THE BLOG
10/06/2014 11:29 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2014

No Time for Exercise? Let's Do the Math!

"Those who have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness."
Edward Stanley, The Earl of Derby

Time, time, time. There never seems to be enough. This is especially true for busy executives and business travelers, not to mention parents, coaches, teacher, doctors, nurses... well, just about everyone in this over-scheduled world. Unfortunately, when Mr. Timecrunch visits, it's usually our health that picks up the tab. Higher stress levels, binge eating and, perhaps, the most detrimental, missed workouts. In fact, the No. 1 excuse individuals give for not exercising is lack of time.

So let's do the math.

If you exercise, you generally live longer -- years longer. And those years are healthier, especially as you age. More vigor, less dependency. Those who exercise regularly require less sleep and are more productive in their waking hours, achieving better results and higher efficiency of effort. They also miss less time from work because of illness. Exercise has also been shown to enhance focus and productivity. You get more done in less time. This all adds up to a great investment of your time. Time spent exercising and being active comes back to you in spades!

When I worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, he would often say, "Every hour you spend in the gym is one hour less that you'll have to sit in a doctor's office." Arnold was right: Exercise prevents illness and its associated downtime. And the extra time generated from a healthy active lifestyle brings you more time for whatever you choose.

So the next time you don't think you have time for exercise, just take a look around at the very busy, dynamic successful individuals out there, from presidents and CEOs to legends like Arnold -- most manage time for exercise and are wise to do so. It's an integral part of their life, and most of them will tell you it's also an integral part of their success.

So take out your iPhone or smartphone and schedule your workout as you would a critical meeting -- one you would never consider canceling. There are even apps that set daily reminders, or even nudge you when you've been inactive too long. You'll look better, feel better, and accomplish much, much more. You'll even start to find more time on that calendar.

Additional references:

The Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

"4 Ways to use exercise to boost brain power"

"Exercise Increases Productivity"