Lack of time is the most common excuse to skip out on exercise, but it is very important for people to find the time to fit it into their busy schedules. Exercise can help your body reap health benefits including reducing the risk of developing diabetes or heart disease, maintaining healthy muscles and joints, and improving one’s overall mood and mental health.
So while you may not be able to stop the hands of time, you can better use what little time you have. Here are 5 tips to get you on your way:
1. Work out at work.
Chances are you spend a large chunk of your day at work. Most of us have jobs that require us to sit for extended periods of time. That’s harmful to your health. Prolonged sitting leads to weight gain, and even a shorter life expectancy. Fortunately, there are cool ways to get in some exercise at the office.
- Put calls on speakerphone so that you’re free to pace while you talk.
- Buy a “pedal exerciser” to put under your desk (around $30).
- Use your lunch break to go for a walk or visit a nearby gym.
- Replace sitting around a conference table with “walk-and-talk” meetings.
- Take the stairs whenever possible.
- Physically visit coworkers before reverting to emails/calls.
- Convert to a stand up desk.
2. Tweak your commute.
Take advantage of your daily commute. We spend a lot of our day just trying to get somewhere. Adding some additional activity to this time of the day can be very beneficial.
Try biking, jogging or walking to and from work. Depending on where you live, this could actually be quicker than sitting in rush hour traffic. If this is impractical for you, try parking a little further away, or getting off the bus one stop sooner. These simple steps will increase your walking time, without adding too much extra time to your commute.
3. Drop the “couch potato” habit.
Even with our busy schedules, we still manage some TV time. Despite popular belief, you don’t have to sit on a couch to catch up on the news, watch this week’s episode, or binge watch Netflix. Make some space in front of the TV so you can do some yoga, push-ups, squats or crunches without ditching television all together. Another option: use commercials as a chance to complete a 3-minute “workout frenzy.” For additional motivation, place your fitness tools (dumbbells, resistance bands, jump rope, etc.) in front of the TV as a constant reminder.
4. Be socially active.
At some point in the week, you are probably going to plan some time with friends or family. Rather than watching a movie for the 5th time, schedule an activity that involves movement. Go for a family hike, walk the dogs, play some touch football – things like that. Not only are these activities generally more memorable, they allow you to work out without added time.
5. Start your day earlier.
This piece of advice is one nobody wants to hear. Waking up earlier seems unbearable for those who are busy all day long. However, it’s an excellent way to fit in a workout.For starters, you know early morning will be free on your schedule. Also working out as soon as you wake up means you won’t have to plan the rest of the day. Early exercise also comes with other benefits such as:
- It sets the day’s pace. People who start the day active are more likely to continue that pace throughout the day.
- A good mental alarm clock to help you be sharper and more productive.
- Gets your metabolism working harder, sooner
- Gives you a positive, optimistic outlook
Talk to your doctor about more ways to improve your physical and mental health. Don’t have a doctor? Find one here.