‘I haven’t got time. I’m too busy. I never stop.’ I could go on. These are the reasons I hear over and over as to why someone can’t fit exercise into their busy schedule. What I want to show you today is that it is easier than you think and will actually make everything else feel so much better. It is important to look after yourself and there has certainly been a huge shift away from working crazy hours, being stressed and pushing yourself to the limit. So how can you make easy changes that will help you to stay fit, healthy and active into your retirement and beyond? Read on to find out.
Where do I start?
The first step is to take a minute to assess exactly where you are right now. Identify what you do at the moment and what that does for you. It could be that you play football on a Monday night or swim at the weekend. Perhaps you walk the dog each morning or run in the evening. Whatever you do at the moment needs to be recorded.
Is it enough?
Step 2 is to work out whether that is working for you. This could be looking at whether you do enough exercise to maintain your health (remember that the recommendation is 150 minutes moderate exercise plus 2 strength sessions each week.) If you are looking to lose weight or to get fitter then you need to do more than this. It could be looking at how hard you are working. If you didn’t watch the BBC ‘How to Stay Young’ then I would recommend doing so on the iPlayer. There is a really good analysis of what activity one of the ladies was doing. Whilst she thought she was doing the required 30 minutes of exercise each day, she soon realised that it wasn’t hard enough or really getting her breathless. You need to be honest with yourself here. It may be that you are doing classes or going out running but if you do the same thing each week your body will adapt to it and cease to reap the benefits. You need variety and to keep challenged too.
Filling the gaps
Step 3 is to identify the gaps. You will have established in step 2 whether you are doing enough to stay healthy and maybe even to reach your fitness goals. If you aren’t doing enough then how much more do you need to fit in? If you need more variety then what do you need to change? Do you have a particular health issue that you need to address? You may need to do more weight bearing exercise to strengthen your bones or more cardio to improve your heart health or specific exercises to help to strengthen sore knees or backs. Whatever it is be clear on what action is needed.
Time to get creative
Step 4 is to find spaces in your week to address this gap. Now this is where the stress can start to build. At this point it may be that you have identified that you don’t really do anything much in a week to get breathless never mind doing so for 150 minutes! Before you hit overwhelm take a step back and get creative. Let’s say you walk the dog for 30 minutes each day then that is both weight bearing and good for general fitness. If you just dawdle and don’t get breathless then you need to make a choice. You can either find another time to get your ‘exercise’ in or you can shake up your walk. Power walk up the hills, run to the next lamppost, walk faster and further in the same time and beat it each day.
For most of us there are lots of opportunities that we just don’t take. Walk the kids to school. Park at the far end of the car park or get off the bus a stop earlier. Take the stairs at work and go out at lunchtime. Meet friends at the weekend for a walk and coffee rather than just the coffee. Try the yoga class at work or swim on the way to work. Go for a run whilst the boys are at football or go to the gym whilst the kids are at their gymnastics class at the sports centre. Take it in turns to look after the kids whilst one of you exercises and then swap over – it could be with your partner or do this with friends. Take the kids with you – they can run/walk/cycle/scoot beside you and you all benefit from the fresh air and activity. Do an online session before work or once the kids are in bed. Once you start looking there are gaps all over the place. Think beyond having to have a full hour and for it to be an organised activity. It all adds up and routine is key. Put your sessions in the diary and make sure that you have enough each week.
If you have followed the steps and still can’t see what you can do then put it to one side and come back to it later. You could take a step at a time – add in one new activity each week and build from there. It takes time to build new habits and to overcome the barriers that we put in our own way. If you are time poor and want a ready made solution then I have just the thing for you. Let me introduce you to my FitPack. For those of you who are already using version 1 I hope to have part 2 ready for release at the start of November. So why is FitPack a great solution?
- You can do it in the house.
- You don’t need any equipment.
- It is fully balanced and works on all aspects of your fitness.
- The longest session only takes 32 minutes
- Suitable for all fitness levels
- Only costs £9.99 and it works!
Here is what Jessica had to say about the plan
‘I really enjoyed FitPack 1 mainly because it changes the way you think about exercise altogether. It wasn’t just a great workout, it was fun and I could do it wherever I wanted. I hate going to the gym so this was an excellent way to keep fit in the comfort of my own home. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to all the moves and positions but the videos helped a lot!! Since I have started I have seen a massive difference in my thighs and tummy but mainly in my energy levels. I now find it hard to sit on the couch and watch TV without feeling like I need to get up and move. I would definitely recommend it to anyone.’
I would love to hear whether the 4 Steps have helped you to increase your activity levels. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can add your comments below. It would be great if you could share with anyone else that you think might find that useful.
Don’t forget to join my fit4evermore Challenge Series to get a free challenge delivered to your inbox at the start of the month. The series is designed to focus on all aspects of your fitness and to be used to boost your training or to get you started. You can also get lots of tips and inspiration on the fit4evermore Facebook page and hear what everyone else is up to. Feel free to share tips and ask questions on anything fitness related.