“I don’t have time to exercise.” It’s a phrase I hear regularly, both in my professional and in my day-to-day life. I am a chiropractor in a sports injury clinic, and I advocate regular exercise to all of my patients, athletes and non-athletes alike. The benefits of exercise are many, and the drawbacks are non-existent as far as I can tell. The opposite can be said for lack of exercise: no benefits and lots of drawbacks.
The number one reason that people tell me they don’t exercise is that they don’t have time. But the thing is, they have the same 24 hours every day that the rest of us have. They just prioritize it differently.
Let me be clear: if you choose not to exercise, and you’re fine with that, then who am I to judge? (Although, admittedly, I will still try to sway you over to my side…) But if you would like to exercise regularly, yet claim you don’t have the time, then this post is directed at you. It seems appropriate to talk about this, as the New Year begins, and exercise resolutions are flowing.
We are all busy. We all live in a busy culture and live busy lives with busy jobs, busy kids, and busy to-do lists. And therein lies the opportunity to prioritize. My husband and I are a both-parents-working-with-two-small-children family, and here’s how we fit it in:
- We alternate 6am classes at Crossfit on weekdays. On my days, this means I can be back home by 7:15am, just as my kids are waking up and my husband is heading to work. On his days, he showers at the gym and goes straight to work.
- I don’t work on Tuesdays, so I go to the gym on Tuesdays at 5pm, once my husband finishes work and takes over kid-duty.
- I run with my neighbor at 8pm on Monday nights, after the kids are tucked into bed. Sometimes I get to a yoga class on Thursday nights at 8:30pm.
- On the weekends, one of us often does a workout during the kid’s afternoon naptime. Or I bring my son with me to the gym in the morning- he plays while I do my workout, and then I do the kid-switch with my husband so he gets gym-time too.
With this juggling, we each manage to exercise 4-6 times per week. Things do come up from time to time that derail this schedule- sick children, traffic, late meetings- but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule. And while I don’t enjoy crawling out of my warm bed at 5:25am on dark mornings, I do enjoy the post-workout adrenaline rush. While I don’t enjoy leaving the comfort of my couch on cold evenings, I do enjoy the runner’s high. And while I don’t enjoy missing out on weekend naps, I do enjoy feeling healthy and fit and strong.
To say that you don’t have time to exercise assumes that the rest of us do. When in reality, we simply make the time. We sacrifice sleep, or TV, or laundry, or Facebook. We prioritize exercise. We prioritize fitness. And if this post sounds preachy, well good, because that was my intent. This is a topic I’m passionate about. And preachy about.
So go run with your kids in a jogging stroller. Go for a swim on your lunch break. Go do Pilates in your basement. Go to the gym in the wee hours of the morning or the late hours of the night. Because exercise equals movement, and movement equals health. Get moving. Get healthy.