You know what really grinds my gears? It’s the frequent mentioning in the media, on the Internet, social networks, etc. of the importance of making time to work out. They say there’s no such thing as not having enough time to do something active, get out and get moving. While I’m all for cute, inspirational, motivating messages, to me that isn’t one. On the contrary, I think it could be a detrimental message.
Of course, sometimes we say we don’t have time, when we in fact just wasted 3 hours binge-watching Netflix. That’s different. But I believe it is possible that one truly doesn’t have time and can’t make it (unless you’re Hiro Nakamura from Heroes). Staying active by “making time” in the middle of the night and compromising sleep quantity and quality is counterproductive. “Making time” by putting less effort into an assignment or studying less for an exam probably also isn’t quite a good idea.
We’re students (some of us engineering students), we’re part-time employees, some of us are interns. We have 24 hours in a day and as I learned this term, that’s not a lot and the demands of all those roles can take up every spare minute. So, if I just spent 9 hours in the library preparing a lab report on the action of a number of compounds on rabbit intestinal smooth muscle, you can bet I’m going to shower, throw on my Christmas PJs and watch an episode of Jessica Jones on Netflix. I’m definitely not going to chug a RedBull and go try and have a rather ineffective workout. It’s more than okay to take a break, it’s necessary!
I’m someone who is always keeping busy, trying to check off every possible career, academic, athletic and professional development initiative I can -while also doing laundry, cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, seeing the people I care about and taking time for myself. I can tell you that doesn’t always work out and when it does it’s completely exhausting. What I’ve learned, is that when you overwhelm yourself like I tend to, everything becomes a huge burden. Physical activity and healthy living shouldn’t be burdens. Though if you try to add them onto a timetable already bursting at the seams, they will be.
I am a student. I’m an athlete. I’m a coach, tour guide, blogger and a whole slew of other things. But I’m a student above all. I always do my best to put academics first. Having said that, physical activity is important. So, here are 5 ways to stay active when you really, truly don’t have time.
- Evaluate whether there’s something on your schedule that is eating up time you could use to get your blood flowing or stretch out some tension, and giving you little in return. If that’s the case I revise how I use that time.
- Try killing two birds with one stone -so to speak. I’m a mentor in a mentorship program, to kill two birds with one stone, I’m taking my mentorship group to a kickboxing class!
- Walk > TTC. Sometimes, it can amount to the same amount of time. So bundle up and get moving!
- Join a registered class. I find it helps to have physical activity scheduled for me. My OWL class is a regular part of my week, I can plan around it, prepare for it, and I’m motivated to attend because it cost me a registration fee I don’t want to go to waste.
- Take active breaks instead of Facebook breaks or napping breaks. Walk around, stretch, run a quick errand. If you live in a residence or apartment building with a gym, you can go for a quick run/walk on the treadmill. It’ll do your mind a lot of good.
On a somewhat related note, an update on yoga! I went to the UC Yoga club session a couple weeks ago, and I quite enjoyed it! I look forward to going back. It was beginner-friendly, welcoming, destressing and really had me feeling good. The space is also so beautiful! I’d never been in the Multi Faith Centre before, so I got to discover a new corner of campus.