It’s a complaint I frequently hear when I speaking with potential Baby Boomer clients: I just can’t find the time to exercise!
Between jobs, social commitments, and caring for parents or grandchildren, they know they need more physical activity, but have difficulty fitting it into their days.
The truth is, you’ll never “find” time for exercise. You have to “make” the time, because life will always get in the way, casting off your best intentions right and left!
If you’re a frequent visitor to my website, you know that health authorities recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. That translates to 30 minutes, five days a week, each and every week. To many, this prescription sounds daunting, but it needn’t be.
So here are 5 secrets to help you carve out those precious minutes for physical activity:
1) Put it on your calendar.
You “calendar” your meetings, your manicures, your phone conferences, so why not give exercise the same consideration? Commit to a specific day and time, record the appointment in a spot you’ll see on a regular basis, and schedule reminders as needed. As a result, you’re much more likely to get to these activities.
2) Exercise with a buddy.
Having a support system is one of the biggest predictors of successful behavior change. So plan to be active with a friend or family member. You’ll coax each other along, and neither of you will want to let the other down.
3) You don’t need a 30-minute block of time.
Good news! You can break your physical activity into 10- or 15-minute increments. So no more excuses—if you’re working, you have 10-minute breaks every day! Keep your tennies under your desk, and walk instead of sitting or eating. Then look for a few minutes in the morning or evening to eek out other mini-exercise breaks.
4) Understand that any movement is better than none.
If you can’t find time for the recommended 150 minutes per week, don’t stress. Even a few minutes of exercise each day is beneficial.
Track your activity every 30 minutes during one weekday and one weekend day.
Don’t make a big deal out of this—use whatever method works best for you (paper and pencil, your phone, or a computer).
The idea is to locate “down time.” You’ll be surprised how often you watch TV, chat on the phone, or catch up on Facebook. These pockets of time are golden when you’re looking to get more movement in your day.
5) HIIT the road!
High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves alternating periods of relatively intense bursts of exercise with light exercise or rest. Research shows that you can receive the benefits of activity with about half the time. So a super-efficient 15-minute HIIT work out is equivalent to 30 minutes of cardio.
HIIT burns calories, strengthens your heart, and lowers blood sugar.
Before starting any exercise program, be sure to be medically cleared. Then try this beginning HIIT program:
- Warm up with 3 – 5 minutes of comfortable walking.
- Begin your interval: walk as quickly as possible for 15 seconds; then slow way down for a minute.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Cool down with 3 – 5 minutes of slow walking.
So don’t sit around waiting for exercise time to fall in your lap (it’s not going to happen). Use these strategies to get more movement in your life!
How do you make time to exercise in your busy life?