3 Ways to Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Schedule (that you haven't heard of)
If I somehow stumbled across a genie in a magic lamp one day I know one of my wishes would be to have 27 hours in a day instead of our measly 24. Between running my own business, chasing after my son and simultaneously pretending I’m some kind of superwoman homemaker, my days are as packed as anyone else’s in this era of “do-it-all” thinking.
Just imagine what you could fit into your day with an extra 3 hours….
I imagine a world where we’re are more productive at work because we’d actually have time for a hobby, we’d all be a lot happier because we’d have more sleep, and of course we’d all be a lot healthier because we’d finally have time for regular and consistent exercise.
Time is the great equalizer and unfortunately from average Joe to Oprah, we’re all under the same 24-hour time crunch to get it all done.
And it’s crazy hard.
One of the most common reasons I hear from people regarding not fitting in regular exercise is because of this time crunch; there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I get it. But I also know that we all make time for what’s important and for me, things that fall under the “important” category are the things that bring me joy. But if you’re like most of the world, exercise is not necessarily a joyful act (but it could be).
Most of the time I hear about the usual suspects (proper scheduling and time management skills) as the downfall for not fitting in the exercise. And while that’s all fine and dandy, I want to place those exhausted reasons off to the side for a moment and bring attention to our relationship with exercise.
For most of us, our relationship with exercise is why it never gets thrown into our daily grind of picking up the dry cleaning, dropping off the kids or brushing our teeth.
The secret to scheduling exercise and actually making it stick is NOT by improving time management skills or setting better priorities (most of my clients are fantastic at this and still can’t get their exercise to fit), it’s really about examining your relationship with exercise and how you think and feel about exercise.
Here are 3 ways to reframe how you think and feel about exercise and FINALLY make it part of your routine.
1. Stop Punishing Yourself
With the reemergence and popularization of the “No Pain, No Gain” thinking, most people think of exercise as punishment; I frequently hear things like, “I ate too much at lunch today, I better hop on the elliptical to work it off tonight” or “I was so bad last week with my food, I have to do twice as much this week to make up for it”. Think back to when you were a kid. I’m guessing being grounded was not one of your favorite pastimes and I’m guessing that you didn’t beg your mom to schedule detention instead of playing with your friends. So why the heck would you do that now? When we think of an activity as a punishment, it’s highly probable that the activity will never be a priority and therefore will never be something performed on a regular basis.
2. Exercise does NOT need to be in a Gym
What’s the first image you see in your mind when you hear the word exercise? How about a bunch of people walking or running on a treadmill, the sound of weights clinking in the background or a sweat-covered guy huffing and puffing? Here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be this way!
We have become OBSESSSED with structured exercise and numbers; we think our movement only counts when we reach the target heart rate, the target steps, the heaviest bench press, the highest amount of reps, ect, ect, ect… And the more and more we quantify our exercise, track it and rate it, the more we move away from the pure joy of movement. So many times my clients will come into their session confessing how they did absolutely no exercise since the last time I saw them, but when I start questioning them about their weekend I discover they went for a bike ride, swam in their pool and spent an afternoon gardening. They are so relieved to hear that yes, indeed they did exercise over the weekend and on top of that they enjoyed themselves.
3. When you FEEL good, you want to do it again.
We have come to rate the validity of exercise is by how horrible we feel afterwards; the more we ache or can’t move the day after a workout, the better it has to be, right? While there are the select few folks who really do love the intense pain (mainly because of low body image and insecurity), most of us don’t like to feel like we can’t sit down on the toilet when we wake up the morning after a grueling workout and then we somehow become “too busy” to get back into that killer class. Finding a workout that not only gives you an energy boost but also make you feel good (physically and emotionally) improves your perception of exercise and consequently improves the likely hood of it to become a regular part of your life.
So there you have it! Three ways that will actually improve the likelihood of making movement and exercise something that lasts longer than 2 weeks after the stoke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. (And if you were wondering what my other 2 wishes to that genie would be, it would be to play Christine in the Phantom of the Opera and have my own time machine.)