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The First Excuse Is the Worst Excuse: Yes, You Really Do Have Time

find time

As a Personal Trainer and Health Coach, the worst excuse people come up with for not keeping up with a healthy lifestyle is “I don’t have time for exercise.”

This is basically the grown-up version of “The dog ate my homework.”

Worst Excuse

“I don’t have time to exercise.”

How many times have you said that? Or heard someone else say it?

It’s the No. 1 excuse for not exercising. And I don’t buy it.

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. We all have multiple commitments to other people, often including work. Even in retirement, there’s spending time with family, keeping up the home, fighting traffic, etc.

But, as the famous saying goes, “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” 

How Much Time Do We Get?

Here’s an interesting illustration of how we generally spend our time on this earth.

Let’s say people get an average of 25,915 days, or about 71 years, to live. Of that, they spend just 0.69 percent (or 180 days) exercising.

That’s according to a survey of more than 9,000 people around the world, conducted by Reebok and global survey company Censuswide. (Granted, Reebok has an interest, but this is still relevant information.)

The survey also reports that people:

  • Spend almost a third of their lives (29.75 percent) sitting down
  • Stare at some kind of screen 41 percent of the time, or 10,625 days
  • Socialize with family and friends 6.8 percent, or 1,769 days

The US government suggests people get at least 2½ hours every week of moderate intensity exercise. A Harvard study says that just 15 minutes of physical activity a day can add three years to your life. And the Journal of the American Medical Association said last year that not exercising puts you at greater risk than smoking and diabetes.

Still say you don’t have time?

Add It Up

Let’s examine a week’s worth of time.

Seven days a week multiplied by 24 hours a day equals 168 hours a week. Now, make a list of how you spend your time on a weekly basis. Try this quick audit. Write down how many weekly hours you spend on the following.

  • Work (or committed volunteer time, if you’re retired)
  • Sleep
  • Commute
  • Errands
  • Family time
  • Religious services or community involvements

Total that up and subtract it from the 168 hours.

Get the message? You have time. It’s up to you how to spend it.

Time for More Time

I’m not suggesting anyone devote their lives to the gym. There are plenty of ways to get your minimum amount of exercise in each week. You can mix and match, and even incorporate movement into daily life by taking the stairs, parking far from buildings, and walking the dog.

Make a fitness plan. Here are tips to stick with it:

  • Choose convenience. Find a gym or studio that is close to you, and select a time that suits you.
  • Don’t like the gym? Do an exercise routine in the comfort and convenience of your own home.
  • Work out with a friend, partner or group.
  • Treat your workout time like any scheduled appointment. You wouldn’t casually blow off a doctor’s appointment. Give exercise the same importance.
  • Choose something fun. Studies (and common sense) tell us that people are more likely to make time for fitness when it’s something they enjoy.
  • Forget about how you look and focus on how exercise makes you feel better – and live longer.

I’m here to help, so talk to me about finding the time to take care of yourself. What’s more important than that?

 

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