When I talk to people about living an active lifestyle, the number one reason they typically find being more active unattainable is because they don’t have the time. Did you know that 50 percent of Americans are not meeting the minimal 150 minutes of exercise a week and 31 percent are even exercising at all? We live very busy lives that include early mornings, long workdays, and late evenings with little time to sit back and relax let alone have spare energy to exercise even if time does allow. Coming from someone who constantly strives to keep myself busy, I get this idea of not having enough time. By the time I get home, I would love nothing more than to sit back, open a bag of pita chips and hummus, devour the Easter candy I have on the top shelf of my closet, and watch back to back episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is lace up my running shoes, head to the gym and find the energy to kick my own toosh. But here’s the thing, taking care of our body and giving it the proper nutrients as well as exercise that it needs on a regular basis is fundamental for everything else in our lives to run smoothly and for a more positive and optimistic perspective on life.
It’s also essential for us to simply go on living our lives. More than 1.3 million deaths could be avoided simply by one quarter of inactive adults obtaining a more active lifestyle. So how do I fit in living an active lifestyle even with a packed schedule throughout the day? I make it a priority and I either schedule my workouts around my busy day or I incorporate activity into my daily routines.
Maybe you’re a morning person, or maybe your ability to enable any coordination between your lower and upper body doesn’t quite kick in until later in the day. You could simply just have no time what so ever and the last thing you want to do is find yourself enclosed in an atmosphere full of sweaty, smelly people. Here are a few tips that may help you to incorporate a more lifestyle, because after all, we’re only given one body and it’s our responsible to give it the love and appreciation that it needs to ensure us it functions properly for a long, happy life.
The Excuse: I’m too tired by the end of the day
“I have long days and by the time I get off of work I just want to sit down. I have no energy and am left with no motivation!”
The Solution: Get it in early
I know it’s tough, trust me. My 5:15 am wakeup calls are the worst some mornings. But there are ways to ease into it and tricks to getting going. Plus, you will start to feel much more energized during the day and you may also find that you make healthier decisions overall throughout the day because of the endorphins your body will be running off of.
-Lay out everything you will need the night before. (I talk about this a little in an entry about gearing up for cold weather runs.) This includes your clothing, gear, shoes, keys, water, if you need a snack, absolutely anything. If it takes having your alarm be a certain message of motivation to get you going or a specific song as your alarm to motivate you then do it!
-Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night as this will make an early morning wakeup call easier.
-Lay out in your mind, or write it down on a sheet of paper, exactly what you are going to do. 20 minutes of cardio followed by weights, a circuit, early morning spin class, whatever your preference is. Then set it in your mind that you will be waking up and there will not be any hesitation getting out the door. Trust me, you will feel so much better once you’re out the door and moving.
-Follow it up with a simple breakfast on the go if you don’t have enough time to make breakfast. Try a protein shake with a banana or apple, toast with hard boiled eggs, or one of my latest favorite quick breakfasts, prot-meal! (Recipe to come later this week, it’s amazing and such a quick easy way to get a good breakfast in.)
The Excuse: I am not a morning person and once I go home I’m not leaving
“I can barely get myself together let alone tell a treadmill from an elliptical at 5:30 in the morning! And don’t even try to get me off my comfy couch and into a pair of running shoes once I’m settled at home.”
The Solution: Exercise as soon as you get done with work and before going home
-Get your gym bag together the night before with everything you’ll need to workout so you don’t have to go back home to grab it.
-Bring an apple or cup of carrots and peanut butter to munch on between work and working out. These both will give you a little bit of energy without making you feel weighed down during your workout.
-Go straight from work to the gym or wherever you choose to to get your exercise in. Even going through Starbucks to get coffee or the store to get something to eat before working out can set you back be an excuse to just go back home. If you have any errands to do, leave them for after the workout. That way nothing will steer you away from your workout.
The Excuse: I simply don’t have time and I don’t like going to the gym
“You don’t understand, I literally have no time to workout. Besides, if I do have even 20 minutes to exercise, I don’t want to waste it at a gym.”
The Solution: Find ways to trick yourself into exercising
-For all you How I Met Your Mother fans out there, “I hate it when people misuse the phrase ‘literally’!” If you make it a priority, you have time.
-Sneak in exercise throughout the day. One thing that I’ve learned from living in the city is that walking does a body good and it is probably the easiest way to get more physical activity into your life. A study done by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who walk are three times more likely to get in the government’s recommended physical activity. Try walking whenever possible or adding in exercises when you’re doing things around the house. Calve raises while you’re doing the dishes. Squat while you’re getting ready in the morning. Tighten your stomach muscles when sitting at work or waiting in line at the grocery store. Is the grocery store within a mile of your house? You could probably walk there and carry your groceries home (Ideal for small trips, but if you go every few days it makes for a great full body workout. I once saw a girl carrying her Trader Joe bags and doing bicep curls while walking home. Impressive!)
-Make it a game. There are some great WII games out there and other videos that make exercising fun.
-Grab a friend. Or your kids, spouse, dog, and go to the park or take a walk somewhere. That way you’re spending quality time with someone and getting in your daily activity. A study done by University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine found spending time our fluffy friends can help lower blood pressure, release the feel good hormones serotonin and oxytocin, and decreases stress levels.
The Excuse: I’m way too busy
“Even if I wanted to make it into the gym, I don’t have a consistent schedule and every day is too chaotic to figure out when to workout.”
The Solution: Schedule ahead of time, and stick to it
-First off, you’ve got to get a day planner or use one of the handy dandy apps available on your phone to get your life together! There is no way I would be able to function without a daily schedule as mine has always been all over the place. I feel your pain!
-Next, sit down and see what your time frames look like throughout the day. Which days can you fit in a morning workout? Are you going to have to bring your workout attire with you to go after work? Can you squeeze in a walk on your lunch break? Are there any classes offered during any of your free slots? Then, actually mark in your schedule when you are going to get your exercise in and specify what it is. I have reminders that pop up in my phone for the times I’ve designated for my workouts and I can’t tell you how helpful it has been to keep me on track and manage my time.
Any other excuses I can address? It’s not about finding the time, it’s about making the time. Remember, have fun with it! You’re not going to find it easy to add exercise and activity if you don’t enjoy it, reward yourself, and switch it up from time to time.
I had to end with a little humor of course! Set your goals, work your way up, and treat yourself from time to time for overcoming challenges and making your life a healthier one.