Note to Self: Exercise Today

I don’t find time to exercise, I make the time to exercise. Let’s say you sleep 8 hours a night (a little optimism never hurts!). That leaves you with 16 waking hours in your day. If you spend one of those hours exercising, that’s 6% of your day. Can you set aside 6% of your day to focus on your health? Can you fit it in?

I get it, daily activities tend to add up – working, nurturing, teaching, coaching, transporting, shopping, the list goes on. Funny how things like watching TV, social networking, or boring household chores tend to fit into our day, but there’s not room for exercise. Most of the time, the barriers to exercise are lack of motivation, lack of enjoyment, fear, or maybe low self-esteem, but rarely is time really the issue.

What you really should consider is what will happen if you don’t make time for exercise? Leading a sedentary lifestyle sets you up for multiple doctors appointments in your future, money spent on medications to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and a decrease in activities of daily living due to lack of strength. Think about what you could gain by making a plan to start exercising: energy, improved mood, disease prevention, stamina, weight management, stress release.

How to make it happen:

Make it an appointment on your calendar, as you would a dentist appointment, meeting with a coworker, lunch with a friend or watching a sporting event. Schedule it and show up.

Prepare. If it’s in the morning, set your clothes out the night before or pack your gym bag so it’s ready to go.

Delegate. Are there daily or weekly tasks you can ask for help with to get them off your plate?  Can your spouse be in charge of dinner tonight? Have your kids put away their own clean clothes.  Sometimes the dirty clothes can stay in the hamper another day if it means extra time to fit in a workout. Let go of some of your “must dos”, and you may find some free time.

Keep an activity log. Track your progress to keep you motivated.  Sometimes I look back at my excel sheets to previous years to see how I trained for an event. I can remember when I first started running and I had built up to 3 miles! I realized I could actually run a race and was so excited to sign up for my first 5K. Fast forward 20 years with a marathon, 5 half marathons, a few 10 milers, Team Relay races and many 5 and 10Ks under my belt. It’s fun to look back and see how you’ve progressed!

Limit your screen time. This is a good tip for any age.  Rarely do we miss that 30 minute show.

Positive thinking. Start your day with a positive thought to get in the right mindset. Edit out those negative thoughts. Think, “I choose to make myself a priority today”.

If you like the buddy-system, ask a friend to join you. Invite some friends to try out a new class. Some people like to get it done on their own, others like it to be more social.

Find something that works for you, brings you joy, makes you feel better, something you can be consistent with.  It’s the consistency that makes the difference.

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