I had a little Google fun today and tried searching “Reasons people don’t exercise.” The most common barrier to exercise that was listed over and over (and over…) again: I don’t have enough time to exercise.
As a personal trainer who used to have a (very stressful) 9-to-5-type job, I do understand where this particular barrier to a healthy and active lifestyle comes from. Most people have a busy schedule, and some people have schedules “hectic” doesn’t even begin to describe. Working at Fit ‘N’ Well, I see clients with full-time jobs, kids, social commitments, and a side hustle — who find they still need time to cook, clean, and take the dog for a walk.
In the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, (CSEP) the suggested: “150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.” (Please click here for the link.) If we break this down over five days, it’s about 30 minutes per day in 10-minute increments of aerobic activity like brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or running.
So how exactly do these minimum recommendations fit into a weekly schedule?
What if I don’t feel that I have 30 minutes every day to do this?
Instead of focusing on the 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, how about breaking it down to a simple plan where the days can vary, depending on your needs?
It could look something like this:
- Sunday: 15 minutes
- Monday: 20 minutes
- Tuesday: 30 minutes
- Wednesday: 20 minutes
- Thursday: 15 minutes
- Friday: 20 minutes
- Saturday: 30 minutes
- Voila—150 minutes!
While I would advocate a well-balanced and active lifestyle includes substantially more activity than what’s listed here, (including resistance training, aerobic activity, and activity for fun,) a great place to begin would be to work toward consistently achieving these minimums and making this your new “normal”!
If you aren’t currently participating in daily exercise and feel intimidated with the need to suddenly find the time in your week, how about aiming for 50 minutes (in 10-minute intervals) in your first week, and increasing that total by 20 minutes per week for five weeks? This would allow for time to adapt to both the increase in physical activity and the changes to your daily schedule.
Cheers to getting in your minimums!