Well Life Episode 4: Find Time for Fitness

Hey there. This is Johnna. Every week, I’ll be sharing a strategy that will help you love your body, love yourself, and live life well. What I want to talk about today is finding time to exercise.

We know we need to exercise, but we have trouble setting aside the time to do it. I have personally experienced this, or I’ve heard it time and time again from my clients. Time is not the only barrier to exercise that I hear, but it is definitely the most common. “I don’t have time to exercise.” So the one that’s the most pervasive is the idea of lack of time. “I just don’t have time to workout.” So here are four tips that may help you get over this problem of time.

Break your exercise up into smaller chunks of time.

Probably one of the most important considerations to keep in mind here is that you don’t have to go out for an hour. You don’t have to drive to the gym. You can just step outside and go for a walk. So the idea here is just incorporating it into your daily activity. It’s the idea of moving versus working out. This distinction is so important because many of the barriers you might have to exercise you might not have to movement. Can you park far away from a building to get some extra steps in? Maybe it’s going up the stairs to tell my husband something instead of yelling from the floor below. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. That counts as movement, it counts when it comes to breaking up your sedentary lifestyle, and it really shouldn’t take up much more of your time. And you may find that it’s more realistic for you to aim for getting short bouts of movement during the day even if you can’t set aside a huge chunk of time to workout. That’s okay.

It is just as important to have a goal of reducing your sedentary behavior as it is to have a goal of increasing exercise.

You know, more and more the research these days is highlighting the negative effects of sitting too long. Some researchers have even gone so far as to call it the new smoking, that’s how bad it is. Something happens to our metabolism and we just put ourselves at risk for being overweight or obese or for chronic disease, even if we are getting in the general recommendations for physical activity. So if you go for a walk in the morning, but then sit for nine hours straight, we’re still not doing our bodies justice. So you might decide, “You know what, I don’t have time to go for a walk. But I do have time to get up every hour and just do a lap around the room.”

Write your workouts down in your calendar before you do them.

If you can write your commitment to go for a walk or get movement in down, then it’s more likely it will happen, even if it doesn’t happen when you originally thought it was going to. And by putting it on your calendar, it makes it much more obvious what else you have going on. So maybe you thought you would go for a walk on Tuesday, but then you never bothered to look at your calendar and write it down, and so Tuesday comes and you notice you’re in a rehearsal during the time you planned on walking and you have no time to go out. So it would have been more productive to notice that ahead of time and decide to go for a walk on Monday or Wednesday instead. When you are thinking about physical activity, I like to say that something is better than nothing, but more is even better than that. So if you can only go for a two minute walk – go for the two minute walk. Enjoy it. Recognize all of the benefits that two minute walk is still providing for you, rather than just lamenting the fact that you couldn’t go for a ten minute walk.

Stop wasting your time.

Sometimes when we feel like we don’t have enough time to get moving, it’s because we maybe have wasted time doing something else. And it’s fine to have veg time where maybe you watch television or surf the web, but make sure it’s really done mindfully. What you don’t want to do is sit down and think you’re going to spend two minutes on Facebook and then all of a sudden an hour has gone by and you’re behind schedule. So the idea is to purposefully spend your time on your activities so that maybe you do have some time for some physical activity. And also try not to waste time worrying about whether or not you’re doing the perfect workout. Also, we now know from research that if you go out for a walk and you’re thinking about a problem, you will actually come up with a more creative solution than if you’re trying to solve that problem without the movement.

I hope these tips were helpful for you. Try one or all of them over the next week and let me know how it goes for you. But until then, this is Johnna, and here’s to living life well.

Do you want to get even more tips and tricks for your wellness journey? Then I hope you’ll join my community by subscribing to my newsletter. When you join, you’ll get monthly 4-day wellness challenges, and two research-backed articles sent straight to your inbox every month. If that sounds like something you want to be a part of, then head on over to my website at johnnawilford.com and subscribe to my email list. Thanks so much. I look forward to meeting you.