Work deadlines, parent-teacher conferences, diapers, errands—it’s easy to let our busy schedules get in the way of regular exercise. First step: Identify your exercise obstacles. Then find ways to deal with them one by one. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting your sneakers on. From there, it’s all down-hill (even if you’re walking up hill) because the initial motivation will keep you moving. Here are some simple solutions to get you started:
Problem: I don’t have time to exercise.
Solution: Who does? We need to make exercise a TOP PRIORITY! Effective exercisers make workouts integral parts of their daily habits. So schedule daily appointments with yourself (write them down in your day planner or your calendar!) and treat them as you would a doctor’s appointment or business meeting—you’re going to be there, no ifs, ands or buts. Even if you only have time for a walk-around the block—just get out there and do it. Every little bit helps.
Problem: I have to take care of my family.
Solution: Plan fitness activities that include your kids—ride a bike, play kickball, go ice-skating, bowl or throw an impromptu dance contest in your living room. If you have a little one, use a baby carrier and climb stairs or power walk at your local mall. I like to power walk or get outside and play with my daughters in the late afternoon or right before dinner. After a long work day, a quick walk along the Potomac or a rousing game of catch helps perk me up and releases stress.
Problem: I’d rather spend time with friends.
Solution: Make exercise a social activity. Organize a mixed-doubles tennis match, Ask friends for a hike or long walk, or join a local bicycle club with your pals. If you make exercise an activity that you actually enjoy, not only will you be more inclined to schedule it into your day, you’ll also avoid the temptation to quit early.
Problem: I’m too tired.
Solution: Okay, then just exercise for five minutes. You owe yourself that. Odds are, though, if you make it through five minutes, you’ll make it through 10, and before you know it, your full workout! Those first five minutes are always the hardest, but you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish once you start. You can avoid lethargy by making sure you have plenty of fuel—grab an energy-boosting snack like graham crackers, low-fat yogurt or a banana.
Problem: I’m just not motivated enough.
Solution: Find an exercise buddy. Research shows that having a dedicated partner makes you more likely to stick with an exercise program. You won’t skip your power walk or date at the gym if your friend is waiting for you on the corner! Afterward, you’ll feel extra great because you not only had a great workout, but you also overcame procrastination. It takes a little effort, but you can do it!