For a simple way to improve your compliance with exercise and help get fit, schedule your activity.

Are you having a hard time getting to your exercises? Do you find yourself getting distracted by texts, calls, emails, interruptions, or (gasp!) mindless games on a device? If even a little bit of this is happening to you and you feel stiff or sore, frustrated about not getting enough exercise, or guilty about that huge sandwich and chips, there is hope. The trick is mostly in how you manage your time.

And, we all have the same amount of time. Really, no matter how rich or poor, old or young, we all have the same amount of time each day. So, when someone says they are too busy, don’t have time, or will do something in their free-time, what they are really saying is that activity is a low priority. Sometimes that is good, sometimes not. But don’t let these rote responses get in the way of what you really know and feel is important.

Getting distracted is another obstacle, and we all know distractions are not a priority, but they happen. Did you know that the “ding” or vibrate associated with a text releases dopamine into your system which in turn creates a seeking response to get more dopamine? Seriously, it’s in Psychology Today. We don’t intend to get sidetracked, but it’s addicting. And when it happens, we sometimes slide down the rabbit hole.

But, and it’s a big BUT, you can harness all this for good. You can use that same smart phone that gets you off track at times (Don’t toss it! We know it also serves some other great purposes.) to schedule your activity. You can set a reminder on the calendar so you get that pop-up and shot of dopamine. You can set different times on different days. If you set them to repeat every 2 weeks it can make it easy for you to schedule and also lessens the predictability. That way you don’t ignore the notifications that pop up at 9am each day.

And as for activities to do, we’ve got no shortage of ideas! Here are a few:

  • Do you have stairs in your house or building? Do 2-4 flights, and remember up uses 3x as much energy as down.
  • Can you park out at the end of the Target parking lot? How about picking up your walking pace just a little when you’re inside?
  • Do you see a hill and have 2 minutes before you have to get in the car? 4 minutes? We set the timer on our phone for half the time we have and walk away. When the timer goes off, we turn back. Just please, please, please don’t stare at the phone while you’re walking and crossing the street! No tripping or car vs pedestrian accidents!
  • Do you have a chair in your office or dining room? Chairs serve as a great place to do 5-10 squats, and that only takes 20 seconds. Seriously, we just timed ourselves, 10 squats < 20 seconds.

You get the point. Get moving. Feel better. Don’t wait for your battery to run out!  And realize that we all have the same amount of time. What you do with it is a reflection of your priorities.


Share your comments and activity ideas!
And here’s that link again to Psychology Today: