How to Find the Time to Exercise (and Make the Most of It)
By Dr. Molly Casey
Some of the excuses I’ve heard on a daily basis throughout my career in conversations about exercise are classic.
- “Doc, I don’t have enough time.”
- “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
- “I have no extra cash so I just can’t do it properly.”
Movement is life. Exercise is a necessity. Yet in my experience, people struggle to prioritize it in their daily life on a consistent basis. Often it’s because of excuses like the ones you just read. There is a fix -- it’s called doing the basics and doing them at home. To do so, you’ll need to manage your time and your level of consistency.
So even if there is an excuse in your past like “it’s just too expensive” to exercise, you might find that it’s too expensive not to exercise.
Let’s start with mindset. The world is as we see it. There are 24 hours in a day, every day, for all people. “Lack of time” issues are not true issues of lack; all of us have the same amount of time every day. The issues are in truth about time management. The more efficiently time is managed, the more efficiently it can be used.
As I have walked patients through this objection of “I have no time” to exercise, we have always -- and I mean always -- found some level of mismanagement of time. There’s always one area or another that can be tightened up five minutes here and seven minutes there. When you find those few minutes and make the appropriate shifts in each area of your life, guess what happens? There is suddenly an extra chunk of time in your day. Yes, the seven minutes doesn’t account for much in one single area, but when this is done for every segment of your day you can often free whole chunks of time. Take a look at your day, a real look. Be honest. See where you aren’t as efficient as you could be and see where you can “create” more time for yourself and your workouts. Here’s a tip when you’re looking for those precious minutes: A lot of time is wasted in transitions to and from home, school, work, and from one task to another.
Regular exercise can be done at home with absolutely minimum equipment and money; these are not viable excuses. For instance, there are two options below that, if performed consistently and with full effort -- both during the exercise and in daily habits during the rest of your day -- can change one’s life and health.
Body weight - This requires no expense and minimal space. Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier.
- I recommend sit-ups and push-ups, 100 of each but breaking them up into four sets. At first it will take longer, but it will take less time as you get better/stronger. Make sure they are quality movements.
- Walking or running can’t be undersold. I recommend 30-45 minutes each day.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) - This is designed as an extremely quick and efficient workout. HIIT is so efficient that if done properly, it only needs doing three to four times per week. You do movements very fast and hard for small amounts of time; after a short rest, you go hard and fast again before another rest. This cycle is repeated for no longer than 25-30 minutes. If you can go longer than that, you aren’t working hard enough. The point is to be totally gassed by the end of the workout. The exercise can be anything. Below is a example and there is even a free timer online you can use to help you; check it out here.
Here’s a complete workout comprised of one minute of exercise followed by a 45-second rest, in a cycle that takes 21 minutes 10 seconds. So it’s a minute of jumping jacks, rest, a minute of squats, rest, and so on.
- Jumping jacks
- Body weight squats
- Squat jumps
- Mountain climbers
- Wall sit
Don’t forget stretch sessions. Our bodies at this point in society spend a good deal of time contracted, stuck in one spot, and not moving through full range of motion. Establishing regular stretch breaks into your daily life is very important; they can be as small as two to three minutes and, if done with regularity, you’ll notice a difference. Longer stretch sessions two or three times per week while at home on your living room floor, costing you no money, are also highly beneficial to your overall health. This isn’t about professional athlete level performance. This is about overall health, wellness and function. Think big muscle groups, front and back of the body, upper and lower body.
Time and money are not excuses to not get the movement and exercise you need to improve your life. They just aren’t. You may think they are, but truth be told, there is always a solution. Always. Sometimes all that is needed is a trained set of eyes to help you move through the perceived obstacles. So how about this: If you find yourself using time and money as an excuse, come see the doctors at The Joint Chiropractic, get your spine checked and adjusted, and let the doctors help you find your way around the excuses and back into health and exercise.
You can’t afford not to.
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