Why There Is No Good Reason Not to Fit Fitness into Your Life

Lt. Col. James Coughlin conducts warmup exercises during the Keesler Dragons Family Running Club practice at the Triangle Track, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. (Kemberly Groue/U.S. Air Force photo)
Lt. Col. James Coughlin conducts warm-up exercises during the Keesler Dragons Family Running Club practice at the Triangle Track, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Do you really not have enough time in your day to exercise?

Too many times, people say, "I need to exercise, but I do not have enough time in the day." Or, when they do have the time, they only have the energy to lie down and watch TV.  Whether you are travelling, working late hours, or at home dealing with work, family and after-school events, the schedule below or some version of it will help you get over the hump.

Exercise is anything other than sleeping or sitting. Even when you are on the floor flat on your back or stomach, you can work the torso with abdominal or back exercises. The push-up is a great "lying down" exercise, and an abdominal crunch is just a little bit harder than sleeping. An hour a day is a nice goal to achieve to increase your fitness level and overall health, but even 10-15 minutes is better than nothing and beneficial, too. 

Fit Fitness into Your Life

A little humor from "Today's Cartoon by Randy Glasbergen", displayed with special permission. Please visit Randy's site @ www.glasbergen.com

Fitting fitness into a day is a challenge we all face.

Exercising is tough after long hours of working at home, office or on the road, but Americans still need to work out. We are creating a generation of people who are obese and have other preventable health disorders.

Many people who struggle to fit fitness into their schedule actually do a better job at getting the job done if they take 15-20 minutes before starting work for the day and 15-20 minutes after work is done for the day. Even if that exercise is a simple walk before breakfast and after dinner, a 15- to 20-minute walk at each of these times can help you burn calories that only wind up getting stored as fat. In fact, after any meal, a light walk and some calisthenics will help you to be more energized and ready to do whatever.

Here is a busy-day schedule I typically do when long days appear:

  • 6 a.m.: Early wakeup to get 20-30 minutes of some form of cardio done, like running, biking, swimming. If on the road, find a pool in a hotel to really wake up for the day.

  • 7 a.m.: Eat breakfast. (See Lean-Down Food Plan)

  • 8 a.m.: Work

  • 10:00 a.m.: Work. Eat a snack.

  • 12:30 p.m.: Eat lunch.

  • 1:15 p.m.: Walk a few minutes.

  • 1:30 p.m.: Work.

  • 4 p.m.: Work. Eat a snack.

  • 6 p.m.: Break for dinner.

  • 7 p.m.: Walk or lift weights or PT.

  • 8 p.m.: Continue work until midnight, if needed

When I have to work 15- to 18-hour days, I like to get a cardio workout completed the first thing in the morning. This wakes me up fully, and I am ready to handle the day ahead. Then eat a good breakfast full of protein, carbohydrates and plenty of water. 

Pack a snack for about mid-morning, like an apple, orange, cup of yogurt or a nutrition bar. This will help you from being a ravenous eater at lunch if eating in a restaurant. For lunch, have a green leafy salad with some form of lean meat like chicken or fish or boiled eggs. Then take a 10- to 15-minute walk to help keep the metabolism going for the afternoon. Afternoon working is much easier if you lay off the breads and simple sugars, instead focusing on eating protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber-rich foods.

After working the rest of the day, break for a medium-sized dinner and try to squeeze in a short workout of weights, calisthenics or, if you do not have those options, just walk again. But I find a lifting session or PT gives me the second wind I need to keep working or playing with the family.

I hope these tips will be of use to you, as they are common issues seen today.  Remember that something is better than nothing, so at least get out and walk a few times a day.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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