Fitting 'Fit' In
Sarah Seads, BA Kinesiology
“I just don’t have time!…I work all day and I am just too tired…My life is too crazy right now…I have a family to take care of…
Working in the fitness industry I have heard every reason there is not to exercise. On the other hand, I have also seen everyday people overcome significant obstacles to make physical activity a part of their lives. I have seen single mothers squeeze in daily workouts, busy corporate executives make it to the gym on a regular basis and athletes rearrange their lives to reach for their dreams. Fitting ‘Fit’ in may appear impossible but with a little planning and creativity you can make regular physical activity a part of your life. Here is how:
#1. Change your attitude. Sounds harsh but we all need a reality check from time to time. Ask yourself how important your health really is to you? The benefits of physical activity are endless: decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and injury. Increased energy, vitality, quality of sleep, positive outlook, confidence and sense of well-being. By accepting that you are in charge of your own health you will soon realize that getting active is the BEST investment you can make towards a long and vital life. To get started, list the personal benefits that you would gain by becoming more physically active.
#2. (BIG) Time Management. Next, dig out your calendar and look closely at your weekly schedule. For one week record how you spend your minutes/hours each day. Then you can start to identify where/how you can MAKE time. Multi-task by watching your nightly show from a treadmill, meeting your friend or colleague for a “coffee-walk”, walk or jog around the soccer field at your child’s game, stretch while you are on the phone. Get rid of time-wasters such as TV, internet surfing, and checking your email too often. Get organized by grouping errands together rather than driving all over town, creating filing systems that save precious time. Delegate tasks at home and work that really can be completed by someone other than you! Now, identify all timeslots big and small and you will see that there really is time.
#3. Schedule Fit In. Book in your physical activity at the beginning of each week and keep your appointment with yourself just as you would with your dentist, doctor, physiotherapist etc. Once you have scheduled this time in you must book other activities that come up around it.
#4. Sneak Fit In. Active Living really works! Physical activity does not need to come in the form of a run or a structured class to provide benefits. Studies show that by accumulating 60 minutes of light activity or 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity over the course of a day will improve your health. Some ideas include walking or biking to work, walk the kids to school, always take the stairs, and park further away to add a walking minutes to your day.
#5. Be Efficient. When you are exercising be efficient and make the best use of your valuable time. Take your workout gear to work or put it in the car. Put on your walkman at the gym if you don’t have time to chat. Do interval training during your cardio workout to burn more calories during and after your workout. Weight train to add lean muscle and boost your metabolism. Or set up a home gym to cut out commuting time and fit your workouts in easier.
#6. Invest Wisely. Signing up for a fitness program is a big motivator for many people. By committing financially to a program you are more likely to stick with it. You will get much more than you pay for: fun, new friends, laughter, results, long-term support, motivation, inspiration, confidence and more!
#7. Set and Meet Deadlines. Do you work best under pressure? If so, start by setting goals that are specific and measurable choose a realistic timeline to follow. Another way to put on the pressure is to sign up for a race or an event that will give you a reason to head out the door for your workout.
#8. Be Fit at Work. Use your lunch wisely! Start a noon walking group, take “coffee-walks”, get up and move from your desk as often as possible by switching tasks, take brief stretching breaks throughout the day and always practice correct posture. Have a professional assess your workstation for ergonomic design.
#9. Stay Fit on the Road. Whether you travel for work or pleasure, physical activity should follow you everywhere you go. Make sure that you have a fitness program that can be adapted for road trips by incorporating exercises that need little or no equipment. Always make use of hotel gym facilities because you have paid for them! Explore your area on foot or by bike if it is safe.
#10. Get Support. Having the support of your family and friends is key to long-term fitness success. Explain your goals to your family and let them know how you plan on achieving these. Involve your family in your active living plan to spend more time together and to set a positive example. Plan an active holiday that includes daily fitness adventures such as hiking, biking, swimming, or skiing.
Finally, always remind yourself of WHY your have chosen to be more active. This way you will continue to add years to your life and life to your years!
Sarah Seads B.A. Kinesiology, is the owner of Equilibrium Lifestyle Management.