Ever wonder how people with full-time jobs stay fit and healthy? Could it be that they are superhuman? Perhaps they have wildly flexible hours? Most likely it’s simply a case of them recognising the importance of finding time to exercise.
Exercise goes well beyond better-fitting jeans and six-pack abs. Working out regularly increases productivity, improves sleep, boosts energy, promotes brainpower and creativity, generates happiness and helps to manage stress.
Exercise offers protection from conditions such as type 2 diabetes
, heart disease, and even some cancers. It gives you stronger bones, muscles and joints, and lowers risks
of osteoporosis and falls as you age.
Finding time to exercise might at first sound difficult, but when you consider the benefits, you’d be crazy not to squeeze it into or around your working day.
Finding time to exercise
Most people, whether they are working from home or in the office, struggle sometimes to make time for exercise. Inboxes get out of control, deadlines need to be met, kids need to be fed, the house needs to be cleaned - there’s always something that tries to pull you away from your date with your yoga mat.
Busyness, however, is not a reason to skip out on exercise. The busier you are, the more you need to exercise
. Commit to 20 minutes of physical activity and you’ll improve your mood, your mindset, and your overall wellbeing.
But how do you make time for exercise when life seems out of control? Well, you can…
Schedule your workouts like you schedule your meetings
There’s a big difference between finding the time and making the time. ‘Finding the time’ indicates that working out, going for a run or joining a spin class is of the lowest priority. ‘Making the time’ tells you (and others) that you have scheduled time for yourself and that you aren’t going to do anything else in its place. It prioritises this part of your day
and makes exercise just as important as the meetings in your calendar.
Keep your workout clothes handy
There’s something extremely motivating about workout clothes that are ready to go. Before you go to bed, get your workout clothes ready
and lay them out in plain sight. If working out first thing in the morning, you can even go to bed in your workout clothes so all you have to do when you wake up is wash your face, brush your teeth and then head out the door!
Seeing your workout clothes makes exercise tempting. It’s more of a hassle not to work out because choosing not to means picking out a different outfit to wear. Working from home because of the pandemic? You don’t ever have to take your work clothes off!
Seeing progress is a great way to stay motivated to exercise. Use a digital or paper fitness journal and start keeping tabs on the kilometres you run or walk, the calories you burn, how long you spend at the gym or what weight you’ve lifted. Logging this data helps you stay accountable and keeps you moving forward.
Making your day longer might not seem like an enticing offer right now, but rising earlier and starting your day with exercise is one of the best ways to not get distracted by everyday madness. Wake before the household wakes or before emails and calls start coming in and the only thing that’s stopping you from exercising is you.
Wake up earlier
Instead of driving the five minutes to your child’s daycare centre, pop your child in the stroller and run the distance instead. Not only will your child love this extra time with you, but you’ll also get your physical activity in while ticking off something on your to-do list. Need to go to the post office to deliver a package? Again, run to the post office if you can.
Run your errands
Invest in a smartwatch
Wearing a smartwatch or fitness tracker raises awareness of your activity levels and reminds you to get up, increase your steps, and be more active. Wearing a watch that monitors your activity
is like having a personal trainer with you everywhere you go. It will let you set goals and set reminders to force you away from your desk and computer screen.
Any parent that has kids in after school activities knows that there’s lots of time wasted sitting beside a pool, watching a tennis court or listening to (at times bad) music practice. Instead of sitting and waiting for their class to finish, use the time wisely and run laps around the block, swim in an empty lane or take your own dance or fitness class.
Sweat while your kids sweat
When you’re focused on your career or kids, making time for your partner can be something that’s just as neglected as exercise. Why not combine the two? Play a game of tennis together. Ride your bikes to the gym. Take a long romantic walk on the beach. Make physical activity part of your purposeful one-on-one time.
Make it a date
Master your mindset
Make a conscious effort to think of exercise as something you want
to do and not something you have
to do. The difference between these two statements reflects the source of motivation. If it’s something you want to do, it’s internal motivation
. If it’s something you have to do, it’s external motivation. Internal motivation is invigorating. External motivation requires self-control and can be depleting. Master your mindset and you’ll fight much less with yourself about whether or not to exercise.
Taking time off from exercise
Now you’re all fired up to embrace more physical activity and you understand the benefits that come from exercise, it’s time to put some thought into taking time off from exercise.
Exercise for overall wellness requires you to train carefully. Stimulating change by increasing your physical activity stresses the body and does some amazing things, but it’s during times of rest
when your body recovers and adapts. Combining exercise and rest makes you more efficient and stronger, so having used the above tips to make time for exercise, use them again for creating periods of rest. You’ll thank yourself for it.