How to fit exercise into your life

Someone asked me the other day, how do you for exercise into your life… more specifically, they asked:

‘I was going to ask, how do you fit exercise into your life, but I don’t imagine you fit it in. The rest of your life probably fits around that and work.’

That’s part of it, I have my necessaries: work, work and more work, sleep, eating and the usual, then I plan my exercise each week, and fit everything else in around that.

Exercise and activity is important to me, it is a very big part of who I am.

What’s more, I know what’s important to me, exercise and goal wise. Say training for an event, or focussing on strength work or running or swimming.

After I know what’s important to me, I plan my weekly training around any exercise or coaching I do with others… and I publish my plans on my blog.

Another part of it is that I’ve always been active, since I was small. My Dad brought me up that way. He was always walking to help maintain or lose weight, and he ate well too, but promoted the idea of everything in moderation, and don’t sweat the small stuff in life.

Then there’s ‘Fit Girl’, my other half, the person who supports me, is always there for me. Runs with me, trains with me, motivates me, and is even more active and motivated than me. When you live with someone like that it’s hard not to be active too!

I also use my blog as a journal and a way to plan my week and keep my focus. But there’s other ways you can do it too.

Here are my tips to enable you to fit exercise into your life:

1. Enter an event or set a long term goal
If you enter an event, or set yourself a goal, it can give you the motivation you might need to get out of bed and do the exercise you planned. Do it with others, get social or raise money for charity as part of your challenge.

It doesn’t need to be a marathon or massive goal, it can be a 5k or 10k or a long walk or swim, anything which you know you’ll need to train for to give you the best chance of completing it or doing your best at it.

See more about setting goals here:

2. Plan your exercise to fit in around your life
Look at your life and what it involves. Think about when you can realistically do exercise. When’s the best time of day, and days of the week?

After you’ve dropped the kids off at school? Before everyone else gets up, or when your partner comes in to free you up for an hour whilst they look after the kids?

I don’t have kids, but I prefer to train in the morning before work for a few reasons: 1. It wakes me up, gets it over with, and sets me up for the day, 2. I’m awake early anyway usually, 3. If I train at night I tend to be buzzed up / awake too late.

Another good reason to do it early us that you get it out of the way and can’t make up excuses not to do it the longer the day goes on: it’s raining, I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’ll do it another day.

I often walk to work after an early morning run, smug in the fact that I’ve already run 10 miles when everyone else was probably sleeping, and I feel great. 🙂

Everyone is different but we all have the same 24 hours a day and 7 fats a week. Surely we can fit in 3-5 hours of exercise in a week? 🙂 or even 30 minutes 3-5 times a week?

3. Set days for exercise and rest
Follow a plan (find a 5k, 10k or other training plan) and plan the days you’ll exercise:
– run days: tues, thu, sat,
– cross training or walking days: mon, sun.
– Rest days: wed, fri.

When I plan my week I tend to make it really full (up to 5 or 6 days) and them listen to my body and ralf more rest if needed (without guilt). Remember what’s important to your goal (ie 3 runs a week) and be ok drop some of the exercise.

If that doesn’t work, then plan as much rest as you’ll need and be strict with yourself about when your time to exercise will be. Make it a habit and do it on time, when you planned.

Here’s a 5k plan to get you started:

Make an appointment with becoming fit and healthy: Make an appointment with exercise.

And if your life is a bit higgledy piggledy, with shifts, travel or various child care issues throughout the week, this is where planning your exercise each week could work.

I travel with work sometimes, and I coach different days each week, so each week I have an idea of what I want to do, look at what I did the previous week, then plan my next week. You could do this in a book, journal or online.

I record most of my training in Garmin connect and blog about it here.

Here’s an example. I’m training or a marathon so I want to do 3-4 runs, including a long run, I’m coaching 2 nights (running) and I want to swim and do strength, my work is mon-fri.

Mon: AM strength, PM coaching 5 miles.
Tue: Swim
Wed: 9 mile run
Thu: AM strength, PM coaching 3 miles.
Fri: Rest
Sat: 20 mile long slow / social run
Sun: Rest

Remember rest days after long it hard workouts and change things / be flexible if your body needs a rest.

4. Journal or record what you’ve done
This blog started as a record of my exercise and weight loss journey. It allowed me to share with everyone my progress in three events I was training for, and acted as a journal for me to record how I was doing / feeling and how I was progressing.

And if you post online, I’m going for a run tomorrow morning, you kind of have to do it! (Unless you’re me and you lie in again! Oops).

You can also use your journal to keep a track of your goals and progress. Weight loss, measurements, distances, times, feelings, photos, motivational quotes, everything which follows your journey. It doesn’t have to be online, it can be paper based, but it all helps.

5. Exercise with a friend
This comes back to making appointments. You wouldn’t miss an appointment won’t your doctor if you were unwell, and you wouldn’t miss an appointment or meeting at work, so think of exercise as making an appointment to become fit and healthy.

When you exercise on your own, sometimes it can be easy to cop out of it and roll over to lie in (I know I do sometimes, especially when I’ve had an upset sleep or if I’m sore or tired from training the day before).

But if you arrange to meet a friend who has similar goals to yours, or a friend who you like to meet up with, you HAVE to get up to exercise. I’d much prefer to go for a nice easy chatty run with a friend than go on a speedy run on my own, any day of the week. 🙂

I don’t care how fast we go, but meeting a friend is the motivation I need sometimes to get my as out of bed, into my trainers and out for a great run. (And share your run, motivation, thoughts and feelings with someone else too!)

6. Get support from others
This is where partners and family and friends come in. If you want to take steps to get fit and healthy and change your life, ask those close to you to support you. It might mean they look after the kids a bit more often so you have time to yourself to exercise.

Or them simply making dinner a few nights a week or even going out running or training with you. Get them to support what you’re doing, whether it be to do with exercise, eating or changing your life.

Let your other half know why it’s important to you, and get them to be there for you.

7. Involve the family / make it social
Exercising doesn’t need to be just runs or trips to the gym. It can be great to involve the family in walks to the park, put the kids on scooters or a bike, or make it a social or family event. Join a club or a gym, or do classes at a gym.

The 5k park runs can be great ways to make it a social or family event. Kids in the park, mum goes running and meets them afterwards.

Or meet a group of friends and train for an event with them. Chat is great, and motivation levels can be great too when you’re meeting others or making it a family event.

Another thing you’ll be doing for your kids is setting an example and making exercise a normal and expected part of their life. You have the ability to set a great example and leave a legacy for your kids, the way my Dad has for me.

8. Raise money for charity or think of others who can’t exercise
To motivate myself and others, I came up with the idea of ‘Run an adventure’ for those who can’t. The idea came from sometimes when I just couldn’t be bothered. Then I thought of those who can’t run, or those who don’t choose to run.

Think of friends who are injured runners, or friends who are ill or unable to run. Do it for them, do it for you. See more here:

Then there’s raising money for charity. What better way to be motivated? Having people give towards a good cause to sponsor you to train and complete your challenge.

People are paying their well earned cash, so you’d better be motivated and you’d better get out that door to train. Think of all the good you’ll be doing for the charity, for your health and your waistline.

I’ve raised over £3500 for charities including breast cancer care, leukaemia care, Parkinson’s and brightest star. It’s such a prob sledge to be able to exercise and raise money like I have (and thanks to all those who have sponsored me in the past!)

My friends and I are running the Belfast marathon on 5th May for Brightest Star, if you’d like to sponsor us, please go here: 🙂

9. Think ‘activity’ not just exercise
I’ve talked about this a little above and in posts before: exercise doesn’t have to be ‘exercise’. It doesn’t have to be running or intense gym sessions.

It can be walking more, walking to the shop instead if taking the car. Playing with the family in the park. Taking the stairs more often, considering everything you do and think how you can become more active.

10. Remember what’s important to you
This applies to exercise and any goal you might have. What’s important to you in life?
– Your kids?
– Your health?
– Being a healthy weight?
– Being able to chase after and be there for you kids, now and in the future?
– Being able to go upstairs without getting out of breath?
– Achieving the unthinkable: running a 5k, 10k or half marathon?

If you’re feeling demotivated remember how good exercise can make you feel and go out whatever the weather. Wrap up to protect you from the elements, and keep your eye on your long term goals.

Keep your goals in the front of your mind, and remember why you started your journey.

Be motivated to do your best, and if you find yourself slipping into old habits again, start afresh tomorrow and get back on your journey to health. 🙂

I did it and I do it now, and you can too.

Finally, here are some posts I’ve done about how I ‘make time’ to exercise:

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1 Response to How to fit exercise into your life

  1. Pingback: Replacing bad habits with good ones | Lorn Pearson Trains…

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