The Exercise Solution: Why “No Time” Is A Lie
“Did you exercise today?”
“No, I didn’t have time?”
That’s the most common answer given when asked why people don’t exercise regularly. Nobody has enough time. Guess what? I agree! I’m not going to try to sell you on the benefits of exercise because everyone has heard it before and it doesn’t really matter.
People don’t skip out on exercise because they don’t think it’s good for them. People don’t exercise because they’d rather be doing something else.
Let’s deal with this problem.
Why You Have No Time To Exercise
I am a bit of an internet junkie so I could very much relate to a study I recently came across that discussed how people are spending their time these days:
- The average man spends 8 hours/day working while women spend 7.1 hours
- Both sexes spend almost an hour commuting to and from work!
- Women do a greater share of housework (2.8 hours per day vs. 2.1 for men)
- Men spend more time doing leisure activities (5.4 hours vs. 4.8)
- TV is still the leisure activity of choice (taking up almost 1/2 of the leisure time)
- The Internet is catching up -It accounts for almost 2 hours per day!
- In one month the average person spends 15 hours on social media!
So, do you really ever have “no time” for exercise? Of course not. You can always find time for exercise, but only if it’s a priority. Let’s just be honest here – Checking your Facebook news feed IS often more important/valuable/enjoyable than exercising. The stats are very clear that this is true.
Knowing this certainly doesn’t solve the problem though (it might just make us all feel guilty for spending so much time in front of the TV or computer!). What’s next?…
The Exercise Solution
The root cause of our sedentary lifestyles is not a lack of time. We have time to exercise but we don’t do it – that’s the problem we need to solve. Here is a simple and effective 3-step process that can help you permanently change the way you think about exercise AND how it fits into your life:
Step #1. Examine The REAL Problem
It’s NOT a problem if you don’t go to the gym, don’t run, don’t bike anywhere, or don’t do hot yoga. It IS a problem if you don’t move your body.
A research compilation by the World Health Organization concluded that 9% of all premature deaths are directly caused by inactivity. We are killing ourselves because we don’t get up and move our bodies each and every day.
A lack of movement is the real problem, not a lack of exercise. Exercise sounds like something that only fit people do, but moving is something for everyone.
Step #2. Re-Frame What “Exercise” Really Looks Like
An interesting study was performed at the University of Copenhagen. Sixty-one overweight participates were spread across three groups:
- Group 1 was the “control group” who wouldn’t change their regular routine
- Group 2 were the “light exercisers” who would be active for 30 minutes per day
- Group 3 was the “intense exercise” group. They exercised for 60 minutes per day
Each group followed their exercise (or non-exercise) routine for 13 weeks and then reported their total weight lost. Not surprisingly, the control group lost nothing. What was surprising was the difference between the two exercising groups.
The intense exercisers lost an average of 5lbs while the light exercisers lost 7lbs in the same time frame! How is this possible?
The researchers found that the intense exercisers felt “deserving” after their longer workouts and would end up eating much more than the light exercise group members. In contrast, the light exercisers became motivated by their small doses of exercise and became even more active throughout their day (e.g. choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator).
In step #1 we identified that movement is what your body needs. The term “exercise” might conjure up images of high-intensity bootcamp classes, endless running on a treadmill, or playing some sort of competitive sport. These are all great BUT they are not the solution to the exercise problem for most people.
If you are not physically active each day then it’s time to re-frame what exercise might look like for you. Finding any way to move your body can have exceptional health benefits, maybe even more so than intense exercise will provide.
Dr. Mike Evans does an outstanding job of highlighting all the health benefits you can get from simply moving each day. Notice what form of “movement” he recommends? (Hint: it’s something pretty much anyone can do!)
3. Make One Small Change Today
Recap: Everyone knows exercise is “healthy” but many people say they don’t have time really because they don’t want to do it. In many cases, people don’t want to “exercise” because they think it has to be physically exhausting in order to be effective. This is a lie. What everyone really needs (yes, you!) is daily movement.
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I’m all about action steps. If you aren’t moving your body each and every day then I encourage you to follow these actions steps beginning today:
- Start Small – Even 10 minutes per day is better than not exercising at all. Set a daily exercise goal that is 100% achievable for the next 2 weeks. If you make it happen then you can re-evaluate that goal for the following 2 weeks (choose something that is again 100% achievable). Soon you won’t even be able to remember life without
- Get Accountable – Nobody should start alone. It’s too easy to cheat, to fall behind, or to stop altogether if you don’t have someone holding you accountable. Find a friend who might want to start exercising with you, post your goal on Facebook, or at least tell someone about what you plan to do. Simply saying a goal aloud makes it real and much more likely to achieve and doing it with a friend is even better.
- Plan It Out – Change rarely happens without a plan. When can you best schedule exercise into your day? Picking a regular time is the best way to make exercise a permanent addition to your schedule. Telling yourself that you will “squeeze it in somewhere” just leaves the door open for other items to crop up and push exercise to the bottom of the priority list.
What Are You Going To Do?
If you’re not “exercising” each day because you’re too busy then you are telling a lie and you are sacrificing your health and longevity. Exercise is not what many people think it is – It doesn’t have to be sweaty, or painful, or exhausting. It does require movement and it is something that you can do every day.