I've heard it a million times before, "I don't have time to exercise". Who does these days? Between the job, the family, school, church, community functions and that social life there is little time or energy left to do anything but collapse on the couch at the end of each day.
Each semester students tell me that they plan to start exercising when the semester is over, or worse yet, when they GRADUATE.
Co-workers tell me that they will start exercising when they finish the big project they are working on. Some even say they will start exercising after they've lost a few pounds! Isn't that the point of exercise? We all have our excuses. . .er. . .I mean reasons for putting off exercising and making those dietary changes. I'm the fitness guru and even I have trouble getting my exercise in at times.
While it is legit that we are all very busy, we always find the time to do the things we want to do like emailing, watching Deal or No Deal or talking or texting on the cell. Maybe some of that time can be reallocated to taking care of ourselves?
Most people understand that they should exercise to manage weight and reduce the risk of diseases. There certainly has been enough in the news touting the benefits of exercise: longer life span, reduced blood pressure, less stress, less heart disease, lower weight and more energy. But figuring out how to get it done is the big question.
The first step is understanding that you have one body and one choice: that you and you alone are responsible for your health the condition of your body. Once you've had the epiphany and accepted this message, things get easier.
The trick to successfully starting and maintaining an exercise program is planning, organization and time management.
Schedule your exercise just like you do other events in your week. Sit down with your calendar on Sunday and decide when you are going to do what: cardio, weights, yoga or a simple walk.
Do you have some mornings free before work (get up a little earlier!)? Not a morning person? try a lunch time workout. Many women avoid this because of the grooming issue. Unless you are going to exercise outside in the summer, you probably won't get that sweaty and disheveled from a 30 minute resistance workout at lunch. Save the longer, sweat producing workouts for when you have time like weekends or after work.
Many of us have this all or nothing mentality when it comes to working out. If we can't do this big long routine, then we do nothing. Let go of that: break it up and kick it up. Something is always better than nothing and you'll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time. Do 15 in the am and 15 later in the day and use the weekends for those longer more concentrated sessions.
Kick it up by moving whenever possible. Walk around while talking on the phone, walk over to a co-workers office instead of calling. TAKE THE STAIRS!Walk ALL the way over to the other building. Walk around the field while watching your kid's soccer game instead of sitting there.
Accountability also helps to keep you on track so get a buddy. Plan your exercise times with them and this will motivate you to show up. You'll have someone to talk to and share with so you'll be less likely to get bored.
You should also take advantage of work related fitness opportunities like seminars on health and fitness or fitness release time plans. Research shows these employee programs promote morale and reduce sickness and absenteeism.
Finally, let go of unrealistic expectations. Many have a vision that an exercise routine involves perfect bodies doing athletic routines. Just move often and you'll do your body good. Some of us need to start VERY slowly and simply walking around the block (or building at lunch) is our starting point. That's OK!
For those of us who have exercised before and want to get back into the groove, don't make the mistake of trying to pick up where you left off. Take a few steps back and give your body time to readjust to exercising again. Too much too soon will cause pain and injury and that's no fun.
So, with a little planning, motivation and commitment, you can find a way to fit fitness into your busy life. It's all about choices isn't it?
One Body: One Choice!
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