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Writing Across the Curriculum

 

Holloway Hall

“Finding” Time to be Active in Your Busy Schedule
Lisa Mealey
Exercise Science Department

How many times have you said, “I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day”? Our professional lives are so busy with lectures to prep, classes to teach, research to conduct, office hours to hold, committee meetings to attend and students to advise – not to mention the demands of a busy personal life. With such jam-packed days, many of us put health on the back burner. It’s now time to get out of your chair, leave your desk, close your laptop and become as committed to your health as you are to your professional life!

Let’s set the record straight, there’s no magic pill to finding time to exercise in your busy schedule; even though we all wish there was! But that’s ok because you didn’t take a magic pill to get where you are professionally either. You dedicated your time and energy to get there and it was a process; just like being active daily will be a process that’ll take dedication, commitment, motivation and sacrifice.

There are several keys critical to fitting exercise into your daily schedule. The most central is making exercise a priority, just as you do your career. Most say they don’t have time to exercise—believing they’re just too busy. But, if something’s a priority, you find time. Making exercise a part of your day starts with making it important to you. Make the commitment to be active and follow through no matter what. Don’t let anything stand in your way. And hold yourself accountable to this commitment. Schedule time on your daily calendar and stick to this personal “appointment”. You would never blow off class, a committee meeting or advising appointment would you? Like any other commitment, set a reasonable, reachable goal and outline steps you’ll take to reach this goal. Once a priority in your life, it’s time to think about ways to build exercise into your day. And the possibilities are endless!

This brings us to the second key: redefining your definition of exercise. Many think of exercise as running five miles, hitting the gym or training for a triathlon. Even though this is exercise, it’s not the only way to exercise. As long as you’re doing something that makes your heart beat faster and you breathe harder, you’re being active to improve your health! Whether mowing the lawn, taking a bike ride, hiking, dancing, going for a brisk walk or climbing a flight of stairs, you’re being active. So refocus your notion of exercise to the idea of lifestyle activity. Think about where you can fit more activity into your daily routine—and then do it!!!

Lastly, start small and build bigger. Begin by just doing something–ANYTHING–for 10 minutes. This can be as simple as taking the stairs, parking further away from the supermarket or walking your dog. What’s most important is building a regular habit of doing some kind of daily activity. Once a habit, you’re more likely to find time in your busy schedule to fit it in. You’d never get up in the morning without brushing your teeth or getting dressed would you? And do you think about doing these things? Nope, because they’re things you’ve done every day from the time you were young; things you don’t have to think about doing, you just do. Being active can become this second nature. It stops being the thing you have to make time for, and starts being the thing you look forward to making time for. How do I know? I’m living proof. Every morning, without hesitation, I wake up, lace up my sneakers and go for a run. It’s such a habit that I don’t feel right if I skip a day.

It will, however, require commitment. You may have to get up 45 minutes earlier in the morning, give up a favorite TV show, or squeeze a walk in during your lunch hour or coffee break, but when committed to something that’s a priority, you’ll do WHATEVER it takes. Think about how you feel after you’ve been active. It’s ALWAYS worth it! Remember, it doesn’t matter how or when you’re active, it only matters that you are! So, schedule time in your busy day to be active and do whatever it takes to keep this “appointment”! There’s no time like the present to make activity a priority in your life!
 

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