“I Don’t Have Time to Exercise.” The Excuse Heard Around the World

Monday December 1, 2014

Each week gives us 168 hours to use. We all have the same amount of time to work, spend with our family and friends, cook, clean, workout and do whatever else our lives demand. There is always time in a week to workout; it’s how you choose to prioritize that time that determines if you get your exercise in or not.

When someone says “I am too busy” what they are also saying is “I am choosing to prioritize other things.” This phrasing lends a different perspective and exposes the powerful aspect of accountability. Everyone has the same amount of time in a given week; it is your responsibility to plan that time accordingly. Like other errands and tasks that we routinely complete, exercise should be something you plan for each week, not something you might squeeze in after work.

In my experience, work is often cited as the biggest reason people fail to achieve their exercise goals. Last minute meetings, endless emails, and staying late to complete an assignment are common issues in the modern workplace. However, these pitfalls can be mitigated.

Let’s start with email. Is it really necessary to check your email 5o times a day? Probably not, especially right before you are going to leave to do something important, like workout. Schedule blocks of time during the day that are for checking and responding to emails. If it’s really important, they will call you.

Meetings can be the bane of your existence, especially if they are poorly planned, conducted, and sometimes unnecessary. If your meetings are required, but just take too long, organize an agenda and stay on task. In short, only do what is necessary, toss the extraneous.  Another option is to turn your meeting into a walking meeting. Take your group outside and enjoy some fresh air and movement instead of slumping in your chair and debating if you want to eat the last doughnut.

Finally, put your exercise time on your calendar and let others know that you will not be available. You might even try turning off your cell phone (gasp!) to ensure you are not interrupted.

Former United States Senator Paul Tsongas once said, after his cancer diagnosis, “No one on their death bed ever said I wish I had spent more time in the office.” I couldn’t agree more, Senator Tsongas.

Written by: Daniel Tysinger, MA, ACSM HFS