Fitting Exercise into Your Busy Schedule

Jackie Smith Health Guide

    I feel like a failure. Life gets busy and before I know it. I owe the CEO two reports, then there's the drafted social media policy I promised HR a month ago, I haven’t done the monthly newsletter for the non-profit group I volunteer for, I still haven’t found a plumber to replace the broken bathroom faucet or written the blog entry that is already a week late. I’m cutting corners to catch up and that means my workouts are sliding and my diet choices are questionable.



    Sound familiar?


    We’re all busy people and unfortunately, with a chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, we can’t let our time promised to others overtake the time needed for ourselves to remain/get healthy.

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    In my case, I work full time, I have a home, I have friends, and I have professional and personal obligations that take me away from the gym and put me dangerously close to popcorn, soda and candy. But that’s a discussion for another day…


    The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that one gets at least 150 minutes of moderate- intensity aerobic activity over five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on three days a week.

    An ideal fitness routine also includes resistance or weight training to improve muscle strength and endurance. The ACSM and the AHA recommend that most adults engage in resistance training at least twice a week.

    How the heck am I going to meet these guidelines each week?

    I tried adding my gym time to my schedule. That didn’t work. I was late to that too!

    If NOT putting in the time isn’t an option (it isn’t), it looks like you and I will have to get crafty.

    Sure, many doctors and demons (fitness trainers) recommend working out for an hour daily ,but studies have shown that that activity can be cumulative and still be beneficial. Even 20 minutes at a time is better than nothing! In fact, even 10 minutes, 3 times a day helps.


    With that in mind, I will get back to the hours on the elliptical, the treadmill and the Pilates class when I can, but in the meantime, I will keep moving.


    I’ve been finding ways to add small bursts of vigorous exercise as well as general physical activity.


    I haven’t totally abandoned my visits to the YMCA, I tell myself that I can fit in 30 minutes on the elliptical but inevitably, I do stay longer. I mean, I’m already there and all.  However, for those days that a gym visit or long walk just isn’t possible, I’ve been changing into sneakers and running my errands at lunch time. I’ve taken a zip around the mall, parking far away from the entrance or shop of course and climbing the escalator instead of idly waiting for it to deliver me to the next floor, pushed my grocery carts back to the store, washed the car the old-fashioned way, helped a friend paint and even shoveled some snow and dragged tree limbs down to the street following our unprecedented foot of snowfall this month. Those last two tasks the old Jackie would’ve left to the man of the house to do!


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    My next step is to actually use the light dumbbells sitting in the living room! I know, crazy, right? Surely, I can do some repetitions and throw in some push-ups as I watch television. I’ll even add some ab exercises. However, I draw the line at lunges. Squats? Yes. Lunges? No.


    Regular activity is great on many levels: not only does it make you physically fit but the endorphins lift your mood and ultimately, it reduces anxiety and stress. Believe me on that last one.


    Next up: Setting short-term goals


Published On: February 24, 2010