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5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise

5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise

We all know that exercise is important – vital, in fact. Yet, one of the most common excuses for not exercising enough is “I can’t find time for exercise.”

And it’s true. It is hard to find time for exercise. Just like it’s hard to find time to meditate, cook healthy meals, and volunteer to make your community a better place.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) provides the following minimum exercise guidelines for healthy adults (18-65):

  • Moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, five days per week (e.g. a brisk walk) or;
  • Vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for 20 minutes, three days per week (e.g. jogging) or;
  • Some combination of moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity
  • NOTE: Exercise can be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes.

That’s not bad. In fact, it’s pretty achievable. So let’s move on to the challenging (but fun) part: Finding time for exercise.

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1. Turn off the TV

This is usually a good place to start. In 2010, the average American watched 34 hours of TV per week. If you do the math, you could still watch 30 hours of TV and get all your exercise in (including a shower afterwards, which is typically appreciated by your colleagues/family members).

And if you’ve already whittled your TV watching down to just one or two favorite shows per week, consider exercising while you watch.

If you’d like to remove TV completely from your life and go crazy with exercise, check out this step-by-step article on the topic.

2. Limit Your Time Online

If we’re not watching TV, we’re surfing the Internet, checking email, updating Facebook, tweeting, or pinning. According to comScore, the average American spent 32 hours per month online in 2010 (sounds low to me!).

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That’s over 60 minutes per day, some of which could be devoted to moving your body rather than letting it waste away in front of a screen.

Becoming more efficient with your online dealings is a great way to cut down on the time spent online. Lifehack Managing Editor Mike Vardy recently wrote a great article about the real problem with email. It’s not about the technology. It’s about improper use of the technology. You will be amazed by the amount of time you will save if you check your email only once or twice per day.

3. Ask for Help

I don’t want to assume that you are a couch potato or an Internet addict. Perhaps you simply have your hands full with work, laundry, kids, community commitments, and all the other things that make up our plate of life.

If you are serious about finding time for exercise, ask for help. Maybe you just need somebody to watch the kids for an hour while you hit the gym. Ask your spouse, your mom, your friend, the teenager next door – anybody who can help you find that time. Also, if you have the money, hire somebody to clean your house. That frees up significant time (at least if you’re a clean freak like me).

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4. Find Pockets of Time for Exercise

If your eyes didn’t completely gloss over when you read the ACSM/AHA recommendations above, you may have noticed that you can exercise in “bouts of at least 10 minutes.”

This means that you could go for a brisk 10-minute walk after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not only will you feel refreshed, but it also helps with digestion!

I often find myself with 10 minutes to spare, so I have a mental list of things that can be completed in that amount of time. If you have your own 10-minute activity list, just add exercise to it.

5. Combine Exercise and Transportation

In many parts of the world, this is an obvious one. However, sometimes it’s easy to forget that getting from Point A to Point B can be a wonderful opportunity to exercise. Here are some options:

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  • Bike or walk to work/school
  • Bike to the grocery store
  • Walk over to a friend’s house
  • Walk to your place of worship
  • Walk or bike to the coffee shop

As long as it’s at least 10 minutes and getting your heart rate up, it’s exercise!

How do you find time for exercise? Share your tips in the comments.

(Photo: “Photonut” at RGBStock.com.)

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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