In Part 1 and Part 2 of this little series, we have covered how I discovered the value of a healthy lifestyle and then looked at some specific ways that a regular fitness routine can benefit your marriage.
Now after reading these articles, I know that you are completely fired up and ready to bust your bottom on your way to rock-hard abs and some buns of steel. You’ve pulled the Thighmaster out of the closet and found those vintage Jane Fonda workout tapes. Now what could possibly be standing in your way?
Ah, yes. You are thinking of all of the other things you have to do each day. Working, commuting, eating, bathing, graduate school, spending time with your kids, volunteer activities, reading, watching Biggest Loser, spending 15 minutes with your spouse and trying to fit in a few hours of (sex and) sleep each day or so. There is no way that a regular exercise plan can fit within your already busy day, right?
Wrong. This post is aimed at providing you with advice so you can fin d the time to improve your health and improve your marriage along the way. With the six tips below, I hope you will see that a traditional exercise routine like you may have in mind is not actually necessarily. The key to fitness, like the key to a great marriage, is to make it a priority and put your best effort forward.
Six Steps to a Happier, Healthier Life
1. Make Your Fitness a Priority
I hope that the first two parts of this series have lit a bit of a fire under your rear. Not only will your commitment to fitness help your health, but it will seriously improve your marriage.
The bottom line is you need to understand and feel the importance of physical activity, and I guarantee you can find the time. Let me put it to you this way: if I would give you one million dollars to exercise everyday for the next month while maintaining your primary roles (job, wife, mother, etc.), could you do it?
I bet you could! It would be a priority and you would make the necessary time.
2. Do a Time Audit
Spend a few days logging how you currently spend your time. I am willing to bet that you spend several hours each day doing mindless activities like watching T.V. or surfing the internet. While this may feel like recreation, many of these things are really just a waste of time (except for time spent on this site, that’s essential).
Ask yourself if you are better off at the end of the week for the time you have spent on each item in your time audit. This will point you to the time you could instead be devoting to a better you and a happier spouse.
3. Realize How Little Time is Really Required
How much time do you think you need to exercise each day? I’ve mentioned earlier that I was using P90X from Tony Horton and working out intensely for more than an hour six days a week. Is this what is needed?
No! I was very (probably overly) intense about shaping up and I took it to an extreme. Not incidentally, I also got burnt out after following my P90X routine and then moving to an intense cycling regimen. After getting lazy for several weeks, I am now back to a reasonable and maintainable routine.
Research has shown that you can achieve great benefits even if you cannot follow a routine that allows for all of your exercise to occur in one block of time each day. Couldn’t you find a few 10-15 minute periods in your day to be active?
4. Don’t Answer “No” to that Last Question!
Yes, you can find at least some small stints of time to be active. The average adult spends 16 hours watching T.V. each week. Spend 2-3 of those hours exercising instead. Heck, you can even use a treadmill, do some crunches, ride a stationary bike, hold yoga poses, etc. and get fit while you watch your favorite shows.
Find a little more time by going for a walk over your lunch break. Take the stairs. Park far away from the store when you run your errands. Spend some of your “kid time” in the evening going for a walk, playing tag, riding bikes or playing soccer. I bet your kids would be very happy to share this time with you.
5. Find a Time that Works & Schedule It
This is the key to consistency. If you make the effort, you can find the time to work out for a total of 30 minutes a day several times per week. I know you can and you know you can.
Now, you must make this part of your schedule. It’s no longer optional, it is a top priority each day that must be planned around. You want an awesome marriage, right?
For me, the best way to achieve this is to work out first thing in the morning. I am not a morning person and this takes some getting used to, but you will be amazed how great you feel the rest of the day after you have invested some time in your health. The best part is that you cannot find any excuses throughout the rest of the day to miss your workouts. Get up, get it done and enjoy a great day!
6. Do Something YOU Enjoy
You may love the feel of polyester leotards and rainbow ankle warmers, which would probably make you a great candidate for those Jane Fonda VHS tapes I mentioned earlier. Perhaps you love the oldies, sweatin’ to them, and small, shiny-legged gay men. Clearly, Mr. Simmons will motivate you.
For those of you who are not overly strange, I would suggest you do something you really enjoy. For me, this means riding my bike on our area trails before work in the morning. My wife loves to take a jog around the neighborhood in the evening before it gets dark. Maybe you like to visit a gym environment, play some pick-up basketball, chase the kids around the yard, jump on a backyard trampoline, chat with friends while you climb stairs over lunch or go for a family hike over the weekend.
Just think of the possibilities, especially those that you can enjoy with your spouse. You can invest in the health of your marriage while you spend some quality time together…you simply cannot beat that!
I really hope that this series has helped open your eyes to see the need for fitness in your married life, and I hope that you can now see some ways to implement a reasonable exercise routine into your already busy life. Please leave comments with your own thoughts and suggestions so we can all expand our thinking on this incredibly important topic.
Do it for your spouse. Or better yet, do “it” with your spouse since that is also great exercise!
Photos 1 &3 courtesy of kevindooley; Photo 2 courtesy of bobster855