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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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
- 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.