How Can I Exercise when I Don’t Have the Time?
Lack of time or perceived lack of time is an excuse that will often stop people from maintaining or even starting an exercise regime. It seems like a lot of people have this idea that they need to be exercising for at least an hour to make it ‘count’ but this is not the case.
Australian Physical Activity guidelines recommend we perform 30mins of exercise on most, if not all days of the week. It is important to note that this 30mins doesn’t have to be completed in one go. Research suggests that you can receive the same benefit from performing three 10minute blocks of exercise a day. So maybe you could start your day with some body weight resistance exercises before work, go for a short walk at lunch time to get out of the office and then do some stretches at the end of the day to unwind. There we go, we’ve hit the 30mins!
It can also be a good idea to have a look at your week and see if there is time here or there for you to exercise. It’s often the case that you do find some spots that are available. Or maybe you might need to make some small sacrifices; for example instead of spending two hours in front of the TV of an evening, you go for a half hour walk and then reward yourself with some TV afterwards.
You may find some days that you really do struggle to fit in your exercise, that’s when incidental physical activity can be really useful. This is where we perform physical activity doing daily tasks. Maybe you could take the stairs instead of the escalator, park a little further away from work and walk the remaining distance, or do some housework. By being more physically active throughout the day we burn more energy and keep our body’s happy (by not sitting all day)!
At the end of the day ANY exercise is better than no exercise. It has been found that you can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by performing as little as an hour of gardening or walking a week. We don’t need to be spending hours a day at the gym to see health benefits.
Planning is what can really help you break down the ‘I don’t have enough time to exercise’ excuse. So at the start of each week have a look at your diary and see what opportunities you have to exercise or at least be physically active!
Written by Emily Holzberger
Qualifications: B. ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys.
Resources: Australian Physical Activity Guidelines (2014), Nurses’ Health Study (2016)