How to find time to exercise with a busy schedule

How to find time to exercise with a busy schedule

Back in the day our ancestors didn’t need to make time to exercise; whether they were walking from one place to the next, washing their clothing by hand or going in to a field to pick vegetables for dinner that night, their lifestyle meant they were constantly moving throughout the day.

Today, we hop into our cars and drive to work, sit behind a desk all day, drive home and spend the evening relaxing on the sofa watching tv. Our lifestyles are far more sedentary, they are also far busier. For many of us both partners work which means there is no one at home to have a meal prepared for you when you walk through the door after a long day at the office. We spend a lot of time commuting to our place of work and do a huge amount more socialising than ever before. This means that we are left with very little time to relax, and for most of us exercise does not fit under our definition of relaxation, so when our days get busy exercise is bumped to the bottom of the list.

It’s easy to forget that exercise plays a very important role in keeping us healthy, not only physically but mentally too. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and the endorphins released during exercise can help us feel both happy and energised. Not to mention all the other benefits such as reducing the risk for cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes, strokes, certain cancers and maintaining a healthy weight.

So how do you make time to fit exercise in?

  1. Figure out what time of day is better. I’m a morning person, I don’t struggle to get out of bed in the morning, but in the evening after a long day I get lazy and will find every excuse under the sun to avoid exercising. Other people prefer spending a little longer in bed – it’s important you choose a time that suits you.
  2. Plan it – Take a look at your schedule for the week ahead; what days would it be possible for you to squeeze in some exercise? Writing it in your diary means you’re committing to doing it and are less likely to not do it.
  3. Start small – There’s no point saying you’re going to go to the gym for an hour seven days next week when you’re currently struggling to get there once. Start small and as you get in to a routine of going you can increase either the amount of time you spend exercising or the amount of days – or both (who knows you may even enjoy it)
  4. Do what you can – Exercise doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym, in fact, if you find something you love doing you’re far more likely to keep it up. Walking, running, yoga, Zumba, boxercise. You could even book on to one of my Pilates classes. There are so many ways to exercise these days so try a few new things until you find something you enjoy
  5. Be realistic – don’t commit to an hour when you really are short on time or a newbie to exercise. Doing a 20-minute workout in the comfort of your own lounge is just as good as going to the gym or heading out for a run, and it can be done before the kids get up or after they’ve gone to bed.

Don’t expect to find your rhythm immediately, starting is the hardest part so go easy on yourself. Remember, even if you only manage to do one session a week in the beginning, it’s better than nothing at all.

Six Ways to motivate yourself to exercise

6 ways to motivate yourself to exercise

If sticking to a regular exercise regime was easy then everyone would be doing it. Whether your barriers are a lack of time, not enjoying exercise, a lack of confidence in the gym, family commitments or a busy social life we all have days or weeks where the last thing we want to do is make time for exercise. But we know it’s important that we make time to do it and that once we’ve worked up a sweat we feel great (most of the time any ways). So what can you do to make sure you’re motivated and less likely to talk your way out of getting sweaty?

1.  Sign up for a challenge and go public

Whether it’s an obstacle course, a 5km walk, run or maybe even something more challenging like a triathlon, once you’ve committed to doing an event and have a date and challenge to work towards you’re much more likely to stick to a regular training routine. And by telling your friends and family or even raising money for charity you’ll be even more likely to follow through.

2.  Set rewards for yourself

This old trick was taught to us by our parents at a young age; do as you’re told or get good results and you’ll get an ice-cream as a reward. We carry this with us into adulthood so why not set yourself a clear goal and reward yourself once you achieve it. Perhaps your goal is to go to the gym a minimum of three days a week for six weeks and your reward is that new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing up. Once you’ve achieved this goal, set another with a new reward – maybe a massage next time.

3.  Phone a friend/partner

Accountability is key, when you’re not just relying on yourself to get to the gym but are going with a friend or partner you’ll be less likely to flake. They’ll be there to motivate you on days you just can’t be bothered, and visa versa.

4.  Find something you love

Committing to running three days a week when you can’t stand the thought of it is a recipe for failure. Write down a list of things you think you might enjoy and sign up for taster classes until you find the thing you enjoy most. If you enjoy doing something you’re far more likely to want to keep going.

5.  Get some new gear

There’s nothing quite as exciting as a new pair of trainers or brand-new gym kit; if you look great you feel great. The term ‘dress for success’ applies to exercise too – so dress up like a pro and get your sweat on!

6.  Know your why

Why are you exercising? To improve your health; boost your confidence; lose a few pounds? Whatever your reason you need to understand why you’re doing something. If you’re doing it because you think you should or because your doctor said so you don’t have an internal motivation to keep you going. If you’ve been lacking confidence lately and know that it’s due to poor lifestyle choices then your motivation is because you want to feel great again. If you know this happens when you exercise regularly then you have a strong internal motivation/reason to keep going on days you’re feeling a little de-motivated.