By Caitlin Pontrella
I. Out of Time
More and more often people complain about the lack of time they have in a week to exercise and stay healthy.
How many times have you heard this one:
“I just don’t have any time!”
It is easy to be sympathetic to this sentiment but the reality is that there are 168 hours in a week. If you work a 40-hour week (9-5) and sleep a full eight hours each night, you are still left with 72 hours. 72 hours. Lets even subtract another 7 hours so that you can pass up ‘fast’-foods in order to cook yourself healthy dinners. And subtract another 10 for commuting (A nod to you new york, with almost an hour long commute!)(1). You’re still left with over 50+hours and Public health guidelines only recommend about 4 hours a week of exercise in order to stay healthy.
Do the math.
You don’t have time, you say? You’re right, what you don’t have time for is excuses.
II. Epidemic of American Life
Americans, especially New Yorkers, are always on the go, 24/7. We are racing around every day to make more money, to improve our status, to catch up on our work, trying desperately to get ahead. For this, we have the highest GDP in the world, are leaders in innovation and design, and have a very high standard of living.
However, we are also suffering from an epidemic of obesity. We overindulge in fast foods and liquor. We sleep too much or we sleep too little. We are indoors more than 90% of the day (2), behind computers and televisions. We never have time enough to exercise because we are too overwhelmed by social media, financial burden, demands of our jobs, etc.
Thus this average life results in aging that results in weaker bones, softer muscles, and a body that fails you… all because we just didn’t have time.
III. The Real Problem
We need to stop viewing exercise as work. If you hate running, then don’t go spending hours on the treadmill. If you hate team sports, then don’t go join the local baseball league. Movement comes in many forms–it is just a matter of identifying the one that speaks to you.
Besides, if you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you will make sure there is never any time.
We need to learn to take delight in movement, to seek out fulfilling forms of play, and to indulge ourselves. It is not about getting healthy and fit, but being healthy and fit–enjoying movement for life, as an integral part of that life. We need to find forms of play that are given the same weight of importance as our work.
For play is work of the most serious and important kind. Play is where we explore who we are, where we encounter our insecurities and face our limitations, where we learn to cope with insecurity and begin to define and exceed our capacities. Play allows us to be healthy and fit without having to feel like we are working on being healthy and fit.
Playing, and living healthy, demonstrates respect for ourselves.
So stop making excuses. You do have enough time! Go find your form of play and start respecting your body and your self.
(1) Partnership for New York City. NYC Jobs Blueprint. 2013. http://www.pfnyc.org/reports/2013-blueprint-web.pdf
(2) US EPA. Buildings and their Impact on the Environment: A Statistical Summary. 2009. http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/pubs/gbstats.pdf
(3) The Movement Creative. www.TheMovementCreative.com