We can't make time but we can make the most of it - 6 ways to squeeze exercise into your day

Even those with the most demanding of jobs can find time for exercise, writes running coach John O’Regan.

THE ANNUAL RUN in the Dark event is taking place on Wednesday 16 November in Dublin, Cork, Belfast and 52 other cities around the world.

Ahead of this year’s edition, coach John O’Regan will be bringing us some running advice in the build-up. This week, we take a look at time management.


Not enough hours in the day to do all you want to do? Exercising for 60 minutes per day can seem time-consuming especially when we feel that we don’t have those 60 minutes to spare, but when you think about it, 60 minutes is a very small portion of the 1440 minutes available in a day.

Now I know that the majority of those minutes are spent working, commuting and sleeping but if you look closely you’ll soon discover that a lot of our daily minutes are actually wasted.

Getting yourself organised and a bit of forward planning could make your day a bit more productive.

Not having enough time is probably the most used excuse for not exercising but the reality is we all have the time and it’s more a matter of priorities and how much you value your health.

Even those with the most demanding of jobs find time to fit exercise into their daily routine as they realise the harm that the lack of exercise can do and more importantly they realise the benefits gained from including some form of daily exercise.

We can’t make time but we can make the most of it.

You’ve heard it said that time is money and if you think of it in that way then you might be less likely to waste it.

If you do an audit of your typical day and week you should find that windows of opportunity do exist but we have allowed them to close and with a little bit of strategic planning we can re-open them.

1. The running commute

Do you live within a reasonable distance from work? If yes, then you could try the occasional run to work as this is a very time efficient way to fit in your training.

If this is inconvenient due to lack of showering facilities then you could try running home. I find that the run home can be invigorating and helps to clear your head rather than falling asleep on a bus or train leaving you feeling lethargic for the rest of the evening.

shutterstock_146015186 Shutterstock / Maridav Shutterstock / Maridav / Maridav

2. Reclaim your lunch hour

Do you have access to shower facilities in work? If yes, then it should be possible to fit in a time- based session to ensure you always finish and have time for lunch.

It’ll take a few attempts to get into a routine and work out potential routes but it won’t be wasted time. As an example, you could run out for 15 minutes and then turn and retrace your steps.

3. Look for windows of opportunity

We all need some downtime but there’s also wasted time. Do you drop the kids to football practice or similar and wait around for them to finish or drive home only to go out again?

Is there a particular programme on TV that you try avoid but your partner watches? There are many other similar examples.

4. Keep travel to a minimum

A run can start from anywhere so rather than wasting time driving to a start point just start from where you are. The travel time can sometimes be as long or longer than the actual run time. This saves the need to be packing spare clothes and saves further time.

5. Get it done early

Try to run as early in the day as you can, as the longer you wait then the less time you have. Do what you can when you can.

shutterstock_282089642 Shutterstock / SpeedKingz Shutterstock / SpeedKingz / SpeedKingz

6. Follow the same morning routine at weekends

Do you get up at 7am Monday to Friday? Do the same at the weekend and you’ll mange to fit in your run without impacting on your day and it may even give you a few extra hours that would have been spent in bed.

As an added benefit it’ll also make getting up at 7am on the following Monday a lot easier.

You need to do the things that will move your fitness forward and bring your goal closer.

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness,” Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby, once said.

Sign up to Run In The Dark on Wednesday 16 November to run 5km or 10km and support The Mark Pollock Trust to find and connect people worldwide to fast-track a cure for paralysis.

Having a fitness goal is great but taking the first step is the most difficult part

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