This is probably the single most popular excuse among those who say they can’t lose weight…the “finding the time to work out” excuse. And this lack of time is especially true for caregivers of seniors, who I am especially writing this article for.
Caregiving is stressful. And the stress eats away at you. Exercise is an effective outlet for that stress…if you can find the time to do it.
And I am not going to say that it is easy. After all, just some of the things that people have to contend with today include…
- Their job
- Their second job
- Their responsibilities to their spouse
- Their responsibilities to their children
- Are they a caregiver to aging parents
So I get the fact that your time is not your own. I am also going to tell you that you need to make the time. Why?
Simple. Think of all the people that are relying on you. Now, imagine a day when you are not healthy enough to fulfill those commitments.
Worse yet, imagine having a heart attack or stroke and either being a burden to them (where they now have to make a full-time job of caring for you) or are dead prematurely and cannot be there for those who are relying on you.
That’s what we are talking about. This is ultimately the reason why finding the time to work out is so important.
So I am going to start things off by giving you some ideas where you can find the time in your schedule. Certainly this is not an all-encompassing list, but will give you enough ideas where you can start to find the time to work out…
Make Workouts a Family Affair
Just because you aren’t lifting weights doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. So think of ways to make your family’s recreational activities physical. This can be as simple as kicking a soccer ball around in the back yard and running after it with the kids for a half hour.
That’s just one example, but it could be anything. Do you like “rough-housing” and wrestling with the kids? Do your kids like other sports? Do they ride their rides?
Or for new mom’s, how about getting the stroller out and pushing that 30 minutes while doing a power walk? You get the workout you need, get yourself outside and get your baby outside as well.
Be creative here. The excuse that many people give as to why you can’t find the time to work out is your family commitments. So the easiest thing to do is start to turn those family commitments into exercise.
Turn Off The Damn TV
It is stunning to me when people tell me they can’t find the time to workout. Did you ever notice that these are the same people who know who got voted off the island and can tell you who every reality star is dating?
Sounds to me like they are just like the average person who watches 34 hours of television a week!!! 1 At least that’s what the Nielsen numbers suggest. Now, I know that YOU don’t watch that much TV so I guess this is just a tip for the other 6,500,000,000 people on the planet.
No, seriously, it is a tip for you as well. Turn off the damn TV.
Now notice, I didn’t say to turn it off completely. Just turn it off for 30 minutes a day. If you manage to do that you found the time to workout and still have 30.5 a week for television, taking the average person’s 34 hours a week and subtracting 30 minutes a day from that total.
Turn Off The Damn Computer
The statistics for the time we waste surfing the internet are almost as bad as the time we waste in front of a TV. Again, I am not saying to give up the internet entirely. Just for 30 minutes a day.
The Dreaded Family Meeting
I can remember how I hated the family meeting as a kid. Something was up and Mom and Dad thought it was important enough for everyone to sit down as they told us what it was.
Well, you need to do that now for your health.
You need to sit down with your spouse and your kids and explain to them that you need to do something about your health. You need some personal time in order to do this.
Now, you don’t need to be overly melodramatic about it. But you do need to get everyone on the same page that you are taking control of your health…and you need some cooperation on their part.
And then tell them how they can help you do this. Trust me, it won’t much of a change on their part, but whatever you need to ask of them, now is the time.
You do enough for your family. They can make some small sacrifices for you.
If you make the decision to join a gym it is very easy to blow off a workout. How do you prevent this?
Find a workout partner who is as motivated as you are to lose weight. I cannot stress that enough.
Finding the right partner will push you so that you do not miss a workout. The wrong partner, who is always canceling on you, will just a drain on you. So choose wisely.
A quality set of resistance bands are indispensable for anyone looking to stay in shape. You can think of them as enormous rubber bands with handles on them that simulate free weights.
The advantages are that they are far safer than any free weight and the fact that they enable you to get a gym style workout anywhere. That means you could workout in your living room, or in your office at work, and get the same level of resistance as you would in the gym.
And that’s the best part about having resistance bands. They give you the ability to bring the gym to you.
Walking Club At Work
In an effort to improve the health of their employees, many companies are encouraging workers to start or join walking clubs at work. The idea is for people to take a power walk during a portion of their workout.
So if you normally get 60-minutes daily, take 30 minutes to take your power walk and then 30 minutes to eat. You could end up walking about 2 miles per day just by doing this.
Walk The Dog
On average, dog walkers are healthier than most of the rest of the population. Check out this N.Y. Times article for more information on the health benefits of owning a dog.
Now, I know that it may be one of your kids chores to walk the dog. and that’s fine. just go with him/her when they do. Not only will it improve your health but it could also lead to some bonding time with your kids.
Workout While Watching TV
All you need is your tablet to pull this off. If you are absolutely hell bent on knowing who got voted off the island last night, just download last night’s episode to your tablet and then watch it while you are on the treadmill at the gym.
That advantage here is that you are working your body while you are watching your TV…and because the treadmill and other cardio exercises tend to be boring you may actually find that the time passes quicker for you when you are watching TV.
Your Lunch Break
I wrote about this earlier in the “walking club at work” and “resistance band” sections, but it really does deserve its own point.
I wouldn’t expect you to use the full 60 minutes of your lunch time for a workout, but you could use 30 minutes of it and then eat the other 30.
I gave you two ideas of what you can do for your workouts, the resistance bands and the walking club, but you can come up with other creative ideas. Here are a few…
- Yoga (you can do that in your office)
- Basketball (when I worked at FedEx there was a basketball court someone installed outside the building)
- Anything that could be done at a local park
- A basic calisthenics program consisting of alternating sets of push ups and squats
Again, I am just looking to give you a few ideas but the point is that if you are committed to an exercise program you could use a portion of your lunch hour to that task.
Cancel Your Commute
I understand this is not practical for everyone, but I will advocate it on those days when the weather permits for those who live within a 20-minute walk or bike ride to work.
If you can, leave the car at home and either walk or bike to work. With the round trip you immediately get a 30-40 minute bike ride or walk to work daily.
Plan Your Day
Of all of the tips I could give you to find the time to workout, I think this is the most important. If you take 5-10 minutes the night before plan when you are going to workout (as well as when and what you will be eating) you have a better chance of sticking to your plan than if you just wake up and try to “fit it in”. For years I would try and “fit it in” and it was in that time that I put on 60 pounds.
But when I started to actually sit down and plan when I would work out all of a sudden it started to happen. And it will for you as well.
Get Up Earlier
This is such a no-brainer that I hesitated to include it. But getting up 30 minutes earlier is a great way to find the time to work out.
It works ESPECIALLY well if you get a set of resistance bands and do a strength training routine in your living room. You jump start your metabolism and build muscle…all from the comfort of your living room.
Sure, I know if work odd hours and are one of those who starts at 4 am this may not be for you, but for the vast majority of us it just comes down to having the discipline to wake up earlier.
Make A Date Of It
This is a great way for husbands and wives to re-connect. And the options are totally up to you. All you have to do is think of a swap…instead of a movie and dinner, what can we do together on a date that can get our body’s moving.
Ok, everyone with a dirty mind already came up with one idea but for the rest of you what I was trying to get as was to make your dates about burning calories instead of consuming them.
So get together with your significant other and think about this for a moment and come up with a few ideas.
These are becoming more popular and the best part is that you can start to teach your kids the importance of exercise at an early age.
And kids are impressionable. If they see that you are following an active lifestyle they will as well. And these days, with the childhood obesity statistics higher than they have ever been it is more important than ever for you to be in a position to be a good role model when it comes to kids leading an active lifestyle.
Two of the more popular choices these days for child/parent classes are karate and yoga. I am sure there are others but this is a great way to get your workouts in, bond with your kids and be in a position to give them the right type of physical start for the rest of their lives.