How can you find time to exercise?

“I work late.”

“I have to feed the kids, make sure they do their homework, and put them to bed.”

“I have too many obligations outside of work.”

Busy mother coping with stressful day at homeDo these excuses sound familiar? I hear them all the time from patients, friends and co-workers. The common theme of their excuse is simple.

“I don’t have time to exercise.”

We are all busy. We might face different challenges, jobs, school, kids, and more – but all of these obligations could keep us from exercising if we don’t make it a priority.

We know how important regular exercise is. Regular exercise, especially meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines goal of 150 minutes per week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity, creates a long list of benefits:

• Increased life expectancy
• Improved cardiovascular health
• Better sleep
• Improved mental health

The list of benefits actually includes many more positive outcomes. So even with our busy schedules, we must find ways to incorporate exercise into our daily routines.

My good friend PJ Jonas created a device for combining her exercise and work. PJ and her husband have eight kids and a booming business making soaps out of goat milk. PJ also produces a podcast, Busy Moms’ Survival Guide with PJ Jonas, and she has a very active social media and traditional media presence. With everything she has to do, it would be easy to skip regular exercise.

Treadmill desk
PJ’s treadmill desk allows her to work and exercise at the same time.
Her solution? A treadmill desk.

“In my new office, I asked my husband to make me a treadmill desk. It’s amazing. We already had the treadmill and the tv. He spent less than $100 on the other parts (including wireless mouse and keyboard).

I’m currently walking at 3 mph and have no difficulty typing or using the mouse. We purposely put the screen a bit high so I would have to look up at it (better for your posture and your neck). The first several days, my neck was very sore because I was used to hunching at a table over my laptop. But now it doesn’t bother me at all.

My goal is 20,000 steps a day. Yesterday I hit 18,500. I was sore the first couple of days when I was walking around 13,000 steps at 2.0 mph. But over a week into it, I feel very tired and ready for bed at night, but other than that I’m good.

I truly love this thing and had to share! It feels amazing to be able to get all my computer work done and be exercising at the same time!”

Maybe a work exercise station isn’t possible for you. I’m confident there are ways that everyone can get exercise in everyday despite hectic schedules.

Sitting on stability ballHere are some of my suggestions:

Limit time online, engaging in social media, checking email, and texting. I’m not saying you must eliminate them altogether. But try to limit them to once or twice a day for short periods of time.

Turn off the TV. Nielsen estimates that the average American watches about five hours of television each day.

Exercise with your kids. It’s time you can all spend together. It helps your fitness – and theirs.

Find ways to exercise at work. I’ve written an entire post on this concept with many workplace suggestions.

Vary the types of exercise to maintain interest. If you do the same exercise day after day with no variety, it could quickly become boring. If that form of exercise creates monotony, you might be less motivated to squeeze it in everyday.

Do you have any other suggestions? Share them below or on Twitter or Facebook!

The Dr. David Geier ShowHow can you find time to exercise? In the Zone segment from Episode 47 of The Dr. David Geier Show.


Click here for full episodes or subscribe on iTunes.

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david-headshot I am an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

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