Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

I hear it all the time: “I’d exercise, but I have so many other things to do!”

Whether the person with whom I’m speaking is referring to practical matters like doing the laundry or more desirable activities like watching Downton Abbey so they can be part of the watercooler discussion, exercise is easy to push to the bottom of the list.

While I am old school and most often use exercise as personal quiet time to think, I realize that most people don’t share my cravings for silence.  With that acknowledgement, I want to offer you some ideas for how you can multitask during exercise.


Regardless of your form of exercise, audiobooks can be a good companion.  If you are used to wearing earbuds for music, you’re probably well aware of how great an audio distraction can be to pass the time while exercising.   Just be mindful that if you are listening to a particularly emotional or slow-developing book, your rate of exertion may change to match the mood of the book.  Check out your public library to see if you can borrow audiobooks, and be even more proud of yourself for being fit and thrifty, too.

Talk To Yourself

Do you ever wish you could have just a few minutes to think?  Alone?  Or are you one of those people who has GREAT IDEAS while you’re exercising but can’t always remember them afterwards?  If you have a smartphone and an armband, you have a lot of productivity power.  Turn on the voice recorder to your phone, and as you exercise you can record whatever noteworthy that comes into your mind.  For me, it’s often blog posts that write themselves during a run.  Sometimes it’s just reminders of what needs to happen over the next few days/weeks.   What I love about this method is that I’ve found my memory of the daily details has actually improved, even without going back and listening to my recording. Excellent!


This is one of those “DUH” suggestions that I make over and over again to my clients—it’s so simple people overlook it.  Have a girlfriend you want to chat with?  Take her for a walk. Even if you don’t live in the same city, your phone is great for walk and talk.  The former UT Women’s Basketball coach was a neighbor of mine for several years, and I would see her every day walking and talking on her phone.  I’m sure her time pressures were considerable, but I always found it inspiring to see that she made time for her own exercise.

Watch TV

It’s not something I generally advocate, but if there’s no other way to get you to move your body, find a workout you can do in front of your TV.  You could do a simple circuit if you don’t own any exercise equipment.  Balance Virtual Bootcamp workouts can be done while watching TV, as they require minimal equipment and are designed to be simple, efficient, and effective.

How do you pass the time while you work out?


6 responses to “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

  1. Good music is what does it for me!! I don’t mind having a chat in between sets, but those people on the treadmill watching tv or reading a book wreck my head! I now that’s probably horribly judgemental, but jeez….!

    • You’re not wrong! Studies indicate that reading while on a cardio machine (like a treadmill or elliptical) reduces effort by around 25% for most people. It’s fine if you’re just looking to get some movement in, but it really does hamper the quality of your workout.

      • I knew I was right! haha 🙂 Best thing ever was a woman I saw running on the treadmill whilst holding on to the rails so she could read a mag!

  2. Gym time is multi-task zen time for me. I mostly lift weights (so it is a little harder to do some of your suggestions) but I love planning out my day and amping myself up with great music! If I don’t work out in the morning I am way less efficient during the day.

  3. That’s another reason why I love morning work outs! I’m usually the only one there.

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