Time Well Spent: How to Find 3 Hours a Week for Fitness

Did you know that there are 168 hours in a week? Go ahead, count them. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

In a previous post “Time Well Spent,” I introduced the concept of time as it relates to our leisure time and what amount of time is really left over. Special shout out to Adrienne of Thoughts of a Woman in Sport who blogged about this concept a few months ago, which inspired this post.

I created this info-graphic to show how it is broken down. Feel free to pin it!Find-Fitness-Infographic

To briefly summarize, within the 168 hours, 40 hours are used for work, school or other obligated time. This is for an average person. Sleeping uses up 56 hours in a week, which equals 8 hours per night if we are lucky. I know some of you are saying, “Yeah, right…” Again, this is the average. What is left over is 72 hours a week for personal care which includes leisure time.

Your challenge is to find three hours a week for fitness. Out of 168 hours in a week, three hours should be do-able. Let’s tackle this step-by-step.

Step 1: Assess your health. Are you overweight? Are you unable to exercise due to a medical condition or disability? In any case it is wise to check with your medical professional before you embark on any fitness program.

Step 2: Identify barriers preventing you from exercising. Some of these barriers are geographical, environmental and structural.
Geographical barriers can be where you work in relation to where you live. Do you have a long commute to and from work? This can eat into your personal care time. Do you live in a part of the country with extreme weather conditions that may prevent you from simply walking outdoors? If your workplace does not have amenities like a gym or area for exercise, this can be a big deterrent to finding time for fitness.

Environmental barriers can include poor access to parks or other leisure spaces in your community. Perhaps there are very few places to safely ride a bicycle near where you live. If you live in an urban environment, walking may be a great exercise option, but even this can be hampered by weather, crowds, events, and other interference.

Structural barriers to fitness and leisure can be money, transportation, clothing and equipment, or even the skills to participate in an activity. Of course, time is the ultimate structural barrier.

Step 3: Assess your interests. Simply put, what do you like to do? What were some fun activities you enjoyed as a young person? Are interested in trying these activities again as an adult? Once you identify your interests, are there barriers getting in your way? This is where many folks talk themselves out of trying something new.

Step 4: Take action. Now that you have chosen your ideal fitness activity, using walking as an example, how will you do this? What time of day works best for you? Can you walk on your lunch break at work? Can you devote 30 minutes, 6 days a week (this equals three hours)? If not, how about one hour per day, three days per week? Thirty minutes per day is the minimum time for optimum cardiovascular fitness.

And yes, you can break up the 30 minutes into smaller increments during the day. Taking three 10-minute walks also counts. Other action steps include taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. While at work, walk the long way around to the break room or to a meeting.

Step 5: Keep it sustainable. Now that you have created a routine, is it sustainable? If you get bored easily, examine why you are bored. For example, if you walk your dog through the same neighborhood day after day, it can get dull. Perhaps you can walk with a friend. If the weather is uncooperative, take a walk in the nearest shopping mall. Perhaps your community has a walking club associated with the neighborhood recreation center. Exercising with others is a good way to stay accountable and not give up. Plus, it’s FUN!

Of course there will be unavoidable interruptions to your scheduled time. Maybe one of those barriers rears its ugly head. If you miss a session, try to add on some time to your other days. Really strive for the full three hours a week.

And finally, take a good look at your time. How valuable is your health compared to the time you have left in the day? We easily get caught up in the hectic pace of life and allow our three hours of fitness to be used up in other ways. Work and family obligations are tough to overcome. Creating a simple daily schedule for your fitness time should be as high a priority as work and family. If you are unwell, you will not be able to work, much less take care of your family.

Here are some more resources for claiming your three hours of fitness time.
Another way to track your fitness and keep an hourly count is with a fitness tracker or mobile app. Click here for that information.

This Huffington Post article describes two fitness apps to get on your mobile device that may help you track your time and keep you motivated.

If you would like to learn more about how to find your fitness time, please contact me through this blog or at Second Wind Leisure. 

In our busy world, I encourage you to use your leisure time wisely and claim your three hours a week for fitness!



Add a Comment
  1. Reblogged this on Just a random girl's Blog and commented:
    Not many of you know this, but I’m actually making changes in my life. One of them is being healthier, something which involves both, eating right and excising. I think I’m doing a good job, even if sometimes the motivation goes off, but I know there a NO EXCUSES and this post is a prove of it!

    1. Good for you! Go for it! I’m glad this was motivating for you and I am grateful for the reblog!!

      1. Your welcome and yes, I will continue in this new life style!

        Have a nice morning/afternoon/night!

        -Random girl

  2. This was a helpful article for me. My roommate and I have struggled with working out for over a year now and it gets super frustrating and can cause a lot of arguments between the both of us. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Good information. Often we put up barriers to starting on the road to self-improvement (exercise, eating better, etc.) but I think just about anyone can find three hours a week. I love my hour-long walks I take several times a week. I either get to catch up with my neighborhood walking buddy or, if she can’t make it, I listen to a favorite podcast.

  4. They say you can truly find time when you want to and you’ve shown your readers how. Thanks for sharing at #AnythingGoes.

  5. LifestyleswithLia

    This is an amazing post! First of all, I love the info-graphic you’ve created…and also the advice you give on finding time in your day to exercise (as well as the barriers involved) is spot on. In NYC, the winter’s cold temps and snow put a damper on outdoor activities that’s why I go to the gym — or go salsa dancing inside!
    In the warmer temps, walking is my favorite activity – thankfully NYC has some pedestrian/bike paths on the perimeters of Manhattan island so one doesn’t need to worry about cars or traffic lights!
    I really appreciate all the expertise you put into your posts to teach us more about leisure and fitness in our lives!

    1. Thank you so much, Lia! I am glad you found this helpful. Making the infographic was fun. Your life in NYC is so different than mine in California, and you bring up a great example of geographical barriers!

  6. Excellent post Terri! We are definitely on the same page. I love your I fograph. Would you mind if I shared your post with my readers? Thanks for sharing at #wednesday’swisdom. Have a great day!

    1. Thank you so much, Sue! Please share the heck out of it! I really appreciate the exposure!

      1. No problem!! Exposure is good.

  7. Seriously is there such a thing as being addicted to exercise, I have been trying to get addicted. Actually sometimes I think I am getting it and then my routine gets interrupted and the addiction is gone. Most of us will need all your encouragement that you have shared here. We will take a dose any time you can give it. Thanks, Terri
    Remembering to leave from another page to help your statistics
    Fridays Blog Booster Party#7

    1. Thank you Kathleen! I think we can get addicted–there is the endorphin rush after all. I struggle a little but I just schedule it in and go.

  8. I’m a habit person, and so once I get into the habit it becomes such a routine I don’t think about avoiding it. I like to exercise the minute I get home and changed. If I wait for even 10 min I find something else to do.

    1. Good tactic, thanks for sharing!

  9. I think the hardest part is breaking through the mental barrier of “I don’t have time”, “I can’t”, “I’m too heavy/old” etc. Once one overcomes their blocks, the realize the benefits very fast.

  10. Fantastic points! I think your infographic really helps drive the point home. It really isn’t that big of a time commitment, but rather of where your priorities lie. #FridayBlogBooster

  11. It’s that whole “sustainability” thing for me. Every time I get a good plan going, my crazy schedule/traveling messes things up! Either that, or I get sick or injure myself somehow (grace is not one of my strong points!). I am planning to start the Couch to 5K program new week. Since I know I will be traveling at least 3 of the six weeks the program takes, I am making the decision from the beginning to give myself 9 weeks to get there. Otherwise, I will just get discouraged and stop. Wish me luck!

  12. The infographic really helps to break down just how much time we spend doing everything else, but exercise. Thanks for joining us on Oh My Heartsie Girl Wordless Wednesday!


    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment, Shellie!

  13. what a great post! and I love the use of the infographic. I’m always coming up with excuses to not work out. When you lay it out like that, I know I can find some time to take better care of my health. #TurnItUpTuesday

    1. Thank you, Amy, so glad you could use the information!

  14. Hi Terri, this is a really smart approach. When you think of it, three hours seems very doable. I will try to retrain my brain – “3 hours for my health.”

    Another barrier for me is emotional- I am not good at this, I am bad at sports, I probably won’t succeed anyway, some people are just naturally thin and I will never be that way- yada, yada, yada…my self-talk about fitness has not been particularly positive!

  15. Interestingly, my Monday blog post is on the subject of fitness. I spend more than 3 hours a week on mine, but at this age, i have to.

    1. I will have to check it out. Please send me the link!

  16. Great inspiration and motivation for making changes! I do more than 3 hours a week, usually, but this time of the year my motivation flags a bit, so this article was very useful to get me going again. Love the infographic.

  17. Great advice – I needed this as I just had my last baby and now want to lose the baby weight. The infographic is great!

    1. Thank you so much, Faye! Good luck!

  18. This si SO helpful. The infographic is great too. Pinned and tweeted (or scheduled).

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