How To Stay Fit in a Hectic Day and Age
2 Critical Steps for Incorporating Exercise Throughout Your Busy Day
By Joshua Wayne, MA
I received a call from a friend last night who I hadn’t spoken to in awhile. When I asked him how he was, he said “Good, but BUSY!” Moments later he asked me the same question, and the most honest answer I could give him was the same, “Good, but BUSY!”
This is a topic that has been on my mind a lot of late, and I have come to believe that being busy is one of the hallmarks of our society today. It also has become a very familiar complaint in my coaching work with individuals. And as a busy person myself, finding the time to exercise is something I have wrestled with as well.
What I have realized is that there are two critical steps each of us must consider if we want to be successful at incorporating exercise into our busy schedules.
#1: Stop Frittering and Start Managing Your Time
The first thing we each must do is honestly assess how we use our time. How much time do you spend frittering? In case you don’t know, frittering is the way in which a person can spend several hours a day keeping busy without actually getting anything done. A typical frittering episode looks something like the following:
It may start with the urge to check one’s email “a bit”. This goes on for about 10 minutes or so, and then, miraculously, we find ourselves on a webpage with stories about one or more of the following: the latest election news, stock market updates, sports scores and/or celebrity gossip. Somehow this reminds us of something we thought about the night before, and is now absolutely critical to ‘Google’. After about an hour of such behavior, we convince ourselves that we must really get down to business, so we wean from the computer and decide to file some papers that have been sitting around for weeks…which leads to cleaning up the kitchen a bit…which leads us to running some very important errands…
Anyhow, you get the idea. Bottom line: many of us think there is no time in the day left for working out. And yet, most people I know- present company included- spend at least some part of the day frittering.
So my suggestion is to substitute frittering for good, honest time management. Every morning, schedule your day and establish specific goals. Make one of them a commitment to workout at a specific time, and make this a high-priority “appointment with yourself” that you don’t compromise on!
When you work out you will feel good about yourself and your body. This, in turn, will make you more productive and efficient in your work and with your family.
If you can transform 30 minutes of frittering into 30 minutes of exercise twice a week and once on the weekend, for example, you are building a positive exercise routine into your busy schedule that is manageable and highly beneficial.
Now I understand some people are genuinely busy all day long with the tasks associated with raising a family or running a company. If this is you, the second critical step will be of more immediate value.
#2: Rethink Your Definition of Exercise
If you are truly
strapped for time, then I encourage you to rethink your definition of exercise. Many people get stuck in the trap of thinking that exercise means running or walking 3 miles, or going to the gym for 45 minutes. While that may be ideal, it doesn’t mean it’s the only way to think about exercise.
Often clients come see me who have no consistent exercise regimen, and yet, all of a sudden, they want to go to the gym 4 times a week. They are almost always setting themselves up for failure, because they don’t yet have a strong, consistent habit of working with their body that way. They may do it for a week, but then they lose their motivation or focus…again
! Instead, I encourage them to start with doing something- ANYTHING
- for 5 minutes at a time. This can be a simple walk, some light stretching- even just breathing exercises. What is most important is to build a consistent habit of doing some sort of healthy physical activity.
Granted, 5 minutes of breathing exercises or simple stretching is not going to help you lose a ton of weight. But, especially if you’re starting from scratch, it does establish a positive habit you can then build on
. This is critical. Those 5 minutes can become 10 and then 15. Walking can become running and then resistance training.
And then you will have come full-circle: when you have built a positive habit of engaging your body in exercise, you are 100% more likely to make time in your busy schedule to continue this habit. Maybe you get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning, or maybe you forgo watching TV for a quick trip to the gym. Maybe you’ll squeeze your exercise into your lunch hour or even a coffee break. In other words, you will find the time.
So, if you’re busy, remember, “Who isn’t?” Don’t let it be your excuse. There is always something you can do, even if it’s a little bit at a time. This is the simple choice each of us must make on a daily basis and don’t forget: even five minutes can get you very, very far.
Joshua Wayne, MA is a Personal Development Coach and trained psychotherapist with an emphasis on weight loss motivation and mind/body wellness.
In his private practice Joshua has helped his clients achieve their weight loss goals, shape their life direction and resolve a wide range of family problems from relationship difficulties to out of control teenagers.
Joshua has a Masters Degree in Counseling, is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). He has also been intensely interested in and studying personal development, fitness and spirituality for close to 20 years. Joshua also heads up the PEERtrainer 12 Week "Point Of No Return" Coaching Program