5 Ways You Can Find Time to Exercise

Inspired by all of the stories from the Fitness Ambassadors' active lifestyles, but think you can't fit any of it in?

Let's stipulate that we're all oh-so-very-busy. I'm sure you have a long list of reasons why you can't possibly exercise—work, volunteering, parenting, chores and, well, adulting.

It's exhausting, it's hard and it's seemingly impossible. But as the very wise Lord Edward Stanley is quoted as saying in 1873, either exercise now or pay the doctors' bills later.

So, how does this chica fit it in? Here are my five go-to ways I find time to exercise when it feels like I really, really don't have time (and some extras from the American Heart Association and Fitness Magazine):

1. Let go of the guilt.

It’s OK to make time for yourself. Your kids will do better if mom or dad aren’t stressed out. Plus, you’ll live longer—long enough to watch them raise their own kids (you know what they say about paybacks!). That in and of itself should be worth carving out a bit of time.

2. Home is where the DVD is (oh, and the heart).

Buy a $10 DVD and use the thing. Or subscribe to an online service. Or find a free resource online. There’s always YouTube, and you may be surprised at what you find at the local library.

Two of my favorites are Jillian Michaels and Runner’s World Magazine’s yoga center because both are 30 minutes long. I often do these with my favorite 16-year-old. When my youngest was a toddler, I would do them near his bedroom right after I put him to bed. He could see me, which kept him in his room and not trying to get out of bed to find me. It worked for us.

3. Go really early or really late.

Some people I know and love (OK and me!) exercise at 5 a.m. or at 8:30 at night. You’re really not going to die. It's no fun getting up at 4:30 a.m., but neither is going weeks without getting a run or yoga session in.

This assumes your children are either old enough to be alone for a bit or there’s another adult in the home.

4. Get the kids in on the action.

Can they ride their bikes with you or while you run? There’s always the running jogger for the little ones. Can they join your gym or does it have childcare? A friend runs laps around the playground while her kids play within her sight.

5. Be creative.

Can you trade with a neighbor or friend so each of you watches the other’s kids while you exercise? Can you hire a local teenager to stop by before or after school? Can you run outside while your kids are at their soccer/baseball/swimming practice? Can you find a workout you can do while watching your favorite TV show or movie? (I’m thinking push-ups, planks, etc.)

A friend makes her weekly phone call with her sister on her weekly long run. They encourage each other and get to catch up. Brilliant!

Parenting is HARD but you’re good enough, smart enough and, doggone it, people like you! You can do it.

And on days when you just can’t, that’s really OK. Just mark it down as a rest day and find time tomorrow. But if it’s inspiration that you need, I’ve written about that, too.

Written by Gisgie Dávila Gendreau, 2016 Michigan Fitness Ambassador

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