Wouldn’t it be nice to walk during a quick break at work, or in the evening with your family, allowing you to clear your head and return to work or some other activity feeling refreshed and not fidgety? Or how about the pleasant feeling that comes with finishing a workout that leaves you ready to take on the world as you shower off a light sheen of sweat to freshen up? But, you don’t have the time for either of these things, even though most health officials state that everyone should do something physical at least 20 minutes each day.
I read a blog entry this morning from a friend of mine, Jill Andre Parker, on the other side of the country. (Well almost. Colorado is still pretty far from south Florida.) In her blog she described how some co-workers were holding a “biggest loser” contest amongst themselves, and since she is very fit (and a certified trainer) they requested her help in making plans. On the first weigh-in many of them made excuses why they had let their fitness slide, with many of them using the excuse of “no time”.
In this hustle-bustle world who can argue that our time seem shorter and shorter each day? I know I also find myself in a jam for a few more minutes on many occasions. My typical day starts around 4:30 or 5:00 AM with breakfast and my morning runs, then I fight to get into bed by 9:30 each day so I get plenty of sleep and can function at 100% the next day.
Perhaps getting the proper amount of sleep would solve the problem of time for many? I know that if I do not get a good nights sleep it is impossible to have a fully productive day when I wake feeling groggy. For years I would justify going to bed late because I had something very important I “had to get done now”. Then fell into a vicious cycle of getting less and less done each day, causing me to stay up later and later to play catch up. When I started getting enough sleep, I magically found I get much more done each day. Of course I still don’t get everything done, that is impossible with the loads we take on these days, but I do get much more accomplished.
Another reason many have trouble finding time to workout is because it is painful to workout. Subconsciously we find other things to do that are less painful, yet time consuming. Humans are lazy creatures that learn best through pain. If something hurts enough, it will most likely deter you from doing it again. This is why spanking works so well with children, when done properly and not out of anger, after scolding and grounding doesn’t work. (I won’t go further since I know many have their own philosophy on this, and it is not the topic for this blog entry.)
Things do not change as we get older, and pain management becomes an important part of why we do the things we do. How much pain we can tolerate dictates many of our actions as pain becomes a mental anguish and not just a physical one. This means that the more comfortable and lazy we make life for ourselves, the lower our pain threshold is and the fatter we become.
In the book Born To Run by author Christopher McDougall he describes how men used to run down their prey for hours before the animals would simply die of exhaustion, allowing the people to feast. No spears, arrows, guns, etc. existed yet so men used what they had to survive and live. These days we simply go to the corner market and pick up our food. Imagine if that 230 pound man or woman strolling down the isles in the store had to chase down their food like our ancestors. (Yes, 230 pounds is not obese, but it is still heavier than most should be.) The average American is 1 inch taller, but a whopping 25 pounds heavier than they were in 1960 when we used to weigh in at 166. (For women the difference is 29 pounds!)
I have heard others say many times they were not built to run, or they cannot run because of knees or ankles or feet. The pain makes it easier to quit instead of finding a solution that enables them to workout. Yet others point to professional athletes and how many injuries they get from running, as they completely overlook the fact that most people only run a fraction of what a professional puts in. Do they really think 5 or 10 miles per week will yield the same injuries as a professional running 50 to 100?
For some, workout out is a matter of priorities and personal perception of what is mandatory. I am asked all the time how I can workout the way I do, and run the amounts that I run. On the other hand in my mind I am wondering how someone can’t do these things. In my mind I must workout and I must run. Of course I don’t have to run the distances I do, and I am enjoying my newly found appreciation for long distance running. However, running has been a priority for me all of my life, and I cannot imagine going through life without doing it.
Running is my freedom, my downtime/alone-time, my accomplishment, my struggle, my pain. It gives me time to contemplate things as I push my body another mile while putting one foot after the other to expand my capability a little more with each run. Because of this, and more, it is something I “must” do.
Think of the things in your mind that you “must” do, and ask yourself honestly if you really “must” do it? If the answer is “yes” then look at the next thing. If the answer is “no” you may have just found the time to workout. Or you could be in the same boat as me, where I could not find the time and adjusted my schedule a bit. Instead of waking at 6:30 for work each day I simply started waking earlier on those days when I “must” run.