You probably think you’d exercise more if you
could find the time. For years, even experts believed that busy schedules were
a major obstacle.
However, a recent study discovered that the
average adult has at least 5 hours of free time each day that they could be
spending exercising instead of perusing their phone.
Maybe you think you're an exception because
you have small children or work long hours. However, the study by the Centers
for Disease Control and Rand Corporation included such lifestyles. Maybe you
suspect that the researchers forgot how much time you need for tasks like
cooking and grooming, but they covered that too.
Managing your time more effectively could
help you shape up. Try these suggestions for cutting
down on screen time and exercising more.
Cutting Down on Screen Time
You can set reasonable limits on technology
and still have plenty of time to make phone calls and watch Netflix. Current
guidelines recommend 150 minutes of exercise each week for adults, which works
out to about a half hour 5 days a week.
Try these tips to limit your
- Track your time. In order
to make positive changes, you’ll need to know how you spend your time now.
Browse online for free apps or use a paper journal.
- Disable notifications. Visit
social media and other sites once a day instead of responding to each
update. You may also want to remove time wasting apps from your phone.
- Prioritize sleep. Set a
curfew for your devices. Turn them off at least 2 hours before bed to
prevent the light and mental stimulation from interfering with your sleep.
- Eat mindfully. Do you rely
on your phone for entertainment during meals? You may eat less and enjoy
your food more if you pay attention to what you’re consuming. Family
dinners and lunch hours can also be opportunities to connect with others.
- Be selective. Turn the
TV on only when there is something specific that you want to watch. Save
binge watching for the most extraordinary programs.
- Find other hobbies. It will
be easier to cut back on screen time if you have other activities planned.
In addition to exercise, you could travel, read more, or go back to
Why are you posting photos on Instagram
instead of going to the gym? The
solution probably has more to do with motivation than with your schedule.
Use these techniques to fit more
exercise into your day:
- Remember your purpose.
Focus on your personal reasons for exercising. You may want to lower your
blood pressure without medication or feel more energetic.
- Develop habits. Make exercise automatic, so you can
avoid the temptation to skip a session. Wake up an hour early to start
your day with a run or sign up for an ongoing weekly Tai Chi class.
- Find enjoyable activities.
Design workouts that are pleasurable for you. That might mean playing
tennis or climbing mountains.
- Invite a friend. Look for a
workout buddy who will share encouragement and laughs with you. For more
socializing, participate in group classes and online fitness forums.
- Set goals. If you’re
becoming bored with the same routine, set challenges for yourself. You
could create weekly targets for lifting more weight or train for a
- Move while browsing. What
if you know you’re spending 5 hours a day online, and you plan on keeping
it that way? You can still become more active by streaming fitness
videos to exercise with or riding a stationary bike when you’re on the
You do have enough time to exercise. Being
more mindful about the hours you spend online can help you turn fitness into a
lifelong habit that will make you happier and healthier.