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How to Find Time to Exercise and Lose Weight

Updated on August 9, 2011
Finding Time to Exercise
Finding Time to Exercise | Source

Losing weight is something most people want to do. And getting fit is what we all need to do to optimize our health. The key to both is to find the time to exercise and lose weight. It takes both motivation and a good plan to be successful. Here are some strategies that can help you find the time to exercise and lose weight.

Look for Ways to Combine Activities

Dance while cleaning and work out while watching TV. Walk more quickly when you're shopping or out and about. By incorporating moderately intense physical activity with normal tasks you'll be able to find time to exercise and lose weight.

Watch Fewer TV Programs and Movies

American adults average four hours of TV viewing per day. That's not counting the time spent surfing the net. That seems like an amazing amount of sedentary, passive, and self-indulgent behavior. No wonder there is an obesity epidemic! Cut at least an hour a day out of watching TV and movies and use it to exercise. That is a solid way to find time to exercise and lose weight.

Exercise Daily in Several Smaller Segments

You can probably easily fit in three or more 10 to 15-minute bouts of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a day. Every time you need a break from work or household routine, make it an exercise break. You will be getting fitter, burning fat and adding muscle, and muscle is much more attractive than fat. These small breaks are a good way to find time to exercise and lose weight. The minimum amount of continuous aerobic exercise recommended at a time is 10 minutes.

Get Up 30 Minutes Earlier

This won't be easy for many people, but if you can get up 30 minutes earlier and exercise for 30 minutes or more each morning, you will be in better control of your fitness and health. Of course, you should then go to bed a half hour earlier than you do now. This time shifting will help you find time to exercise and lose weight. Try it!

Set Goals

You should set specific, realistic goals for both exercise volume and weight loss by a certain date. You should have intermediate as well as final goals. Examples of such goals include:

  • Work up to 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) on five or more days of the week by the end of three months. This amounts to 150 minutes (2.5 hours) or more of cardio each week.
  • Work up to 60 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) on five or more days of the week by the end of six months. This amounts to 300 minutes (5 hours) or more of cardio each week
  • Perform two strength training sessions a week using each of the major muscle groups (legs, hips, chest, back, abdomen, shoulders and arms), working up to two or three sets of eight to ten exercises within six weeks.
  • Perform at least two flexibility (stretching) sessions per week once muscles are thoroughly warmed up from cardio work.

Establishing written goals like these that you can review every day is a great way to keep motivated and efficiently find time to exercise and lose weight.

Make a Plan

You need both aerobic (cardio) exercise and strength (weight) training. Plan to incorporate both into a practical plan that you will actually implement. The most important form of exercise to reduce your risk of premature death and lower your chances of contracting a chronic medical condition is aerobic (cardio) exercise. Many years of research have proven that you can affect these probabilities favorably through 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Although there are no guarantees for any given individual, reducing risks by getting and keeping fit is the rational strategy.

As with the goals above, your plan should include aerobic activity and strength training, incorporating specific times and days for each. You need to plan your physical activity and then work your plan in order to effectively find time to exercise and lose weight.

Review and Update Your Plan Regularly

If your plan doesn't work out right away, keep adjusting it until it does. Even if it does appear to be working, review your plan at regular intervals, such as monthly, to make sure that you are on track to achieve your goals. You can modify either your goals or your plan to avoid getting discouraged and to keep making progress. These periodic reviews will help you to continue to find time to exercise and lose weight. Of course you will have to keep written records of your physical activity in order to track progress and evaluate your plan. Seeing real progress should help keep you motivated as well.

Take Advantage of Readily Available Resources and Support

One way to save yourself time is to connect with experts and support networks to help avoid false starts and wasted efforts. Read all you can on the subjects of fitness and weight loss from credible sources, particularly the Federal Government - see the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); see other established sources like the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Heart Association, the Mayo Clinic, etc.

Focus on Modifying Eating Behavior, Too

It's too hard to lose a significant amount of weight by exercise alone. Changing what you eat, how much you eat, and how often you eat is also necessary. But the priority is to get fit, then concentrate on losing fat.

The best book on diet and weight loss that I'm aware of is the 2010 Mayo Clinic Diet for Healthy Weight Loss. See the link below for a Hub I wrote on the Mayo Clinic's Plan.

How to Follow The Mayo Clinic Diet for Healthy Weight Loss

Important Tips

  • Eat smaller portions of most things but increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Walk more and walk more briskly.
  • Getting fit is more important to your health than reaching your ideal weight. Even large amounts of exercise may not get rid of that last 10 to 20 pounds you'd like to lose if you're older.
  • Get fit and stay fit to have the best chance of a long and healthy life.
  • If you get off track for a while don't give up! Get back on your plan as soon as possible. Persistence is key.
  • It's never too late to start the exercise habit.
  • Obtain your doctor's approval before beginning any exercise or weight loss program. Try to make your doctor a partner in your plan.
  • Don't overdo it. If you have been inactive for a while then work up to your goals gradually.


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