So, you want to get fit. You NEED to exercise, but work, school, kids, chores, family, eating and sleeping all take priority. There’s just no time, right?
Actually, there is. You just have to look for it. And we’re going to help you find it. The secret is budgeting your time – just like you would your wallet.
First of all, you need to make exercise a priority. Not necessarily your top priority, but it’s got to be on the list. You only have one body, after all. Time to take care of it! If that’s not reason enough, look over some of the other benefits of exercise:
– Boosts energy levels
– Reduces stress and improves your mood
– Improves your immune system
– Lowers your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis
– You’ll sleep better
– Aids body fat and weight loss
– And much, much more
Also, remember to pick an activity that you’ll actually enjoy. If you don’t like running, then don’t make running part of your workouts. Got bad knees? It’s ok to avoid high impact exercise and stick with walking or another form of low impact exercise. Just because your favorite Instagram fitness expert or celebrity trainer is promoting the benefits of a particular exercise style doesn’t mean it’s for you. Ultimately, you must choose a workout routine that fits your level of fitness and your needs, not someone else’s.
You’re more likely to stick to a program that you look forward to rather than something that feels like a chore. Look into local fitness classes or at home workout DVDs you can use at home. Use free online workout videos to test drive new exercises. Take the time to explore and find something you love! It takes trail and error, but you are worth it.
[Side Note: Always remember to work at your own pace and keep any injuries or physical limitations in mind. Speak with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. If you haven’t worked out in quite a while or are a beginner, start slow and work your way up.]
How much should you exercise?
I would suggest that you take an 30 minutes to 1 hour out of your day and dedicate that to exercise 3-4 days a week minimum. Think about it. That’s such a small percentage of you day, right? Ideally, take the time to do a mix of strength training and cardio. Try this:
Cut out 5-10 minutes of time from various other parts of your day and reallocate them to training. Got a 15 minute makeup routine, 15 minute shower, and 30 minutes for breakfast every morning? Take at least 5 minutes from each of those to start working out for 15 minutes at a time. Get up a few minutes earlier. Go to bed a few minutes later. That could add an extra 15 minutes to get you to 30. It will add up with time!
Now, if that’s not going to work or you just don’t have the flexibility in your schedule there are other options.
Can you carve out 10-20 minutes 3 times a week? HIIT workouts are a great option. HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. The workouts are short, but intense (as the name implies). A good HIIT workout will take only 10-20 minutes and burn as many calories as an hour on the elliptical. The downside is that it can be harder on your body than traditional cardio, which is why it’s not recommended every day. HIIT isn’t always a good option if you have knee or back issues, due to intensity. (If you’re not sure, speak with your doctor.)
Believe it or not, daily chores can be a great workout. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting, laundry, gardening, laundry, and walking your dogs can all be very physically demanding. Not to mention that your house will be clean and orderly!
Use your work breaks to exercise! Not only will you be able to get in some physical activity, but it’s a great way to reset and get the blood pumping to your brain. Get in a flight or two of stairs when you get the chance or take a walk at lunch – and see if anyone wants to join you! Do pushups/sit-ups/leg lifts every hour. If you can, keep some dumbells or exercise bands at your desk and pick them up a couple of times throughout the day. If your office building has a gym, take advantage of it.
Walk and Take the Stairs:
Sometimes the little changes will make the most difference. Park on the far side of the parking lot at work, the grocery store, the movie theatre (granted that it’s safe, of course). Even a 5-10 minute walk can make a difference. Whenever you have the option of taking the stairs instead of an elevator, do it! Got stairs in your home? Do a stair workout!
Get an Activity Tracker:
Many people who wear fitness trackers are quite a bit more active than those who don’t. Why? You’ve got a little wearable reminder on you at all times! Some trackers even allow you to set goals for yourself each day with a certain amount of steps or activity level.
The bottom line is to keep your body moving as much as possible. You don’t have to spend an hour on a treadmill every day or make a huge commitment to a personal trainer. Even if you have to start slow, just start. Every. Little. Bit. Helps. Don’t judge how you begin your journey, just commit.