Finding Time for Exercise

Great intentions are easily dashed by poor planning and last minute schedule zappers.  It is so hard to go through your week and add the 150 to 250 minutes of exercise that you should be getting.  Below are some tips to keep you on track and reaching your health and fitness goals. Work Out in the Morning. I've learned from owning a Pilates studio for 11 years that the best way to get your workout in is to do it first thing in the morning.  If you're an early bird this could be simple enough, a slight adjustment to your schedule.  If the idea of getting up an hour early to drudge around your neighborhood is painful, consider a quick 15 minutes of yoga or stretching or light cardio and then you'll have less to fit into your day later. Get Your Support Group to Buy In. Your friends and especially your family need to be on board with your plans.  You'll need your husband to watch the kids while you're at the gym, or to set up a baby-sitting swap with a friend.  Even better instead of meeting your friend for your usual cup of tea and fattening muffin, how about taking a fitness class together instead? Combine activities. Take the family on a hike for a weekend activity instead of to the movies.  How about exercising around the soccer field with another parent instead of sitting on the sidelines with a cup of coffee.  If you live close enough walk to do some errands instead of taking the car. Assess your schedule. Look at your usual weekly activities and how much time it takes you.  How much time for work, family activities, cleaning, etc.  Where are you wasting time?  Do you have a spare afternoon that you can squeeze a workout in? Turn off the TV. It's been proven, the more TV you watch the fatter you are.  The average American watches over 6 hours of TV a day!! Just reduce that by an hour a day, workout instead and you'll easily get your exercise time in. Have a backup plan. You had to work late and missed your Zumba class at the gym, drat.  It's ok if you have a backup, hop on the elliptical if you can still get the gym or tuck away a few fitness DVDs at your house so you can workout when you finally do get home. Start Small. If you're transitioning from couch potato to a whole new lifestyle don't try to do 150+ minutes of exercise right away.  Start with small 15 to 20 minute exercise sessions and gradually built up to 30 minutes.  It'll give your body and your mind time to adjust to the exercise.  Once you've got a routine down then add 5 minutes per week until you're at the activity level you want. Pick a few of these strategies and see how they work for you.  I'd love to know your results!  If you have any other tips, please share them. Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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6 Responses to Finding Time for Exercise

  1. Lois Ardito May 13, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    Very motivating post Lisa. I need to go for the “small start” to get me going again. I’m going to do it right now!

    Thank you,


  2. Hunter May 13, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    Here is an idea:

    This is a bit silly but when I am cleaning (alone) I play music and dance/do aerobics as I clean. I really like to do this after dinner if I feel like I ate to much and don’t want to spoil my diet for the day.

    For example, do jumping jacks for a minute and then make the bed. As you do laundry, do push ups or lunges between folds.

    I run around and dance between the kitchen, dining room and living room as I clean up after dinner.

    If you do this off and on for an hour, you seriously get your heart rate up and your house cleaned!

  3. Lisa Johnson May 13, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    I think squeezing in bits here and there is a great idea. I can also say from personal experience that mopping 1,800 sq. ft. of hard wood floors is actually a pretty good cardio workout. I was so convinced it was that I wore a heart rate monitor one time to prove it to my husband! :-)


  4. Lisa Johnson May 13, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Lois, babysteps will always get you there eventually. Small steps guarantee the changes will stick and that you’ll avoid injury. It’s a pretty good strategy :-) Thanks for you comment, Lisa

  5. lbelgray May 13, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    Hey Lisa,

    These are great tips, and they make total sense. Here’s why the first one doesn’t work for me, though: after I work out, I don’t feel like doing anything. In fact, I feel entitled to do nothing. AND, to eat more. So if I work out first thing in the morning, I spend the whole day in this lazy, do-nothing, eat-everything mode.

    It’s great to get it out of the way, but in a sense, the day is shot.

    That’s the upside of not working out. I own my time, I don’t stress about when I’m going to exercise, and I eat less. The down side is, I get winded going up a few flights of stairs. Which is why I just rejoined the gym.

  6. Lisa Johnson May 13, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    LOL, an, um, interesting approach :-) If you have any gym questions I’d be happy to answer them or point you in the right direction. Stinks that your body doesn’t totally let you do exactly what you want doesn’t it?

    Thanks for the great comments :-)


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