set as a reminder of the importance it should hold for you.
No matter how busy you are, there should be ways to make time for exercise!