We all have busy schedules: children to get ready for school, work, after school activities, shopping, preparing meals, washing, ironing… the list goes on.
If we don’t make the time to exercise your health will suffer and the ability to do the above could soon become much slower to do, or even the inability to do it at all. If we keep telling ourselves we can’t fit it in then that is exactly what will happen. If you are wanting to include exercise in your day to day lives because you know of all the benefits, or you may have been advised by a health professional you must make it a priority. You may know friends who have two, or even three children and we know that can be busy; however they seem to fit it in. Why? Because it is a priority for them to exercise and feel great!
Here are some simple tips for fitting in exercise:
Set a goal: Goals help you focus and will keep you going when temptation lies before you. Be realistic about how long it will take, break it down into small, manageable steps. Write it down and tell family and friends. Let them know how important it is to you and enlist their help and support.
- Make it a priority: We all make time for our priorities in life as they are important to us. If you make your health a priority, you will make time to exercise. Make an appointment in your diary for ‘exercise time’ and just like any other appointment – respect it!
- Look for the opportunities: You will be surprised at the number of opportunities you have throughout your day to fit some exercise in. Instead of sitting in the lunchroom at work, get out and go for a walk. While the children are at soccer/netball practice, go for a walk around the block. Record your favourite TV show and meet a friend for a bike ride instead. Set the alarm 20-40 minutes earlier and have a walk before the rest of the house wakes up.
- Make it a routine: Once good habits are instilled it’s hard to break them. Schedule time each day for exercise, plan a week ahead, arrange to meet friends or work colleagues for walks etc. If you have arranged to meet someone you will be less likely to skip it.
- Mix it up: Avoid the same activities day in, day out; you’ll get bored and lose motivation. Instead include a variety of activities to keep yourself interested and inspired. You’re never too old to try something new! Most clubs have teams of varying abilities, and Leisure Centres that offer classes of varying degrees of difficulty. Many activities don’t require technical expertise, just a willingness to ‘give it a go’. Check out: www.pushplay.sparc.org.nz or go down to your local Leisure Centre to see what’s on offer.
- Be prepared: Get organised and have your exercise gear ready and handy. If exercising first thing in the morning, get all you gear out the night before. Keep some gear at work or in the car, so if an opportunity presents itself (see Tip #3), you’ll be ready to go!