How Do I Find Time To Exercise?

Ever heard yourself saying “I don’t have time to exercise”. I’ve said it myself on occasion. But you know what? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. So to those of you who say “I don’t have time to exercise” I say, yeah, you do actually. You just choose not to.

Instead of saying you don’t have time to exercise, why not ask yourself “how do I find time to exercise’? You might find the answer surprisingly simple.


Know your priorities.

We don’t all have time to do every little thing on offer in our worlds today, so living smart these days is a case of prioritising what is important to you. If you’re reading this article, you must have at least some interest in exercising. Exercise is at least somewhat important to you, either because you enjoy exercising, you know it makes you feel good, or you know it is good for you and you need to exercise for your health.

Whatever the reason, be clear on why exercise is important. Then you need to figure out just how important it is in your life. Does it rate right up there with the welfare of your children, the pursuit of wealth, a raging social life, or is it a little lower on the order of what’s important to you? Remember that these things are not always mutually exclusive. Your physical health and mental wellbeing are extremely important for the welfare of your children. You can’t give your children the best part of you if you’re tired, run down and unhealthy, and exercise can make a real difference to your mental and physical health. You’ll also be a great role model for your kids if they see you exercising and making exercise a priority. Want to see your friends more? Why not go for a run with a friend, or join an exercise group with a friend, and both of you will meet more people?


Develop a Good Support System

Once you’ve figured out just where exercise sits on your list of priorities, you need to develop a good support system to help you keep it up. Schedule some exercise time for yourself, in consultation with anyone else who needs to make it happen. If you need your partner to spend time with the kids when you’re exercising, then make sure you involve them in your scheduling. Make sure they know how important exercise is to you, and how you will be a much nice person if you keep it up J. Over the years I’ve had heaps of my runners tell me their husbands won’t let them stop, because they become grumpy and hard to live with if they aren’t running.

If you find it hard to get away from work on time to enable you to exercise, then think about arranging to meet up with someone to exercise with. You’ll have to leave on time so you don’t let them down.  Or join a regular exercise group after work and have a trainer do all the thinking for you! Again, the commitment should get you out the door.

In another life I used to do a bit of rowing. The rest of my crew included a police woman, a midwife and a flight attendant, so trying to find a time to train was to say the least, challenging. So when we set our training times, they were cast in stone. There was no way I was going to let work get in the way of training. There was never anything so pressing in the office that I couldn’t walk away from to get to training on time.  Surprisingly (or not) when I stopped rowing, my office hours grew longer and longer. Where I used to leave work at 5:15 two or three afternoons a week, I was finding I was working till 7pm most nights, and all because I hadn’t developed a support system to replace my boat crew. It wasn’t that I liked exercising any less, I just didn’t have the same level of support around me. I didn’t know how to find time to exercise.

Exercising before the rest of the household is awake is also a good option, though it does take a bit of getting used to, and definitely some understanding from kids and partners. If you’re going to get up early to exercise, you need to be able to go to bed earlier so you’re not missing out on sleep.


Take the decision making out of exercise

We all like to think that we are good decision makers, but are we? Researchers at Ben Gurion and Columbia universities have shown that the decisions made by judges in parole hearings was more likely to be favourable to the prisoner if the hearing was at the beginning of the day or after a food break.

You’d expect consistent decision making in the courts, but the research shows judges are more likely to accept the status quo when a decision is needed after they’ve  already made a lot of decisions. So, extrapolating from this, if you have to consciously decide whether or not to exercise, and you’re deciding at the end of a decision filled day, you are more likely to decide to accept the status quo-that is you’ll decide against exercising.

So, don’t give your self the hard work of making a decision. Just get out, and do your exercise without thinking about it. Create a routine and stick to it, or get up and exercise first thing in the morning when you don’t have a chance to think about it. If you do deliberate first thing in the morning, you’ll be more likely to base a decision on what’s important to you, rather than what’s the easiest decision to come to.

If you know you are unlikely to exercise at night after you go home, then don’t go home first. If your kids tug at your heart strings, your shoes strings, or whatever else they can get their hands on, don’t buy into it. We’ve all had our kids cry their eyes out at the thought of their precious mummy leaving them, only to be told that they stopped crying as soon as you walked out the door.

Next time you hear yourself saying you don’t have time to exercise, don’t kid yourself. You do have time to exercise,  you just choose not to.

Instead, ask yourself  “how can I find time to exercise?”


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