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Exercise? I just don’t have the time….

Rush

Recently, I put out a request to my friends on Facebook and twitter to give me ten minutes of their time a day for seven days. What I needed was simple, the total time spent each day undergoing a number of activities closest to the nearest half hour. I got a great response and had ten people take part in sending me the data. First and foremost, I want to thank those people. You all know who you are, so, thank you!

The activities in question were;

  • Sleeping
  • Working/Study/College
  • Housework (Cleaning, shopping for both clothes and food)
  • Food/Body Prep (Showering, cooking, dressing etc)
  • Travelling too/from work
  • Listening to music/Reading(not including any of this you may do on your Commute)
  • Exercise (Running/gym/stretching/mobility)
  • Watching TV/DVD’s/
  • Social events (cinema included)
  • Family Time

The reason why I wanted this information is simple. To see just how big of a part health and exercise plays in people’s lives. This is why it was imperative that I got people from various stages and styles of life to send me the data. It helps make sure the data is as general and as close to the “Average” as possible.

The people participating included College students, new graduates, self-employed people, parents (of both new Born’s and young teens) and of course both people who exercise and people who don’t. All in all I’m satisfied that the data is coming from a range of diverse backgrounds and shows a true average (as true as a week-long set of data can provide) which will allow for assumptions to be made.

The summary of data collected is displayed below;

Total: Total number of hours over the total number of days.
Average: Total hours divided by the number of days worth of data in the collection.
Average Work Day: Average time spent at each, only taking people’s work days into account (IE: No weekends or days off work included)
Average Weekly: Average number of hours everyone spends on each activity over 7 days.

So, how exactly should we interpret this data? Well for starters, the first thing I noticed was the length of time people spend watching TV each week. Nearly 20 hours a week, with the average working out at close to 3 hours each day. However, this made me think. The majority of my TV watching time is at the weekend when I’m not working. I could easily clock up to 6 hours a day on a Saturday catching up on shows and watching a film or two. To combat this, I then just looked at the data for the days where people were in work and seen how that changed things.

On these days the average person is working about seven and a half hours a day, gets eight hours sleep a night, and still spending 2 hours and 45 minutes in front of the box. Its even worse if you take it that this average person doesn’t exercise and isn’t going for a pint on this particular day (remove the time spent exercising and at social events). This gives us an extra 2 hours to play with in the evenings after work.

Now of course, this could be time spent with the family, showering or cooking, but more than likely it will be spent watching some more TV. If this is the case were looking at just under 5 hours a night sitting on our back sides watching some small squares change from red to blue to green.

So here’s where the take home point comes in, and the reason I did all this. Often times I hear people say they don’t work out or exercise because they “just don’t have the time”, “Wouldn’t know where to start” or “have injuries that stop me from exercising”. Often times this is complete and utter bull. I’m yet to find that when questioning someone about how they spend their time that they don’t have the time to spend 45 minutes, three days a week at some sort of exercise.

However, that’s not to say that these people know it’s all lies. It’s very easy to lose track of time spent doing things when you’re not actually tracking it. One thing that I’ve learned from this is that people really don’t know how long they spend doing things, among which includes watching TV. This leads them to believe that they honestly don’t have the time to exercise each week.

So here’s what I propose you all do. Track the time you spend doing each of the above activities over the space of a week. Actually study how you spend your time and I promise you will find that you can spare 2 hours and 15 minutes (three 45 minute workouts) a week, just by cutting out TV time alone. I am more than willing to help with this, and can send on either an Excel spread sheet or google doc with all the formulas built-in already.

In terms of people not knowing where to even start when it comes to exercise, I also have a solution to that. I am personally willing to hold small group or individual one on one sessions with any one of you out there that is interested in getting started in improving your health. Be that either through diet alone, or diet and exercise together. I am willing to travel anywhere in the country to do this if it’s a small group and can do it for individuals over Skype, or travelling to them either.

I will admit I am not a trained professional, I am not certified and I most certainly do not know everything when it comes to this stuff. What I do know however is where to start and whats really important and I’m willing to spend hours answering any questions you all have. I am genuinely interested in making people’s lives better in any way I can and I feel that this is one way in which I can really help.

So to sum up, here’s what I propose;

  • Start by documenting your hours for a week using the headings above. I can give you the excel file if required
  • Work out just how much time you are spending watching TV or wasting. From that I’m sure you will find that you have time to get a few workouts a week in!
  • If you don’t know where to start, get onto me and I’ll get you on the right track.
At the end of the day, if you really want to be healthier, you have to find the time for it!

Comments

Caoimhe says:

Send me the excel file! I want to play this game. Although I would like to make a small point; I like watching TV/surfing the web/listening to music/wasting time at the end of a hard day in work – it helps me relax and unwind, which I think is important. That said, I'm gyming it 2-3 times/week and running 2-3 times extra a week so I'm probably not in the 'give up the TV' target market!

Shane says:

I was really hoping some one would make that point. Tv, music and the internet are all great. Music especially so. They help us mentally unwind and get our heads and lives out of work mode. Mental health is something that is very much affected by the amount of relaxation of this kind we give our selves and it can also have knock on effects onto other things. Things like productivity, creativity and even physical things like gains in the gym and the strength of our immune system. Mental relaxation is something that is very important. TV is great for this. Looking back at the numbers, my numbers in particular, I spent a total of 30 hours watching TV, listening to music and browsing the web this week. I have absolutely no bad feelings about this high number and do not plan on changing it. Why? Because I also had 11 hours creating and cooking healthy meals (Every meal I had this week was made from fresh vegetables and meat, no pre-made stuff at all) and 5 and a half hours doing some form of exercise or mobility work (only 3 hours of this was actually in the gym.)The issue is, people give this mental form of relaxation 100% of there free time. Absolutely no time is given to the health of there physical bodies. They don't walk, they dont get up and move, they dont lift heavy things or run/jog at speed. There not testing the limits of there bodies. The negative effects of this are much, much, MUCH worse then missing out on 3 hours mental relaxation a week.A solid and frequent mobility routine has been proven outright to help prevent, and in some cases even reverse, joint pain, muscle pain and arthritis. Walking, running and joging (although not a major staple in my exercise routine) further helps blood flow to muscles, clearing out waste products that build up and also reduces cortisol (Stress hormone that when in a constant systematically elevated state, which is usually the case in most these days, causes body wide inflammation, which has a direct link to deseases such as parkinson's, cancer and heart disease). Resistance training, such as body/strength building, yoga, etc can elevate testosterone, reduce oestrogen and also reverse the effects of insulin sensitivity (the issue diabetics have). Not only that, but having an incresesd muscle mass will allow for a reduction in body fat, and for more food to be eaten before we go into "overeating" calories.Overall, I do not mean to slate TV or any form of passive relaxation. What I do worry about however is the fact that people have little or no worries or drive to do this for their physical bodies, despite the fact that it is just as important! Tv and the likes should be treated like McDonalds. A Perfect part of life, so long as its part of a balanced lifestyle (Diet in the case of mcDonalds).

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