Posted February 11, 2010

Finding Time During Busy Times

Sorry for not posting anything for a few weeks, it’s been pretty hectic. What with the January crush in the health clubs, developing a new seminar, finalizing travel arrangements to present at a conference in Las Vegas in a few weeks, teaching a course for new trainers, and getting ready to take a new course myself at the end of the month, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Does this sound familiar? We all get into situations where we feel stretched in all directions, and working out just doesn’t seem like a high priority item, commonly getting pushed aside. When given the option between our careers and our fitness, most people make the choice of career, as it pays their bills and is their main reason for living. The downside to this is that by relegating our workouts to the bottom of the list and making our higher-stress, less healthy lifestyle the main priority, it reduces our ability to fight off illness, causes weight gain, reduces our attention span and decreases our productivity at work. Quite simply, by not working out, we become less financially stable. Let’s say you get sick on a regular basis and wind up missing about 1 day of work per month. That works out to 12 days per year, or about 2 weeks plus. Can you give up two weeks of wages that easily? What about the afternoon lull from having a blood sugar roller coaster from a poor diet and no outlet for burning off all the stored sugar? When you want to nap after a big lunch, you lose that productivitiy that everyone craves, and therefore reduce your income basis (if you are an employee, you’re productivity is the basis for bonuses and future raises or promotions, so poor performance isn’t directly linked to income, but it will result in lost dollars over time). Get depressed or suffer from anxiety? Both impact performance at work, and both can be assisted with regular exercise.

I am sure this is nothing new that no one has heard before, as we are all aware of the benefits of exercise and the need to make it a part of life. However, with all this knowledge, more than half the population gets less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day. This means moving, not just exercise. LESS THAN 30 MINUTES!! Most people walk to the car, walk to their desk, walk back to their car, walk to their couch. We are obviously not getting the mesage, or don’t know what to do differently.

Most of my hyper-busy clients live and die by their schedules, so they will routinely schedule in time for their workouts. The problem is, they consider it something that can be pushed aside or double-booked with something “more important.” By the time they begin to pay attention to the fact that this is happening, it’s been about three months since their last workout (sound familiar Brahm??), and they begin to dread getting back to their workouts. While scheduling workouts is definitely beneficial and can help make sure you have a routine that works for you, more important is the ability to adhere to that schedule and make sure that you don’t double-book or push aside the workouts in your schedule. Make it a point to schedule it, mark it as high priority, and (here’s the big point) actually do the workout!

If your schedule fluctuates with daily consistency, think about working out before or after work to accomodate your schedule, and allow for a variety of intensities to accomodate energy levels and sleep quality. Can’t get up in the morning? Maybe try going to be a little bit earlier on a regular basis. Maybe watching the Daily Show re-run you’ve seen three times could be passed if it means getting up 20 or 30 minutes earlier to get some quaity energy for the rest of the day. Can’t workout late and get to sleep? No problem. Do some yoga, light pilates, or a 20 minute cardio workout to help you sleep while still being active. No energy? Then workout. Exercise increases blood flow and actually gives you energy, so instead of reaching for the can of Red Bull, reach for your runners and rail off some intervals after a good warmup.

In closing, remember that you are ultimately in control of your schedule and your life, so making time for yourself to take care of your health, wellness and financial stability will prove to have long-lasting benefits and an improved sense of balance in your life. This will also help with curbing food cravings, help lose weight, and prevent the most common diseases from creeping into your life.

Happy trails.

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