"I'm too busy to exercise..."
If I had £1.00 for every time someone said to me ‘I don’t have time to exercise’, I would be very rich indeed.
To me, exercising is a necessary part of living a happy, healthy life and I can’t imagine not exercising most days, or at least making a conscious effort to be physically active. Granted I don’t have kids, but I do have a very busy lifestyle that involves running my own business and travelling a lot. I also work with full-time working mums of 3 or 4 children who still make it to the gym 3 or4 times a week without even so much as a single excuse showing up.
So why then, do the majority of us truly believe that we don’t have enough time for exercise?
First and foremost, you’re not prioritising exercise, it’s not that you don’t have time – you’re choosing to do other things instead of exercising. Which is fine, if you’re not really interested in your health or in losing weight (if you need and want to). But for the majority of us, exercise should be part of your weekly routine and rituals. If you want to be fit and healthy for the benefit of your children then exercise is a must – nobody wants to be the mum who has to just sit and watch whilst their children run riot in the park.
So I asked a group of busy, working mums who exercise regularly what tips they have for other women who are still using the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse and I’ve created a short list of 3 things you can implement right now to remove the excuses and finally start to invest in you and your health.
1. Accept that things won’t fall apart if the house is a little untidy
If you’re currently prioritising housework over exercise, I completely understand. There’s always something needing doing but here’s a little secret…nobody is going to care if you leave washing the kitchen floor on Thursday night to escape to the gym for half an hour.
Elaine says: “The house stuff can slide a bit to allow exercise time. Someone once said to me that one of the best things your can do for your kid’s health is to show them that exercise is important to you. This helps them to prioritise it when they grow up.”
Can’t argue with that.
So can you think of any household chores that could actually wait? I can. Or better still; why not consider hiring a cleaner once a fortnight to do most of it for you? Imagine how many hours of your life you would get back. It’s an investment yes, but how valuable is your time? Something to consider, perhaps?
2. Schedule it in
Susan says “schedule it in like everything else. I’m a single parent with a stressful full time job and I manage an average of three gym workouts a week. I fit it in when I can.”
You schedule in the school run, the pick up, meal times, your work, your housework and everything else so why not exercise? Make an appointment with yourself at a certain of the day, 3-4 days a week and stick to it like you would any other appointment. You deserve it.
Buddy up with a friend and ask them to schedule it in to their diary too as an appointment – that way, you’ll have less chance of cancelling due to the accountability, AND more motivation when you get to the gym!
Rosemary says: “Routine. Make a certain time each week. Buddy up with someone so you both rely on each other to go. After going to classes you feel more positive and motivated so you’ll be more likely to get more done at home after & will do it more productively. You need time for YOU and you only get out what you put in!”
3. Be inventive
Louise has “crazy disco half hour in the lounge before bed. Light off music on loud and me and the kids do dancing star jumps and squats etc. The kids love it. When I am at work I get half an hour dinner and I try to make sure I go for a fast walk outside. I walk the older children to school whenever I can and race them. I do YouTube workouts when all in bed and whenever I am able to I go to the gym / swim usually about 9pm but when you go this late you can have a nice shower on your own and you can come home in your PJs!”
There are lots of ways you can incorporate exercise and physical activity into your day! One of the girls in my free Facebook group even does some squats and lunges whilst waiting on the kettle boiling! It all adds up over the course of the day!
Can you think of any inventive ways to include more exercise in your day?
4. Find something you enjoy doing
Maria said: “in my experience it is only achievable if you find something you enjoy doing. I spent about ten years planning every morning to go to the gym at night after work and not going because I felt too tired and was too busy. This year I discovered Crossfit and go five times a week whilst still having the same busy job and son to look after. I have loads more energy than I used to have so all the domestic drudgery like cleaning and washing still gets done. The only major change I’ve had to make is meal prepping on a Sunday but it is well worth it!”
It’s important to try out different types of exercise to find something that you enjoy doing because even the best training program in the world will not work if you don’t enjoy doing it. Because you’ll never actually do it!
Why not try different fitness classes, dance classes, swimming or join a walking or running group? Go to your local Crossfit gym and do a taster session. Go down to your local gym and ask for a walk round. You’ll be surprised how NOT scary gyms really are when you get inside and start talking to the instructors. Fitness instructors are in their jobs because they LOVE what they do and are enthusiastic about helping you find something that you will love. So don’t be afraid to approach someone and ask for help to find an exercise fix that you love.
5. Prepare your meals in advance
Like Maria said in my last tip, preparing meals in advance is a time saving MUST. Imagine coming home from work and taking out your prepared dinners from the fridge instead of having to cook from scratch. You’ll easily save yourself an hour a day (at least). What my clients tend to do is prepare meals on a Sunday for half the week and then do another preparation on Wednesday for the rest of the week. Batch cooking one-pot-shots like chillis, curries and stews are a good idea for weekdays. I also find that a microwave steamer saves loads of time for cooking veg during the week.
It’s all about being prepared in advance. If you could save yourself 1.5 hours a night on cooking, you could be at the gym, at your new favourite class.
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