Finding the Time to Exercise: You are SO Worth It

by BJ Knapp, Coventry, RI

“I don’t have time.”  Where have we heard that sentence before?  We’ve all said it at one point.  Our calendars are packed with work, family, and social obligations, so much that we scratch our heads and say, “I don’t have time to exercise.”  And then we don’t. With all the promises we make to other people, why aren’t we making that same commitment to ourselves?  Do we actually think we’re not worth the time?

We know, by heart, approximately 985 reasons as to why we should work out.  Yet, exercise is often the first thing that falls off of the to-do list.  The first step is to stop saying, “I don’t have time,” and instead say, “I do have time.”

We all know that if we want to save money, or calories, then we ought to log what we spend or what we eat and figure out how to change habits. Let’s apply that same approach to saving time.  For one week, keep track of how you spend your time.  My time log was very enlightening.  For example, I spent about three hours each night unwinding in front of the TV.  At lunchtime, I ate at my desk and goofed off on the Internet—because my brain needed a break.  Bam!  Four potential exercise hours each day right there.  Why couldn’t I unwind with a workout instead of TV or web surfing?  My gears started to turn and I imagined blowing through a set of push-ups, crunches and dips during commercial breaks.

Armed with my knowledge about my pockets of potential workout time, I made a plan.  I made a realistic determination of the best workout time for me.  Early mornings before work?  Not so much—the snooze button’s magnetic appeal derailed me every day.  After work?  Happy hours with friends and post-work errands always won out.  (What?  Power walking through Super Walmart doesn’t count as a workout?)  Lunchtime?  Now you’re talking.  If errands can wait until after work, why not eat while answering my emails and then hit the road for a run during my lunch hour instead? Lunch-hour runs give me the chance to get in a workout up to five days per week. A thirty-minute run and time to freshen up gets me back to work in an hour.  To cement this lunchtime commitment to myself, I block out my workout time for each week day on Monday mornings so that my mid-day workout won’t get derailed by a last-minute meeting.

My challenge to you all: track your days and figure out where you might have that pocket of time.  Extra credit challenge: change your mind-set when trying to figure out when to work out.  You don’t really need an entire hour all at once if you don’t have one.  If you can scratch out five, ten or even twenty minutes here and there throughout your day, then you can still stay fit.

Keep in mind that it’s not the amount of time you have; it’s what you do with that time that counts.  Learn about combination strength moves.  For example, why spend time doing lunges when you can combine a lunge with a bicep curl?  That’s two moves for one, right there.  If you spend two minutes on each of those moves in your routine, then you’ve just opened up another minute for another combination move—like a plié squat with overhead presses.

In the end, the question you need to ask is, “Am I worth the time?”  The answer should always be “yes.”  Now prove it!

BJ Knapp is just your average woman trying to find ways to be healthier without the hype. When she’s not trying to improve her health, BJ leads an active lifestyle sailing, scuba diving and tromping through the forest with her husband Todd and dogs Nemo and Potter.

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