Does this sound familiar?
Lack of time is the No. 1 excuse most people have for not exercising. And it’s no wonder; we are inundated with things to do as we juggle priorities and rush around from one task to the next.
But then there’s “that” person – the one who volunteers for events, takes the kids to their activities, works a full-time job and finds time to exercise. Is she WonderMom?
Here’s WonderMom’s secret: She doesn’t have super strength or special ability to survive on no sleep; she has super scheduling skills. The best way to fit exercise into your day is to find ways to incorporate activity into your day, or schedule it. Here are 10 ways how:
1. Wake up earlier. Sleep is important for health and weight loss. Try going to bed 30 minutes earlier to be able to wake up earlier and sneak in some exercise.
2. Cut down on the media. For a few days, log how much time you spend on the internet, watching television or playing video games. You might be surprised that cutting back on Angry Birds or Facebook could actually free up 30-60 minutes for exercise.
3. Try an active commute. The easiest way to get physical exercise into your daily routine is to bike, walk or take the bus to work. If you drive and park, then park as far away as you possibly can.
4. Make it part of your routine. Dreading daily exercise? Then make it a habit. One of the hardest parts of exercising is that it is initially not part of our routine. It takes time to brush our teeth and shower each day, but we find time to do it. You do these things because they are a priority and because it has become second nature to do it. Research has shown that incorporating exercise into your daily routine takes working out from willpower to habit.
5. Mix socializing with exercising. If you normally spend time with friends or family eating out, watching sports or going to movies, then you can make your social time more active by planning events that get all of you moving. Go for a family hike, play a game of basketball with your friends or make a date with your friend on the treadmill.
6. Turn chores into exercise. Housework may not be the most exciting things to do, but it can be a workout. Time yourself by setting a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and see how much of the house you can clean. Try to be efficient and quick-paced. If you are doing lighter housework that is harder to get your heart rate up (like laundry or organizing) then throw in lunges, push-ups or other activities every few minutes to start feeling the burn.
7. Schedule exercise as an appointment. Would you miss a doctor’s appointment? How about an important business meeting? Working out is as important as going to the doctor or any other obligation, because it helps you perform better as a worker, parent, student or volunteer and keeps you in shape. So whether it is walking on your lunch break, doing a DVD in the morning, or going to an exercise class, mark it in your calendar and treat it like any other appointment that you have.
8. Find something that you love. You are more likely to spend time doing something that you enjoy. Typically, it is the things that we do not enjoy that we put off and do not feel bad about missing. If you choose a physical activity that you enjoy and look forward to, then you are more likely to make time for this activity.
9. Just say no. If all other nine tips will not work for you, then it is time that you look at your priorities and responsibilities. Make a list of the things that are most important to you. Then ask yourself about the other activities on your list. Do you really have to bake cookies for that fundraiser? Babysit for your sister? There is nothing wrong with making YOU a priority and saying “No” to other tasks. If you find it difficult to say “No,” then say “Yes” — but only when it is convenient in your schedule. Give yourself permission to put yourself first!
Tips submitted by Wendi Spitzig, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker with Memorial Medical Center’s Bariatric Services Team.