24 hours in a day.
24 - 8 (sleep) = 16 hours.
16-12 (work, for a lot of us) = 4 hours.
Four precious hours a day. It sure doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you look at 7 days a week = 28 hours.
Why should you make physical activity/working out 1 of those 4 hours or 4-6 of those 28 hours? Because health is something a lot of us take for granted.
And it’s only going to get tougher to “fit in”— which is sad that this is how a lot of us look at it. How can I squeeze a workout in-between all the other things I hold in higher regard than my own health?
Right now, I have zero responsibilities. I don’t even own a plant or a pet that I have to take care of! Or a house!
I imagine my life with kids, hectic schedules, a job without as much flexibility, and I realize that it’s only going to get tougher to prioritize exercise— and I want to emphasize the fact that it’s not just exercise.
It’s my HEALTH. It’s a scientifically proven FACT that you need at minimum 1 hour, 15 minutes a week of vigorous exercise or 2 hours, 5 minutes of moderate exercise (per CDC, per American Heart Association, etc.). Older adults need even more.
If I start now— start making exercise a habit, something I must do more days than not, and my health a priority—hopefully I’ll be better able to face those future challenges and conflicting responsibilities and priorities. I know I’m really lucky because my mom, who worked full-time, had three kids, and a husband who traveled more than half the year, somehow continued to make time for this in her life and really serves as an excellent role model for me. Sure, she struggled or had bad months, but I know from her example that it’s possible to “fit in” or prioritize exercise, along with family and work and social activities. Even if it means getting up at 5:00 a.m., or taking your kids to the track to play, or buying a jogging stroller. She was creative and “sacrificed” at times, but throughout her life, she kept at it.
Bottom line, if you want something bad enough, or if it means enough to you, you make time for it*. I used to have every excuse in the world. Now, I’ve realized that if you really want something — to be active, to be healthy, to be fit — you just do it. You may even change your life (a move, a career change, etc.) to figure out how to do it. I did! And that doesn’t mean becoming a gym junkie, or running half marathons I would just like to point out. Physical activity comes in a wide variety of forms (walking, hiking, biking, rock climbing, running after kids, etc.). Find one that works for you and that you enjoy.
1 hour of physical activity, four to six days a week. See if you can do it.
*(Quick note- I am NOT including those who struggle to make ends meet, or are single parents, or have other external and frankly unimaginable pressures confronting them. This is something our society needs to address, but that’s for another day. I’m talking to the majority of my white, young, moderate-income, 20-something friends. Yeah, you guys.)