Time for fitness

By Jo Finzi

Spring’s here, summer’s just around the corner, and some of us are still carrying around that spare tyre from too much seasonal socialising.

It’s round about now that we hear echoes of that famous expression “I don’t have time to get fit” - so here’s a few hints to help you find the time you need.

UAEasy.com pictureTime to get up

The easiest way to find more exercise time in your day is to simply get up earlier. If you usually set your alarm for 7am, set it for 6.30am instead and use the extra half hour to go for a walk or take part in some other form of physical activity you enjoy, while it’s still nice and cool outside.

But what if you’re not an early bird. Then see how you can use any free time you have in the evening to increase your activity levels. You could look for a gym that’s open late, or buy some home exercise equipment so you can work out while watching the television or listening to the radio.

However, it’s important that you listen to your body. Most of us know whether we’re a ‘morning person’ or not.

If you’re one of those people who find it hard to get up, don’t try to exercise in the morning as it will be difficult to stick to your new routine and you won’t enjoy it. It’s important to exercise when you feel at your best for physical activity. Experiment to find a time that suits you.

Also the circadian rhythms of your natural 24-hour biological cycle means you experience exercise differently at different times of the day. (add link here)

Time to go
Whether you’re a lark or a night owl, here are some ideas on how you can get more active more often..
1. Make an appointment to exercise - and write it in your diary. You can also record what you did in your workout, so you can keep track of your achievements. Extend this idea by actually making a real date with a friend, colleague or relative to exercise together. If you use your computer on a daily basis, why not set up a reminder message to take a walk or go for a swim?

2. Have an exercise kit handy in the places you spend most of your time. This might mean leaving clothes at college, work, with friends or relatives, or in the boot of your car. This way, you can exercise whenever you get an unexpected free 15 minutes, or a sudden burst of enthusiasm!

3. Practise saying no to people who ask you to do things that aren’t your responsibility, or don’t even need doing, yet take up valuable time. Keep in mind the old adage “if you want something done, ask a busy person” and try to protect your free time so you can use it for sport, exercise or physical activity.

4. Find better ways of working, helping others or studying to help release a few extra hours. Double up on activities. Try listening to a learning CD instead of music when you’re working out on a treadmill, or a stationery bike. There are plenty of good ones around. When it comes to helping out a chum, it’s great to talk, but resist the urge to pick up the phone every single time and send an email instead, then use the free time you’ve created to be more physically active. If you’re feeling better, you’ll probably give more positive advice anyway.

5. If you’re in employment, make sure you take all the holidays you’re entitled to and use them wisely. Consider taking active breaks such as a skiing holiday, a cycle tour or a trekking trip.

6. If you own a car, leave it at home as much as possible and walk or cycle to the shops for those small things such as milk or a newspaper.

7. As an experiment, try not wearing a watch for a weekend to see if being released from this time ‘jailer’ liberates you to do more physical activity.

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