We all know we need to move our bodies in order to maintain good health, and the management of your own exercise is up to each individual to do for themselves. Problems come when there is no clear guide, time frame or direction, which often means it won’t get done. I want to show you how to work out the best time to exercise for you and how to get started today.
We want a guide, some rules to follow, or someone to tell us what to do or when the best time to exercise will be. If you really want to know when that is for you, let’s work it out. First, shake off the expectations of when you think you should exercise, the times that you have been hoping to but haven’t yet.
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We are often told mornings are the best time to exercise. But it’s not always possible, is it? Either we can’t or we won’t, either way, we easily throw exercise out the window when we don’t have a plan in place. Exercise doesn’t come naturally to some people, this is me, going to the gym feels like work. I can find ways out of it like when I don’t want to clean the bathroom. We have to first take away the questions so we can move on to action.
FIRST YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO
What do you want to do with your body exactly?
Ask yourself ‘What is my primary reason for exercise?’ This may help you decide what you will do.
If you want to run 5K or half marathon one day, then jogging/running is going to be your choice.
If you want to be more flexible or have better core strength, then it’s Pilates or Yoga.
Maybe you need the motivation of an aerobics or spin class at the gym?
If what you really want is to get outdoors and breathe fresh air then jogging, cycling or walking might be your options.
Maybe you are keen to join a sports club because you love being in a team and exercise feels easier that way?
If you can find an exercise buddy then this might determine what you will be doing?
What does your body need and what do you enjoy doing?
I love walking. But I also need the accountability of classes for harder more intense work.
There are plenty of things you could do, but you must choose. WHAT?
SECOND, WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR YOU TO EXERCISE IN THIS SEASON?
When do you have free time in your day to exercise? Not when you use to back in the day, or what your sister does, when do you feel you would have time in this stage of your life?
Are you fresher first thing? Maybe you’re up early and you’re just wasting time when you could get out for a bike ride.
A lot of people love to work out at night, after dinner, even what I would call late, like 10 pm. That might work for you?
When can you fit it in that makes the most sense to you and your life?
Draw out an average week for yourself and see when there are spaces that you know might work.
In my experience, different seasons have different needs and options. For a few years, I had a sister who lived nearby and we got up super early and walked together. For a while I was going to the gym in the afternoon with a 3 pm deadline before I picked up kids from school, this was best because my husband was deployed at the time. There have also been seasons when even though I hated getting up, going to the gym in the morning was the only time that worked.
What is YOUR season right now? When do you have a spare 30 minutes to an hour? (Please note that if you don’t have any time spare at all, then you possibly have a different problem than just lack of exercise). We know we have to find the time to look after ourselves, it is a reasonable expectation.
I often have to leave my family late afternoon and get back in time for us to have dinner together. Either I prepare our meal in advance and husband finishes it off or husband cooks the nights I go to the gym. That works for us because my husband goes to the gym during his work day.
There are ways around not having a lot of time, and often you just have to be ok with not being able to do everything yourself. Lack of time has been one of my main excuses over the years because honestly, there aren’t enough hours most days. I have had to take 10 steps back to realise that I don’t need to be available to my family and others 24/7, I can tap out for an hour or two and take care of me once a day, and that’s absolutely fine!
Remember, it’s better to make time to be healthy rather than being forced to spend time sick. (quote on a nurses wall)
1st: WHAT WILL YOU DO? What is your personal goal, struggle, a weakness that you would like to work on first?
2nd: WHEN WILL YOU DO IT? You will need an hour max. FIND the time in the days of the week you would like to exercise. Search for it.
My hope is that you will be encouraged to work with the time, energy and options you have right now. You have to decide what that will be and when.
Now all you have to do is do it, and that can be an entirely separate issue, but if you know you need exercise, and now you know what and when the best time to exercise is, you have taken away all the question marks and created a smoother path for yourself to get it done.