Nobody has any extra time these days.
We go from one job to the next, we work with volunteer organizations, we take college courses, we attend luncheons and birthday parties.
Oh, and if we have children — I really don’t know how people with kids do it — we have all the activities related to them.
Not only that, but all these cool electronic devices we have — you know, the ones that are designed to make us more efficient — have kept us so connected that we barely have time to finish one conversation before starting another.
Hell, last night I was carrying on three conversations at once — one via Facebook chat, one via Google chat, and one via text. And I just wanted to relax!
So, yeah, even our free time is taken up with activities that weren’t possible 15 years ago, and that leaves us with less free time than ever.
What can we do about fitness, then? We know we should get into shape, but we promise ourselves we’ll do it later. You know, when the kids are grown and out of the house. When we can finally quit that second job. When our favorite tv shows go on summer hiatus.
We are busy. How can we possibly squeeze a workout into our daily routine? This is a dilemma.
I hear some people say, “Just get up earlier,” but these people are often the amateur coaches whose idea of a motivational speech is screaming “YOU GOT THIS!” Hey, come on, we can only get up so early. Trying to get into shape on only 4 hours of sleep every night is not going to work for the vast majority of us, and, anyway, there is evidence that lack of sleep makes us fatter.
We could work out shorter. After all, even a daily 10-minute workout can help improve our health. But there are surely psychological barriers to this, because, really? 10 minutes? And while it might improve our health, it’s not going to improve it nearly as much as a longer workout, so we may just think, “Why bother?”
Ultimately, how to fit a workout into our busy day comes down to the applying the same method we use to fit other activities into our busy day: prioritization.
If we don’t fit exercise into our day, it’s simply because we don’t put enough priority on it. If we prioritized exercise higher than watching tv or going to a movie or working late — all of which may, indeed, deserve higher priority in your life — then we’d skip the tv, movie, and work, in order to get our workout in.
I remember my first post-superfat exercise program. It was walking. Simply walking. Not much of an exercise, to be sure, but at least it was something. I had a pedometer and tried to get 15,000 or 20,000 steps in every day. I have a sedentary job, so I had to devote a lot of time to walking. And I did! Most days I was walking for several hours.
The point is that I did have other things I wanted or needed to do, but I prioritized my walking. Hitting that goal number of steps was important to me, so spending the time to get it done was a priority.
That went on for quite some time, but, as you might expect, I didn’t see a lot of results from walking. And then I got busy at work. I could no longer walk for so many hours. I had to find a way to fit exercise into a shorter amount of time. That’s when I started P90X, which takes only about an hour a day, and that’s when my life changed.
Sure, you can be on a later-when-I-have-more-time fitness plan. But the fact is that for most people “later” never gets here. There will always be activities to fill our time.
So, if we don’t make time for fitness now, give it the same priority we give to eating and sleeping, then it’s difficult to add it later, because our bodies deteriorate to the point where exercise is almost impossible.
I would encourage you to make “later” today, and start exercising now. Even if it’s just buying a pedometer and counting steps, you never know where those steps might lead you.