So, You Think You’re Too Busy to Exercise

Hi there, Mamas. I know it has been forever since we’ve last talked! For that reason, this article might seem a bit hypocritical. I hope you’ll bear with me. My lack of writing has been a mental issue, not a time issue.

Getting over the miscarriages we’ve suffered earlier this year has made it harder than I thought to get back into writing. Nutrition and eating seemed such mundane and inconsequential topics to be discussing while grieving. (Who was this person?) It’s been difficult not feeling like a phony “mama,” which makes it difficult to become inspired and give advice. But, in the back of my mind, I knew – I KNOW – that nutrition is so important. I also know that I am not a “phony” mother, nor are any of the thousands of women who have lost children – either during or after pregnancy. Those mothers with empty arms are stronger than anyone I have ever known.

Good nutrition is what will energize my body to get through those days my mind says “enough.” It will keep my daughter growing steadily. It will keep my body in a place where it is ready to carry another child, if we ever get the chance.

Getting Back in the Swing

In my time off from writing, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. The most recent book I’ve read is 168 Hours: You Have More Time than you Think by Laura Vanderkam. I came across her book while reading one by Gretchen Rubin. In 168 Hours, Laura encourages readers to think about how they actually spend their time each week, and account for all time lost doing things you dislike or that suck time away from things you enjoy (Facebook, anyone?). Time logs are encouraged.  She goes through each aspect of life: work, home/housework, kids, and even leisure time. While doing my time log, I realized that I was actually getting several hours of sleep less per week than I would have guessed. But, I realized that despite this, I wasn’t too tired. That meant I could plan to allocate those hours I “gained” to other things.

One thing that struck me hard was her discussion of exercise. Unlike other daily tasks you may dislike, you can’t outsource exercise. No one else can do it for you. That being said, it takes so little time each week to meet the CDC’s recommendation of 150 minutes per week. When you break it down, that 2.5 hours is only 1.5% of your week. So I ask – do you really not have time to exercise?

Are you too busy to spare 2% of your week?

Are you too busy to spare 2% of your week?

Too Busy vs. Lack of Prioritizing

Even if you were to increase your exercise to an hour every day, it’s still less than 5% of your week. Unless you’re working multiple jobs, going to school, and raising a family, it’s highly unlikely you’re actually too busy. What’s more likely is that you’re not making exercise a priority. If that’s true for you, then that’s okay. I can’t force anyone to make exercise a priority. At least if you acknowledge that it’s low on your list, you don’t have to feel bad about missing a workout.

That being said, I would encourage you to make a list of your long and short term goals, things you want to get out of life. They might be career-based, family-oriented, travel-related, whatever. Now, picture your life ten, twenty, fifty years down the road if you’ve increased your exercise. Do those goals look achievable? What about if you exercise the same amount you do now? What if you aren’t exercising at all?

Maybe it’s perfectly realistic for you to achieve your goals without exercising and improving your health. However, my guess would be that most people could benefit from some exercise. Health problems shouldn’t get in the way of  you walking your daughter down the aisle. A family hike should be a fun experience, without the feeling that you’re having a heart attack. You want to go on carnival rides with your kids and not wonder if you’ll fit in the seat. You want to help your child practice for their sport of choice without getting winded in 10 minutes. Isn’t it important to maintain your strength as you get older? The stronger you are, the more independent you’ll be with age.

While exercise might not feel like a primary priority, it almost certainly is a secondary priority. I strongly encourage you to use 1.5% of your week to put your health first.

{For more time management tips, I really enjoyed Laura Vanderkam’s book. Check it out!}

 

Do you make exercise a priority? How do you fit it into your schedule?

For more on exercise from RDN Mama, check out this article and this one.

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