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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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