Exercise – How do you fit it in?

This blog has been inspired by Coach Nicole on Spark People’s Daily Blog titled “Habits of Fit People: Work Out Like It’s Your Job“. I have written a blog about this before but related it more to continuing to fit exercise into your life when your circumstances change “How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle“. The blog I read this morning expanded on what I said in that blog.

In my previous blog, I said that I treated exercise like any other appointment. I put it in my diary and block off the time specifically for it. However, appointments can be moved and it is fairly easy to say that you don’t have time to go on a particular day if you don’t feel like it. So, if we were to treat exercise the same way as we do our job (or in my case, jobs) would we be more likely to do it? Sure, I understand the concept which is that we don’t necessarily enjoy going to work but we do it because we need to earn money so we get up and go do our hours anyway. Sometimes we come home wondering why we bothered but most of the time it’s not too bad once you’ve got to the end of the day or shift. Now, if we were to book the time for exercise in our diaries the same way as we do our work, would it really spur us on to go?

I’m not sure. After all, it is still a moveable appointment, isn’t it? If we are looking for excuses to not do exercise, we’ll find them no matter how much we know we should fit it in. I know it is good for us and we have as much responsibility to look after our health as we do to look after the household by earning money. I get it, I already exercise. I do, however, find it hard to fit in during school holidays when my son is at home and saying that I should treat exercise like my job isn’t going to work. My working hours get cut during holidays when my son is at home as I need to be home too. Therefore, if I am going to treat exercise like a job, that is going to get cut too.

So, to the title of my blog – “Exercise – How do you fit it in?”. I would say, “Easy, I do …” but I won’t because it isn’t, easy that is. I do find it hard. During school term time it isn’t so hard. I have a routine, much like going to work. I leave home at the same time as my son and go to the gym or out for a run before work. I don’t start until 10am so I have time. If I don’t go to the gym then I’ll walk to town/walk which is anything between 2.5 and 3 miles each way. I also walk to do the shopping as much as possible and carry it home in a backpack – I did this this morning and the backpack was HEAVY. It’s amazing how much 4 pints of milk, a bag of potatoes (2.5kg), a bag of oats (2kg), bananas, lemons, yogurt, grapes, kiwi fruit and ham weighs. My son carried the tissues, rolls and crisps in his backpack.

During school holidays, as we are now, I don’t often get the chance to get to the gym as I work for the charity who provides my son’s out of school care. Therefore, when he has a place for a session, I go in too to do the work in the office. This week we walked to work and home again twice, I went to the gym once, I walked home from a workshop and have walked to the shops once. Tomorrow I will be walking to my other job and home again for more exercise. I think I may have a rest on Sunday as my shift has been changed from the late afternoon to early morning (6.30am to 12.30pm!) so unless my boy begs to go swimming I’m not doing anything. Next week will be more walking as I won’t get to the gym.

So, my final thought is this, treat exercise any way you like. If you find it easier to treat it as a second (or third) job then do so, if you think you are unlikely to break your “appointment” with yourself then write it in your diary. Failing those two, set yourself a goal of just getting outside and walking round the block for 5 minutes. When you have done it mark it off on a calendar and start a streak (SparkPeople love their SparkStreaks). When you have done 5 minutes for, I don’t know, a week increase the length of time to 10 minutes. Before you know it you will have fit in 30+ minutes a day and may find that you’d like to spend this time in a gym rather than just walking round the block. One final way to fit in exercise – do what I do and walk to the shops when you only need enough to fit in a couple of bags or a backpack, if your local shop is a mile or less away. Or walk into town and get the bus home, again this is only a suggestion if town is close enough for you to do this (for me it is about 2 miles) and won’t help if you live in a village.

This blog has got me thinking more about exercise and how to get motivated. Hmm, maybe an idea for a future blog?