Like most people, my daily life seems to involve being busy all day, without having time to think, let alone do the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day. I’ve found that sometimes the only way to make time for exercise is to be a bit innovative. I call it fast fitness:
- Get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning. ‘YOU MUST BE CRAZY!’ Believe me, I am the worst person on the world at getting up in the morning. However, I still manage to do it everyday to get to work on time. It seems to be the only way to get the boss to pay me every month. So somehow I manage it. Knowing that I CAN get up if I really have to, I realise that I could get up half an hour early as well. It’s not easy, but if I want to find time for exercise (and I do!) then I’ll just have to do it. Obviously, it wouldn’t be a good thing to cut down on my beauty sleep, so it’s just a matter of going to bed earlier, so I still get the same amount of sleep.
The 2010 US Time Use Survey found that the average American adult spent 2.7 hours per day watching TV. Many other sources have suggested that the average might really be higher – maybe even 4 hours. Other countries around the world have similar habits. Since most TV is mind-numbing rubbish, it’s easy to forego 30 minutes of TV, especially if that enables me to use that time to go for a run, or do some abs and weights indoors. If there is something really essential that I cannot miss, I’m lucky enough to have a recorder, so I can watch my favourite programs before my new bedtime on another day!
- Sometimes I find it best to go for a run as soon as I get home from work. This serves two purposes. It enables me to get the exercise which I know will make me feel good, keep me healthy and prevent me from fatting-out, before I get side-tracked onto household chores, surfing the internet or what ever else ends up eating through my evenings. It also enables me to burn off the stresses of the day in a productive way. This means that I get back home in a better frame of mind than when I got in from work. The pent up fury of some days can also help me improve on my best time for a particular course. I just look on it as focussing my frustration on my running speed. Works like a charm!
- I used to travel a lot on business years ago. That was when I had to start running to prevent me from expanding to the size of a small car. Then, I was lucky enough to be able to stay in decent hotels which may have had a pool and gym, so I could get a good 30 minutes of exercise at the end of a hard day. Now I don’t travel so often, but I work for a smaller company, so I stay in cheaper hotels. I still need the exercise, but sometimes there is nowhere safe to run near the hotel. So I’ve invented my own mini-workouts. They are based on High Intensity Interval Training. So I do short, hard bursts of ab exercises, weights (my briefcase often weighs 10kg, and if not my suitcase does!), press-ups, and squats. If the weights aren’t heavy enough I go for several sets of each exercise. It may not sound like much, but 20 minutes of this is plenty to get me puffing and blowing, and get my endorphins kicking in to make me feel good. A quick shower, then I’m ready for anything and feeling GOOD again.
- On occasions, the only un-booked time I have in the day is 30 minutes for lunch. It’s very easy to get hooked into sitting at my desk, eating my lunch and surfing the internet. I know, however, that I will feel MUCH better if I take my packed lunch out with me. I walk for 10 minutes as hard as I can along the river which goes through the town where I work. Then eat my lunch. Watching the ducks whilst doing so. Then 10 minutes walk back to the office. I manage to squeeze 20 minutes exercise in, I’ve been out in the sunshine, and I get back to the office feeling ready for whatever it can throw at me. Not as good for me as a half hour run. But much better than 30 minutes surfing the net.
Fast fitness is all about looking for opportunities to exercise. Spotting an opportunity in a seemingly packed schedule just adds to the sense of achievement and well-being that I get. It also means that I don’t have to spend all weekend running to make up for the workouts that I missed. So I can really make the most of my free time. Making time for exercise helps me feel good, and it even seems to make me think less about eating. And that means that I eat less. What’s not to like!