Do You Watch Commercials More Than You Exercise?

Today I stumbled on this little gem on Facebook and posted it to the Belly Bootcamp FB page:

It is very true that most people don't prioritize exercise enough when planning their time. The number one excuse we personal trainers hear from the general public is the old "I don't have time to work out."  Be honest: Have you ever uttered this excuse to a trainer, friend, spouse or yourself? How many thousands of times?

You really do have to put it into perspective: if you spend 7 out of 168 hours each week strengthening your physical self, you're really not putting exercise ahead of sleep. Or your kids. Or your housework. Because an hour of exercise per day leaves 161 for all the other things you need to do. So what is really being prioritized? I think I know...

From The Globe and Mail:

According to recent research by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM), Canadian adults currently watch about 29.5 hours of television per week...

In Canada, a typical hour of conventional television programming contains 15 minutes of commercials while specialty channels carry about 12 minutes of commercials. Using the more conservative 12 minutes per hour, I calculate that the average adult Canadian watches over 14,400 minutes of commercials annually. 

Just a minute, here. The average Canadian watches over 4 hours of television per day, of which 25% is advertising. So the average Canadian watches 1 hour of television commercial advertising per day. (I realize many of you advanced into the 21st century and own PVRs, which I don't, but just humour me here...)

And still can't find time to work out.

Wha?

If you feel like you just can't carve out that time to exercise, I've got a few suggestions to "find" time that you might be otherwise wasting on reruns of "The Big Bang Theory" (a show which people are always trying to convince other people is very funny, which suggests to me it is absolutely, positively not funny...).

Choose a few of these suggestions and book them into next week's plan in your BlackBerry or day planner, or on a fantastic online weight management site like the Heart & Stroke Foundation's Healthy Weight Action Plan, which I've been personally using to keep me on track as I carve these last few pounds of postpartum weight off my busy self.

  • set your alarm 30 minutes earlier now that the sun is up bright & early and head out for a walk or jog before everyone else is up
    • what you're thinking: I can't get up that early. I need every minute of sleep I can get.
    • what I'm thinking: Go to bed earlier! Take that 1/2 hour out of your evening TV time instead of your sleep.
  • institute family walk, bike ride or jog time every weekday before or after dinner
    • what you're thinking: But the kids have dance/hockey/piano/drama/kumon/soccer/scouts/swimming/playdates.
    • what I'm thinking: Cancel a couple of things. Family time is just as valid as extracurricular pursuits. Can't cancel? Pack your sneakers and go do a jog with a few strength exercises thrown in every night that you are on chauffeur duty and waiting for class to finish. Don't let the other dance moms drag you to Tim Horton's. Be strong and you'll reap the benefits.
  • start a weekday morning family workout in your basement, backyard or nearest park with a circuit of exercises
    • what you're thinking: Are you kidding me? My kids will never go for that.
    • what I'm thinking: Who is running this show? Exercise can and should be fun, but a little discipline never hurt a kid - learning that the body must be cared for is a lesson you really can't put a price on. A family workout is free, healthy bonding. Like brushing their teeth, make exercise a non-negotiable. They'll only complain for so long and they'll benefit for life.
  • devote the first 30-60 minutes of your evening TV and internet time to an exercise DVD or live-streamed fitness class
    • what you're thinking: By the time the kids are in bed I have no energy for anything except moving Doritos from bag to mouth.
    • what I'm thinking: Suck it up. If evening is really the only time you can exercise, it's gotta be done. Promise yourself you can relax on the couch and watch your favourite shows only after you've completed your workout for the day. You'll get used to it. And you'll get fit. What are you going to do, just not exercise at all? Come on...
  • invest in a treadmill for home and make a commitment to watch TV only while walking or jogging
    • what you're thinking: A treadmill is too expensive.
    • what I'm thinking: Maybe. But a gym membership that you never use (ahem... I'm looking at you...) costs you about an average of $600-700 per year. 1-2 years and that treadmill is paid for. This is a double-whammy; you'll not only exercise in order to catch that show you want to watch, you'll also cut down on the amount of TV you watch, freeing you up for more interesting & healthy pursuits like learning a new language, catching up with friends or reading a great book.

I've heard it all. The next time you feel the words, "I don't have time to work out" about to escape your lips, zip it! Planning and prioritizing is a part of adult life. There are tons of great resources out there to inspire you and keep you on track - join the Healthy Weight Action Plan now and track your diet and workouts online, plus receive encouraging weekly emails to keep you focused.

So grow up and get a hold of your health. Or be just another statistic.

How do you squeeze exercise into your life and your family's life? Share your tips below!