In the UK, one of the top news stories on the BBC today is a report on the findings from recent medical research that “inactivity” is as killing as many people as smoking. Being sedentary is what’s known as “risk factor” for many serious diseases including heat disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and dementia.
So, how much exercise do you need to do? And how do you start if you don’t currently do much exercise? Well, you should really be aiming to be active for around one hour per day. But if you’re not used to exercise, twenty minutes is enough to get going (after a few weeks, you’ll be fit enough to do an hour a day). What kind of exercise? It couldn’t be easier – go for a brisk walk. That’s all it needs to be. Walking is a really great exercise for weight loss, and for cardiovascular fitness. You can do it every day without fear of injury.
Of course, you really need to combine that with healthy eating too. The truth is, it’s very easy to “out-eat” your exercise – that means eating too much food, and/or eating unhealthy food.
Now, are you one of those people that would like to exercise, but can’t? Perhaps you’re too busy, and just don’t have time to fit in 20 minutes exercise per day, and certainly you don’t have time to fit in an hour of exercise per day? Well, I don’t mean to be rude, but what a cliche 😉 Read the comments on any on-line tabloid story about a celebrity being in good shape. You’ll see someone saying, “Well, if I had their money, and all the time in the world, I’d be in good shape too.”
It’s nonsense. The main thing to realize about not having time for exercise is this. If you truly believe you’re too busy to exercise, you’re in denial. Let me guess… You have time to eat excess quantities of food. You have time to drink a bottle of wine or a few beers. You have time to go shopping to buy food. You have time to watch twenty minutes of TV. You have time to browse the web. You have time to sit on your backside doing not very much or chatting to people. You have time to go to Starbucks.
The real reason you don’t have time to exercise is that you don’t make time to exercise. People that exercise make it a priority. You can make it a priority too, if you want. Having said all that, of course, many people are busy. If that’s the case, it’s worth considering that you don’t need to do all the exercise in a single block. You can split it up into several shorter periods of exercise. Or even better, get out of bed earlier, and fit in your exercise before you start work.
Are you really saying you can’t go for a twenty minute walk before work. Or you can’t go for a twenty minute walk after work? Or a ten minute walk on your lunch break, and a ten minute walk after work?
If you don’t have time for that, I assume you don’t have time to drink a glass of wine or a beer. I assume you don’t have time to even switch the TV on, let alone watch it. I assume you don’t have time to ever lie in bed after 7am, because you’re so busy you have to be at your desk before 7.30am. I assume you never finish work before 9pm at night. I assume you never have time to make a phone call to a friend.
So, at least be honest with yourself. If you think you don’t have time for exercise, at least admit it’s because you don’t really want to exercise… perhaps because it’s not as enjoyable as the other things you spend your time doing. The only thing I can tell you is this – if you can just force yourself to get in the habit of doing a little bit of exercise every day, you’ll soon begin to enjoy it. Why not set yourself a personal challenge to try doing a just little exercise today? Even if it’s only ten minutes.