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Finding time to exercise is easier than you think

KEEP ON MOVING: Embarking on a fitness journey with a friend or family member may be a great way to motivate each other when the going gets tough

FINDING TIME to exercise is a struggle for most people. I don’t know anyone who works just 40 hours a week, and long commutes seem to be the norm these days. Add to that the chores around the house, meals to make, trips to the supermarket, time with family and friends, and so on. So how does anyone find the time to exercise?

Time was always an excuse for me. I used to think I had no time to exercise and instead of looking for ways to make time, I just kept on doing the same things.

Eventually I asked myself, ‘If I don’t start now, when will I?’. Could I accept being overweight, sick, and having to rely on doctors and pills to appear healthy as I got older? I decided that I owed it to myself to start exercising. I had (and have) commitments like work and family just like everyone else. I don’t make my own hours and my most productive time always seems to be spent working, and when I get home I just want to sit back and relax. Sound familiar? Does my day sounds a lot like yours?

If you haven’t been able to find time to exercise I’ve got some great news for you – it is right there in front of you. Two and a half hours a week is all you need

Studies have shown that just two and a half hours of brisk walking a week (30 minutes a day, five days a week) helps prevent breast cancer, colorectal cancer, osteoporosis, depression, erectile dysfunction and so on. That is hardly any time at all. You could spend more time in a doctor’s office every week if you have any of the illnesses mentioned above. If you can’t find two and a half hours in a week, read on.

SPEND LESS TIME IN FRONT OF THE TV

According to Nelson Media Research, men watch an average of four hours and 35 minutes of TV per day while women watch an average of five hours and 14 minutes. So, while we say we don’t have time to exercise, it all comes down to priorities. Is your health a priority, or is watching reality TV, reruns and hit new shows a priority? If men cut their time in front of the TV down from 32 hours a week to 29.5, and women from 36.5 down to 34, and filled that time with a good walk, it would go a long way towards a healthy life.

TAKE AN INVENTORY OF YOUR TIME

If you don’t watch that much TV and that time is spent working, taking care of the house, the kids, and more, you might not think that you have any time to exercise. Dan Miller, who wrote 48 Days to the Work You Love and No More Mondays, suggests that if you cannot find time for yourself, you need to take an inventory of your time. Start with the 168 hours in a week – subtract sleep at 56 hours a week (it should be at least eight hours a night, but for most of us I’m betting it’s less), subtract work at 40 hours a week (I know you don’t work 40 hours so add your own time), and add five hours of commuting (according to research, that is the average), which brings us to 67 hours left in the week. From here, you will need to take into account time spent getting ready for your day, preparing and eating meals and spending time with family and friends to determine how many hours you actually have left in the week. If you don’t have two and a half hours a week to help yourself stay healthy, you’ve got a big problem, and are likely living a very stressful life, in which case you really need to find those two and a half hours. (In this case, I would recommend reading Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Work Week for some suggestions.).

SCHEDULE IT

Make exercise a priority. Put it on the calendar, add a reminder to your phone – do whatever you have to do to make exercise a regular part of your day. Once it is on the schedule, treat it like any other priority and keep it.

While most people struggle to find time in their lives to exercise, that doesn’t make exercise any less important. As you now know, just walking can have a positive impact on your health. So find at least two and a half hours a week to take care of yourself. Turn off those TV reruns you’ve seen 10 times already and go for a walk around the block.

Once you start exercising – whether you’re walking, running, riding a bike, playing basketball or lifting weights – you will be happy you made the decision to make a difference, and even happier that you have stuck to it.

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