Time IS a choice

The whole concept of exercise being beneficial to our well-being is as old as the hills.  It was the famous Greek physician, Hippocrates, who noted wisely, many moons ago, in 360 BC: “If you are in a bad mood go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood, go for another walk.”

Ask people what they would like to spend more time doing, and exercise comes up a lot.  And yet, the excuse that mostly pops up, is: “I just don’t have the time…” Ugh.  Sigh.

…I always get a sadistic grin on my face when I see a commercial promising an all-over workout in 8 minutes, or an article in a magazine promoting “the 14-minute workout that burns fat fast!”  To be honest, though, I really do not think the problem is that people could find 14 minutes but cannot find 20.  I think it is simply that people do not want to exercise bad enough.  Which is fine!  If something is not a priority, best to own that truth.   

A friend recently encouraged me to listen to the TED talk by the American Blogger and writer, Laura Vanderkam, “How to gain control of your time”, and I could clearly understand why this specific podcast has been listened to more than 5 million times!   Vanderkam says: “Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority” and see how that feels.  “I’m not going to the gym, because my body is not a priority”. “I’m not going to the doctor, because my health is not a priority.”  If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point.

Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice.  If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.  We always have time for what matters to us.”

This is so, so true.  We ALWAYS HAVE TIME for what matters to us.  Every day all day long you and I have the choice to take a stand on what we value.

Yes, I know, in this fast-paced world we live in today, most of us feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done that we need to get done – let alone find time for the things we WANT to be doing.  Time is our most valuable resource, and yet we often don’t manage, allocate or spend it effectively.

We are caught up in a constant see-saw of choices – Losing yourself in a book, or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram posts?  Phoning a friend, or zoning out on Candy Crush?  Going to the gym, or rather watching another episode of Yellowstone?  We always seem to find the time when it comes to the crunch.

You say you don’t have time to exercise, and yet, we all have the same 168 hours in a week, and the same 24 hours in a day. You might say that it’s easy for me to talk about making time to exercise, because it’s my job.  But you know what?  The busiest people I know, always have time to exercise.  The most successful people in the world, they all schedule daily workouts…

Richard Branson takes a dip in the ocean, every single day.  Bill Gates gets up early to walk on the treadmill for an hour, every single day.  Ellie Goulding runs 6 miles, every single day.  Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Lawrence and thousand other celebrities hit the gym, every single day.  The examples are endless.

It’s easy to make time the scapegoat for all sorts of things, which explains the phrase “If you want something done, ask a busy person”.

Our lives are finite.  We can’t really save time, buy a little more time, or go back in time.  Time spends itself, so we can only choose what to do or not to do.  Today, more than ever, if you haven’t, you should consider scheduling exercise into your daily routine.  I can almost hear the mumbles: ”Nah, it’s already too cold to start exercising now, I’ll have to wait for Spring.” And my worst nightmare: ”Nah, the times we live in are too unpredictable to enter a Winter Challenge, we’ll soon be on Stage 9, and then what?”

I don’t know about you, but I can still remember those terrible days of Lockdown in 2020, when we weren’t even allowed to exercise freely – but we survived it, and came out much, much stronger on the other side.  No load shedding schedule is going to stand in our way now!  We have the privilege of being allowed to open the doors of our gyms and studios, we are allowed to pitch, anytime we want.  Yes, of course it’s already dark when we wake up, and soon it’s going to be cold and dreary too. Most mornings we’ll probably not even be able to dress in front of the heater, like we used to do. 

But, three hoorays for Mr Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the US, who said in 1807: “Not less than two hours a day should be devoted to exercise, and the weather should be little regarded.”

Okay, okay, of course your workout needn’t be two hours long, but if you’re not active – CHOOSE TO START. MOVING.  TODAY. Because it’s about so much more than burning calories.  Movement offers us pleasure, identity, belonging, and hope.  It puts us in places that are good for us, and in an environment that challenges us. It allows us to redefine ourselves and reimagine what is possible.  And it punches Eskom and load shedding right in the face.

Time IS a choice.  Every choice to do one thing is a choice not to do something else.  Every choice makes the next one easier or harder.  Every time we make a healthier choice, the next time we need to make a choice, the right choice is a bit easier.  We don’t build the lives we want by saving time.  We build the lives we want, and then time saves itself.

Just remember, you first have to exercise, to want to exercise.  The weather SHOULD be little regarded. And today?  You HAVE time, and lots of Diems to Carpe! 

Yours in fitness


082 779 0507

PS: Next weekend we are visiting Zander and Mariné in Stellies…I’m not writing a single word!  Ah, and don’t forget our Early Bird fee of R320 for our Winter Challenge – it ends on Friday 21 April!

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  1. Colette Barnard says:

    Its inspirational words before winter begins! Then its so difficult to get up early in the morning to exercise.