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Implementing Time Management Strategies

What is the number one reason people report for not participating in physical activity?  You guessed it, not enough time!  A majority of people report a lack of time as the reason why they do not exercise.  But is this true? Do people really not have enough time or is it a problem of time management?

Regular exercisers represent about 15% of the United States adult population. It would seem that this small percentage of people have more time in a day or less time constraints than people who don’t exercise, however that is not true everyone has 24 hours a day!  Several studies show that exercisers report less time barriers than non-exercisers (Myers & Roth, 1997;Harne & Bixby, 2005). Meaning, regular exercisers are able to manage their time to fit exercise in and do not see exercise as placing a time constraint on them.

With all of the technology available to us, we are spending more and more time being sedentary. Thus, it appears that a “lack of time” could be better described as “a lack of time management”!

Way Ahead

As Soldiers, the easiest way for all of us to adhere to a quality PT program is, as the cliché says, just do it! We have been trained since day 1 of Basic Training to get up and do PT. It is a part of who we are. With that in mind, a few simple recommendations to fit at least 30 minutes of PT into your daily schedule are:

1)      Wake up 30 min earlier and do PT

2)      Do PT during lunch

3)      During Drill Weekend, conduct PT along w/ the rest of your unit at the end of each duty day. This mitigates the need to give your Soldiers time for personal hygiene because the day is done, everyone is headed home.

If these options are unrealistic for you, then other, more creative methods, may be necessary.

Time Management Process

How regular exercisers do it: Practical tips for incorporating exercise into a busy schedule:

  1. Regular exercisers make exercise a priority.  It is the first task they schedule each week and they don’t let anything interfere with their exercise routine. 
  2. Regular exercisers enjoy exercise.  One of the keys to maintaining exercise long-term is to find something that you enjoy.  Exercise should be fun, new and exciting. For example, try your local fitness center or go for a bike ride with your family. Other options would be to get together with other members of your unit and PT together.
  3. Regular exercisers set goals to help keep them on track.
  4. Regular exercisers monitor their exercise to help keep them accountable and see their progress.
  5. Regular exercisers anticipate and overcome obstacles.


Incorporating these strategies into your exercise routine will help you maintain your exercise regimen over a long period of time.  Try and Answer the following questions

Do you believe you have time to meet the exercise recommendations each week?

·         Is there time in your day when you could fit exercise in, even just 10 minutes?

·         Could you replace some of these sedentary activities with exercise?

 Did you know that where you live, the weather and how your city or town is designed can greatly impact your physical activity? Think about it, does your exercise routine change when you go home for break or on vacation or when you lived in a different city? Your activity levels are affected by the space and region where you live.  If you have greater access to bike lanes, walking paths, or exercise classes you are more likely to use them.  Sometimes we don’t have 30 minutes to exercise each day.  When you are short on time, use your environment to get your physical activity in. Here are some ways to do that: 

  • Walk or Bike to work or lunch.  Join the Green Revolution.  You can limit your carbon footprint by doing these small activities each day and get your exercise in, even if you don’t have 30 minutes to set aside in the day.
  • If you have to drive to work, park far away and walk..
  • Take the stairs whenever possible, especially if you have three flights or less to travel.
  • While watching TV exercise during the commercials. Commercial breaks are generally 2 to 3 minutes each and during a 30 minute TV show you can get about 10 to 12 minutes of exercise!
  • While cleaning your house, apartment or room try to move as fast as possible. Use each activity to get extra exercise in, for example each time you put laundry in the washer or dryer do three squats to pick up your dirty clothes.
  • Take a break every 30 minutes while working at your computer or desk.  Use this break to move, do a set of pushups/sit-ups, etc.!
  • You could use a pedometer to help you monitor your physical activity each day. Remember, that on average, it takes 10,000 steps a day to meet cardiorespiratory endurance exercise recommendations.  Every 2,000 steps is approximately a mile, therefore, during the course of a day you should walk approximately 5 miles!