Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finding Time to Exercise

The biggest excuse for not exercising has merit: "I don't have time."

At the risk of annoying millions of readers (tongue-in-cheek), if you don't have time, than getting exercise is not a priority for you. Plain and simple. If you want to change that, excellent! I have some pointers you might be able to use.

I am giving this advice because I have used these techniques myself. I'm not going to ask you to do something impossible. (Example: work out videos at home. Great if you have a studio to work out in. Not so good for those of us who own heavy furniture.) I want you to remember something...most of my working life I either had 2-3 jobs or went to school full-time with 1-2 jobs. Talk about a time crunch. Still, I found time to get exercise. Now? Despite the inconvenience, I exercise 3 times a week at the gym. Inconvenient because I must drag my son's bookbag, my packed duffel, and a towel bag with me as well because I shower there. I just can't shrug the idea that showering at home with a three-year-old loose in the house would be a Bad Idea. On Fridays I also carry my Yoga brick and mat with me.

Not sure why my son always wants to be picked up when I'm burdened like a pack mule, but yes, occasionally he's in my arms, too. You'd think that would be enough workout, taking him and our gear into the Y where he attends preschool...but then I bike for twenty minutes and spend 50 more in painful yoga.

Okay, so enough about me, on to tips to keep active when you're busy:

On weekends-

1)Go to dance clubs and drink water (not beer) while dancing. (This is what I did in more more youthful, childless days.)

2)If you have kids, take them to the playground and swing with them or do chin-ups on the monkey bars. Climb and slide with them, unless, of course, they have those tunnel slides and you are either claustrophobic like me, or you are afraid someone will have to pour olive oil inside it to release you from being stuck (a truly understandable fear).

3)Cold and snowy? Help the kids make snow forts and start snowball wars. (Rule must be that no one throws snowballs at people's heads. We aren't looking for head injuries here, folks!) No kids? Any neighbor will let you borrow theirs, as long as you aren't creepy guy at the end of the road.

4)Housework can be great exercise! Get some music pumping and clean to the beat.

On weekdays-

1)During lunch break, eat some lean protein and walk around the building (unless you work for a company like Xerox that has a building with seemingly no end. It only took me one time to realize some buildings seem a lot smaller inside than they are on the outside).

2)Watch television at night? Jog in place. Use soup cans as weights and do some arm lifts. Rest during the commercials, or do ab work on the floor. Do not, I repeat, do not consume an entire bag of potato chips directly after. If it makes you hungry, a small piece of cheese and a few nuts should fill you, plus give you protein for those muscles you'll be developing!

3)If you need a second income, try working in a store stockroom if you can handle heavy lifting. You will make money and increase muscle mass.

4)Have a dog that needs walking? Try going on a sprint/walk. Alternate running and walking. You might frustrate your pooch at first, but eventually he or she will get the hint. No dog? If you have ten minutes, take the time to start this good habit. You'll be glad you did!

Like I said, these are all techniques I've used, and I've kept fit most of my life. The times I gained weight? When I didn't exercise at all. But that's a story for another post.

If you want exercising to be a priority, you will find the time to do it. Ten minutes a day is better than none. Sneak in moments where you'd rather be relaxing and get that blood pumping by walking around your office or living room. Get some stretches in if you have a job where you're on your feet a lot, such as being a nurse, a waiter, or a retail salesperson. Start small, but do it often. It only takes a short while for it to become a habit.

No excuses, okay? You can do it. I know, because I have.

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