Exercising at least thirty minutes every day can lead to better sleep, more energy, looking better, having a better sex life and avoiding high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression, according to the Mayo Clinic. Most Americans have come to understand the benefits.
So, what is stopping them from becoming more active? Time.
How many times have you heard, “I would love to exercise but I just don’t have enough time.” I hear this excuse almost daily from readers and believe me, I understand. As an editor at Beyond Limits Magazine, a fitness columnist for Patch.com and a mom to three busy kids I am constantly trying to bribe somebody for an extra hour in my day.
Unfortunately I have had to accept that buying an extra hour is just not possible, but over the years, I have learned to combine my workouts with the rest of my life.
- Reading – Though the joke when I was a kid was that I couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time, with the help of technology the combination of reading and running works well for me. As a writer, it is important that I read — a lot. Thanks to Audible.com and iTunes I have been able to download audiobooks to my iPod and read and exercise at the same time. An added benefit is that a good book often means I run longer than planned.
- Social time – I have combined girlfriend time with exercise for years, running or cycling with my friends to catch up on life. But just recently, through, some friends in New York City I realized just how far you could push this multitasking situation. These ladies have combined their book club and their running group. The same could be done for a Bible study, a study group for a class or any number of group activities.
- Conference calls – I have not had the opportunity to put this one to the test, but local triathlete Mark Facciani assures me that he takes at least one conference call a week from his stationary bike.
- Commuting – I recently started using my bike to commute to and from interviews. With more and more people going green, cycle commuting is becoming more and more acceptable.
- Family time – As a triathlete, I generally have set schedules for each workout. Unfortunately, my children’s lives do not revolve around these schedules and I have found that it is their schedules that most often get in the way of my workouts. But I am learning that that doesn’t have to be the case. Besides running at their practices, I have found that they are often willing to work out with me if I can make it fun. We have added family hikes, cycling and even ice-skating to our schedules as a way to fit exercise into our busy lifestyles.
For almost 20 years I have led a fitness-focused life. I have preached the benefits of staying active. Yet, when I started working two years ago, I found myself struggling to fit a run into my schedule. Luckily, because I am a fitness writer, I had no choice — I had to find a way. I would be lying if I said it was easy. It is not. But with these multitasking strategies, I have been able to make it work.