Finding the Time to Exercise

We are the busiest people ever, with careers, families, households to maintain, a life to upkeep, countless daily and weekly errands to run, and also a social life if you can still manage it. On top of all that, you’re still supposed to find time to exercise? Yes. Yes you are. That’s where your time management skills are going to have to get kicked up a notch.

By the time you get through half of your day, you’re already tired, right? How in the world are you going to find the energy to get your daily workout in? On some days, it seems impossible. What you have to do, though, is to find the best time of the day to get it done. And that all depends on your daily schedule.

If your day starts at 6 and ends at 9 or 10, it can be hard. People who work long hours will definitely find most of their energy depleted by the end of the day. For you, either squeezing it in as part of your morning ritual (even if it means getting up a half an hour earlier), or sticking in in the middle during your lunch hour is the best solution for you. Try not to wait until the end of the day to do your workout, unless you’re one of those rare people that can just soldier on through it anyway, even though you’re bone tired. Most people can’t do that. If you can, kudos to you, but most will find themselves skipping workouts if they put it last on the list. You just don’t have the energy after all the day’s tasks. Put it in the beginning or middle of your day, and you won’t have to worry about it by the time you’re ready to hit the sheets. It’s done.

9 to 5ers may have it a bit easier, because for them there IS a such thing as before and after work. Use those pockets of time to your advantage. If you’re a morning person, get up an hour earlier and get busy. Then you can move on with your day, and forget about it. You’re done! If you are able to manage your energy well, after work at the gym might be for you. The key here is deciding which time of the day will work out best for your energy level. Figure it out, and get to it!

For those that have more of a flexible schedule, you still need to stay on top of things. Freelancers and the self employed can fall into bad exercise habits also if they don’t keep a good structure to their work day. As an independent contractor, I work 2 to 4 hours on most days, and have a ton of time on my hands every day. You’d think I’d be exercising all day til the cows come home, but I don’t. I have to schedule specific times to go to the gym or to go run, or I will stay right here on this computer, blogging, reading blogs, surfing the net, building websites and playing around on Twitter and Facebook.

When you work for yourself, or have a less traditional work schedule, and it’s easy to fall into the “doin’ what I feel like right now” trap. If you’re a writer, musician, artist, or crafts person, or any type that makes their own schedule, you know already how easily you can waste time, simply because you know that time restraints aren’t as tight for you unless you have deadlines and/or projects that you need to get done. For you, setting a firm schedule and setting aside specific times for workouts will keep you on track. Make your exercise as regular and nonnegotiable a task as walking the dog. You know you have to walk a dog every day come rain or shine at specific times, right? Think of your workouts the same way, and be unwavering on it.

Stay at home moms. Well, ALL moms! Heck! Really hard for you to get that exercise in on some days, right? Kids require a lot of attention, are unpredictable, get sick, can be demanding, require a ton of maintenance and care, etc , etc, etc. I’m sure it’s hard to keep gym appointments in the midst of it all, but there are things you can do to stay on track no matter what’s going on. First of all, make sure you have several workout options at your disposal. Not just the gym, your trainer, or a run in the park, etc. Have your own equipment and DVDs at home, so you can sneak that workout in even if the baby is sick and you can’t go out. You can always get your workout in at baby’s nap time (even though you might need a nap yourself!). Kids are in school? Great! You still have to make sure to schedule that workout somewhere in your day before they come home. It’s not easy, but don’t get so caught up in housework and chores that you neglect to put aside at least half an hour or so in your day to just bang one out. And once again, try not to wait until the end of the day, or you might be too tired.

How you manage your exercise time really depends on your schedule and lifestyle. The type of work you do, the hours you keep, personal commitments, and the structure of your home life are all factors that will help decide when and where the exercise needs to go in the daily schedule. Assess it, and put it where it needs to be. That will go a long way in helping you reach your fitness goals!