A survey revealed that “not having time” is the #1 reason why Americans say that they don’t work out more frequently.
This makes a lot of sense, especially when you take into consideration that another survey found that almost 6 in 10 Americans “find it extremely difficult to balance work and their personal schedules.” In fact, one study suggests that the average person has only 4 hours and 26 minutes of free time each week.
So, if you’re someone who doesn’t normally have a whole lot of time for yourself, let alone time to exercise at the gym on a given day, here are some ways that you can open up your jam-packed schedule and make time for your health and fitness.
Step 1: Understand Why You Have No Time To Exercise
We get it. Americans are busy people – so much so that 60% of U.S. adults have said that they “at least sometimes felt too busy to enjoy life.”
So, if you’re someone who truly wants to exercise more, but you feel that there’s not enough time in the day for you to work out, the first question to ask yourself is: What does exercise mean to you?
If you’re of the mindset that exercise means working out one hour a day, five days a week, and you’re working more than 40 hours per week in the office (or at home), then of course you won’t have time to exercise when you add in all of the other things (family obligations, a social life, errands, etc.) that you have to accomplish outside of work. However, if you reframe the way that you think about fitness and realize that exercise is simply moving around more vigorously than you usually do, then you can definitely fit exercise sessions in – even on your busiest day.
Seriously, you don’t need a lot of time to get an exercise session in. A consistent 5-to-10 minute workout, in addition to doing as much cardio as you can each day (taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking your dog, cleaning your home, etc.), can add up to get you in shape.
Step 2: How To Start Prioritizing Working Out When Everything Seems Important
If you’re someone who treats all of the items on your to-do list every day as if they’re the most important tasks in the world, really make time to evaluate the tasks that are actually urgent tasks, which need to get done immediately, as well as the tasks that aren’t really that important and can be completed another day. By actively managing your schedule, as opposed to your schedule dictating what you do each day, you may find some extra time in your day that wasn’t there before.
Step 3: Time Management Tips To Get More Exercise When You’re Busy
A survey found that the top 3 reasons why Americans skip planned workouts are because they’re “too tired,” they have “too much work to do,” or because “it’s already late.”
While all of those reasons for skipping workouts are all perfectly valid, they can also be avoided (for the most part) with a few time management tweaks. So, here are 7 time management tips that will help you make sure that you’re able to get your workout sessions in, even when you’re extremely busy.
1. Prioritize Yourself
If you’re someone who is always doing things for other people, that may be why you don’t have a lot of time for yourself. Instead of just doing things for people because you want to be nice, really evaluate whether you’re the only person who can do the task that they’re asking you to do. By prioritizing yourself and saying ‘no’ to things that you don’t want to do, which take up a lot of your time, you’ll be able to do activities that you want to do, such as working out, or maybe even just taking an uninterrupted ten minute walk around the block by yourself.
2. Sleep For Success
Since “too tired” is a common reason why Americans skip workout sessions, take that excuse off the table by making sure that you’re getting enough quality sleep each night. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
That said, if you’re sleep deprived, it may be in your best interest to skip your workout session since too much fatigue can reduce your motor skills and increase the risk of injury.
3. Schedule Time To Exercise
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Do you have a block of time set aside each day to exercise? If not, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure when it comes to making it to the gym, or working out at home.
Sure, things may pop up and change your plans on a given day, but the more that you protect your time, the more likely you’ll be to get your workout sessions in.
4. Exercise With A Friend
Would you leave your best friend hanging? Of course not! That’s why it’s a good idea to have a workout buddy since you’ll be much less likely to back out of an exercise session if you know that you’re supposed to be meeting a friend at the gym to work out together.
5. Sign Up For A Workout Class
Signing up for a fitness class ahead of time will help you hold yourself accountable because if you paid to be there, you’re probably going to do everything in your power to make sure that you attend the class in order to get your money’s worth.
Also, attending a regular exercise class with a talented fitness instructor will help you maximize the time that you have each week for fitness since the instructor will have a great plan in place for the class. The same goes with excellent personal trainers, as well.
6. Workout While You Watch TV
Busy moms and successful employees have mastered the art of multitasking. So, why not take their lead and mix one of your favorite guilty pleasures like watching reality TV with working out at the gym? Plus, chances are that burning those extra calories on the elliptical or treadmill while you’re watching Trash TV will make you feel a whole lot better, especially as things heat up on screen.
No time to get to the gym? No problem! All you need is your own bodyweight and a little space for yourself at home. To get some physical activity in while watching TV at home, stand up from the couch and do as many bodyweight exercises (squats, planks, lunges, etc.) as you can do during each commercial break. Then when the commercials are over, sit back down and enjoy the show.
7. Exercise Whenever The Opportunity Presents Itself
Let’s be honest, sometimes we just have to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to us throughout the day. So, if you know ahead of time that you won’t be able to do your usual workout routine on a given day, consider riding your bike to work instead. Or, you can even get off the subway (or bus) one stop early and then walk the rest of the way to your office. This way, you’ll be able to get some more steps in before your workday even begins.
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