Fitness Articles

10 Ways to Find Time for Exercise

Busting the #1 Exercise Excuse: Lack of Time

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What's the No. 1 excuse for not working out? Lack of time. Sure, we're all busy handling multiple priorities and rushing around from here and there every day. However, I promise that no matter how busy you are, someone even busier than you are is working out right now. If you look closer, you'll discover that you do have the time to work out—and you deserve to use that time for yourself.
 
Squeezing in just a few minutes of physical exercise a day has huge benefits on your health, gives you energy and perks up your mood. In fact, a new study published by The Lancet found that if inactive people increased their physical activity by just 15 minutes per day, they could reduce their risk of premature death by 14% and increase their life expectancy by three years.  Also, remember that "working out" doesn't have to happen in the gym or last for an hour! Short 10-minute bursts of exercise, accumulated over the course of the day, can add up to big fitness and health gains, too.
 
Still not convinced that you have the time to exercise? Here's how to start fitting fitness into your busy life today!
 
10 Practical Tips to Fit Fitness into Your Busy Life
 
1. Wake up earlier. Sleep is definitely important for overall health and weight-loss, but could you hit the sheets just 30 minutes earlier, so that you could get up and work out before your day starts? Working out in the morning has numerous benefits including regulating appetite, boosting energy and—perhaps the biggest benefit of all—an A.M. sweat session ensures that your workout is checked off first thing each day! Because really, how many times have you had the best intentions to exercise in the evening, only to have to work late, help your kids with a project or generally just feel too exhausted to get off the couch? With morning workouts, the time problem is solved!
 
2. Cut down on media. For just a few days, record how much time you spend surfing the Internet, checking personal email, watching TV and playing video games whether it's on your computer or your phone. You just might be surprised at how much time you spend on Facebook or playing Angry Birds. Just a few minutes here and there can add up to an hour or more each day. Cut out just some of that screen time and, voila, you suddenly have time to squeeze in at least 10 or 15 minutes of exercise into even the busiest day.
 
3. Be an active TV watcher. It's unrealistic to never watch TV or to shun the Internet forever (how would you get your SparkPoints fix?).  So when you do, try to incorporate some physical activity. When watching TV, make it a point to do some jumping jacks or push-ups during commercials. Doing a little exercise during the commercial breaks can add up to almost 20 minutes of fitness for every hour of TV you watch. And instead of sitting in a chair when on the computer, try sitting on a stability ball or stack your computer up on some books so that you have a standing desk to surf from. No matter how you do it, try not to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time!
 
4. Try an active commute. One of the best ways to fit exercise into your life is by incorporating it into your school or work transportation routine. If you live close enough, consider biking to work. If you take the bus, walk to a bus stop that's an extra block or two away, or get off the bus a stop sooner than usual and get a few more steps in. And if you drive to work, park as far away as you can—even a few blocks away, if possible.
 
5.  Make it part of your routine. One reason it's so challenging to fit exercise into a busy schedule is because we're not used to doing it. Heck, it takes time to brush your teeth in the morning, but you do it, don't you? You brush your teeth every day because it's important and because it's almost second nature to get up and do it. Start making some form of exercise—whether it's walking the dog, doing 10 minutes of yoga or going for a bike ride after dinner—a daily tradition, just like showering, brushing your teeth or hitting the coffee shop on the way to work. It's easy to fit in exercise for a few days here or there, but by incorporating it into your daily routine like you would your hygiene, you take the process of working out away from willpower and into habit. Need help getting into the habit? Try SparkGuy's Daily Workout Streak Challenge!
 
6. Mix socializing with exercising. Do you normally spend time with your family or friends by going to dinner, watching sports on TV or going to movies? Make your social time more active by planning events that get all of you moving. Go for a family hike on a beautiful Saturday morning, play a game of tag football with your buddies during halftime, or make a date with your significant other or best friend on the treadmill. There are so many options for squeezing more activity into your social calendar!
 
7. Turn chores into exercise. While cleaning might not be the most fun activity, it's something we all have to do, and it can definitely be a workout if you want it to be. Set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and see how much of the house you can clean. Try to be as efficient and quick-paced as possible, and I guarantee you'll work up a sweat. If you're doing lighter housework that is harder to get your heart rate up (like laundry or organizing), throw in some lunges or push-ups every few minutes to start feeling the burn!
 
8. Schedule an appointment. If you had scheduled a doctor's appointment, you wouldn't miss it would you? How about that important business meeting? Of course not. Working out is actually as important as going to the doctor or any other obligation that you prioritize, because it helps you perform better as a worker, parent, student or volunteer, and keeps you in tip-top shape. So whether it's scheduling in an hour to go to that group exercise class, investing in personal training sessions or even making a date with yourself to do that workout DVD over your lunch break, write it in pen in your calendar and treat it like any other appointment you can't miss!
 
9. Find an activity you love. Think of your favorite hobby or pastime. Do you have trouble finding time to do it? Most likely, you make time for it because you enjoy it so much. It's the things we don't enjoy that we put off and don't feel bad about missing. That's why it's best to choose a physical activity that you actually enjoy and look forward to. Not only are you more likely to do it, but it also adds more fun into your life. And we all could use some more fun in our busy lives, right?
 
10. Say no. If you've gone through this entire list of tips and don't think a single one will work in your life, then it's time to look at your priorities and responsibilities. Do you really have to bake cookies for that fundraiser? Babysit for your sister? Take on that extra project at work? Attend that wedding shower of your second cousin? Remember that there's nothing wrong in saying no. Yes, we all have obligations to others, but don't forget about the obligation you have to yourself to take care of your body and your health!
 
 
Remember, exercise gives you energy and keeps you healthy to keep going in that busy life of yours! So don't think of exercise as another to-do to squeeze in on your already busy schedule. Instead, think of it as maintenance for your health and a way to de-stress and do something for you!

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Member Comments

  • This is a little too sweeping so think of the message as it relates to you. Then it's pretty good. Some things you can change. Others you may not want to. First you have to find a reason to change. Squeezing in 10 minutes of exercise may not be it ... nothing you have to squeeze in really is. It becomes a chore not a routine. My 2-bits of comment on Christmas Eve
  • Had to laugh at the statement in this article about "getting a Spark fix". I find that so true -- it seems I can replace some of those forkfuls with this new obsession. Now, if I could only do the same with exercise. One step at a time!
  • My latest thing - for the past few months - has been the turn chores into exercising. Imiss regular video/dvd routines but for the present this works better in my schedule.
  • Practical article.... I NEED to apply this information.
  • For those of you who really don't like what I call 'hard-core' exercise.....or if you're retired...like me....gardening is great exercise as is yoga any time of the day. :-)
  • I am a believer that if I'm going to be alive, I might as well be healthy, too. 8-)
  • RBYRD5
    There are websites and blogs with TV and movie workout games. :)
  • LOULOUWLG40
    I love this article. If you find time to clean your house, you can find time to exercise. I cleaned my Son's house for 2 hours and did 21 minutes of core sit down exercises. I burned 459 calories. So I think everyone can do it! I hope everyone has a blessed day!
  • Active commute is a biggie for me. It doesn't take any more time than driving, since I live close to work, so it really costs me NO time, and I get to work energized and feeling just a little too proud of myself!
  • Someone said their smartphone made them exercise less because of games and web browsing etc. For me, it's been just the opposite. I walk in place while reading or playing games on the phone. I also found long ago that I play video games better when standing and/or moving in some way, starting from the old 8-bit Nintendo! The handhelds were great for that also. Anyway- although I also stand/walk in place a little while working at the computer now, my activity level went way up when I got an iPhone because I would definitely move somehow while reading on it. The same can be done while reading hardcopy books and magazines. Also while talking on the phone, watching cat videos, or tv.... I know this site seems dedicated to working up a sweat as exercise, but really just moving more while doing what you already do makes quite a difference. No sweat or special clothes required. A few minutes here and there adds up also.
  • LORIMARCUS
    I love this article. There shouldn't be any excuses for putting ourselves first!! Don't ever put your health & wellness last. That is exactly what we do when we don't eat right & excerise.
  • I had to laugh at #9, "find an activity that you love". Sorry, there is no activity (running, sports, etc.), that I love or that I can do. My activities are reading, playing the piano, and singing. They would not fall under what most people call an "activity".
  • The exercise I avoid is strength training so I put my set of dumbbells right in front of the TV. I can work out with them AND follow my favorite shows at the same time.

    The article itself is great, however I CRINGE at the photo of the high heeled shoe. Wearing those things has impaired women for decades. What we are conditioned to do for fashion amazes me. Watching my mother and her sisters hobble around in their later years has been so sad.
  • MIKEMFITNESS
    This article has been a huge help when covering the topic of making time for exercise. I am in total agreement that the hardest part of working out in a gym is going to one. There are many variables when deciding when to work out. Some variables include driving, getting ready, finding a partner to go with etc. I have found that a solid consistent routine is key for continuous fitness. I have really enjoyed this article and the comments left below. Often times people forget the simple activity of planning when it comes to fitness.

    When it comes to creating specific goals with realistic time management measurable actions are needed. Check out this article on MFitness for more info...http://mfi
    tnessnow.com/
    blueprint-wellness
  • Ever since I have my smartphone and add game apps, I started to get less of my exercise time, I get so distracted that mere minutes turn to hours of online! This article reminds me of what I've lose - fitness time for myself!

About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

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