People can be very good at coming up with reasons not to do something; the most popular excuse for failing to exercise is: “I’m too busy”.
But we all get the same number of hours in a day. How we use those 24 hours is a matter of knowing what we value most, and that’s what we spend our time doing. Finding the time to exercise starts with making exercise a priority.
If we start with the premise that being healthy is important, then it follows that we have to spend time doing things that keep us healthy: sleeping enough, eating properly, and getting enough exercise. In the same way that parents make time to help children with their homework, employees make time to attend meetings with their bosses, and couples make time for each other, you need to make time to exercise. One way to find out exactly how much free time you have in a day is to keep a diary or a schedule for a week — if you don’t already regiment your day by the hour. If per day you spend 8 hours on sleep, 1 hour total on traveling to and from work, 8 hours at work, 3 hours total on grooming and eating, and 2 hours with family, you still have 2 hours of spare time.
(I realize travel time is closer to over 2 hours total if you live and work in Metro Manila. But that leaves 1 hour still for exercise. If you travel more than 4 hours daily for work, OMG.)
Once you know how much free time you have, then you can make the commitment to exercise. Treat exercise as an appointment you cannot miss so you plan the rest of your daily schedule around it. This works very well particularly if you have an exercise buddy so someone else is counting on you to show up, or going to group classes with friends led by your favorite instructor.
Most work hours start around 8 or 9am, which makes the early morning a perfect time to exercise. Signing up at a gym that’s close to your workplace can serve a dual purpose because you’ll get to exercise and will be less likely to show up late for work.
There’s nothing I appreciate these days more than an early morning run. The whole world is still fast asleep, so it sometimes feels like the sunrise is a beautiful show put on just for me. The heat of the day has yet to descend on the city, so it makes running in a tropical country more bearable. Finally, it means that I get to check off “exercise” from my day’s to-do list instead of it knocking about in the back of my mind the whole day.
Exercising early in the day also ensures you get it done instead of procrastinating and ultimately ending up not exercising at all because you’ve run out of time. You’ll also have more energy and alertness the rest of the day, and will end up sleeping better.
If you simply can’t get yourself out of bed early enough, you can steal time for a lunch workout, or exercise after work. You also don’t need to do all your daily exercise in one go; if you only have time for 20 minutes of exercise at a time, then a 20-minute workout is still better than not exercising because you couldn’t find an unbroken spare hour in the day.
If you really value your health, then you can always find the time to exercise.