Lack of time is the most common excuse for not finding a way to exercise. Between work, school, family, extracurricular obligations, and sleep it can be a challenge. We can’t stop the clock from ticking, but we can look at our day and find a way to use our time more effectively and creatively.
One of the most helpful skills I have learned to fit exercise into my busy schedule is to prioritize. By finding a way to minimize wasted time I have been able to get in at least one workout a day and two during training season.
Here are my top suggestions to help fit a workout into your routine.
Early to bed and early to rise
Waking up early can take some getting used to, but once you have established a morning routine this can be one of the smartest ways to fit exercise into your busy lifestyle. Setting the alarm clock just 30 minutes earlier can get you a quick workout and will let you conquer your day feeling refreshed and energized. Remember you can always do this at home. Try exercise on demand, videos, or your own home equipment.
Break a large workout into smaller chunks of time
The bottom line is every little bit counts. If you have several small blocks of time, use them wisely and break up your workout into manageable segments. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. To reach this goal it’s practical and acceptable to separate out your routine into one larger block and smaller segments of at least 10 minutes. For example you may fit in a 45-minute bike ride on one day and then three 10-minute walks on the following day.
Sneak in a lunchtime workout
Make a habit of leaving your desk rather than eating and multitasking. Chances are you will not only feel better, but you will be more productive when you return. For example, if you don’t have a gym nearby, climb the stairs, keep small weights in your desk, or go for a walk. You may also find your stress levels reduced and that you have more energy.
Make it a date
Find a friend, co-worker, or significant other to spend time with at the gym. Instead of a dinner date or happy hour, take a class together, do a partner workout, or go for a run.
While catching up on some of your favorite TV shows, add in a TV commercial break workout if you are strapped for time. I like to do my strength training in the evenings while watching my favorite shows. I even add in intervals on commercials to increase the intensity.
Remember to set realistic expectations of what can be done and don’t give up! Expect that there may be some days that you just can’t make it happen and that’s OK.
How do you fit exercise into your daily routine? Let us know in the comments below!