As we all already know, exercise is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies (as important as nutrition). It allows us to live better on several aspects such as physically, psychologically, and it is, believe it or not, a very effective preventative medicine for our bodies.
But some of us have a terribly busy schedule, is it worth the extra effort? After pointing out some of the benefits that exercise has in our lives in my previous paragraph the answer to if it’s worth the extra effort is: ABSOLUTELY! The importance of exercise in our lives is often far too underestimated.
So how do we do it? If it’s so important, how can we possibly fit something so vital in on a hectic life? Here are some tips to help you on how to fit exercise in on a busy schedule.
Slowly Build a Habit
I know this may seem obvious and it may also seem like this is the one thing we’re trying to find the answer to when trying to fit exercise into our schedules. In my How to Stay Consistent with Exercise article I go over 5 guidelines which will help you with (you guessed it) staying consistent, thus, building a habit.
You’re first priority when forming a habit is focusing on actually doing the activity rather than how you perform the activity. I’m not saying that the quality of your exercise is negligible. The quality and the amount of time you put to your workout are VERY important factors but in order to build the habit, you want to start with actually doing the activity (safely) whether you’re great at it or not.
The duration of your exercise is also not too important at the beginning, it can be as small as a 30-minute workout. Once you’ve become accustomed to this habit, THEN you can focus on extending the amount of time of the workout while also improving the quality.
Starting out slowly is also a very important part to building a habit because it prevents you from getting injured. If you get injured, you won’t be doing that 30-minute workout for a while thus prolonging the amount of time it takes you to build a habit.
When I first started working out, I started off doing simple home-workouts like push-ups, sit-ups, air-squats and lunges for 40 minutes to an hour at the same time of day, 5 days a week. I will admit that at the beginning I felt a little lazy at times to do this but I stuck with it. I also had an alert on my phone every day Mon-Fri to remind me of my exercise time. Eventually I became accustomed to the fact that at 4 o’clock every day I had to do my 40-minute home workout.
Once I got used to the habit of exercising I then got a membership at a gym and increased the intensity of my workouts on a daily basis knowing that my membership was not going to go to waste. If you aren’t in the habit of working out, don’t even bother with the gym membership until you’ve solidified a habit, it’s just a waste of money. I go over this in my Is a Gym Membership Worth It article.
Consider Morning Workouts
Waking up early in the morning may seem like a workout itself but learning to cope with this morning indolence becomes an extremely important key to fitting exercise into our busy daily schedules.
Most people work full-time or have exhausting jobs and by the time they’re out of work might lack the energy to hop into a workout and would rather hop into bed. This can be avoided by waking up earlier than normal and performing a workout before work.
In fact, quite a few benefits come from waking up early in the morning to exercise including better focus throughout the day, more overall energy, blood glucose control, and more! If you work a night job consider performing your workout simply before you head to work.
To facilitate the process, prepare for your morning routine the night prior, right before you go to bed. Set out your gear, supplements, clothes and anything else you’ll be using so that you don’t have to deal with the hassle in the morning. Morning workouts might just be the perfect key for you; the only hard part is getting used to your new designated time of ‘rise & shine’.
Waking up in the morning takes a strong determination; when we’re too busy throughout the day we have to learn to cope with this and find a way around obstacles, which leads me to my next point…
Make Time, Don’t Find Time
Think about how you tend to make time for things that are really important to you. Even when you get home after work and sit down in front of the TV. Times like these could be very beneficial to you if you allow yourself to perform a workout instead. Instead of spending 30 minutes on social media, get on the floor and do some lunges, squats and/or push-ups for 30 minutes.
Go on a 20-minute jog or perform a 15-minute HIIT session on your break at work or school. Got some free time and you weren’t able to finish that workout earlier? Finish it off now that you have some free time instead of goofing off on your phone.
When I first started working out, I would put my phone in airplane mode and turn the music on so that I wasn’t tempted to check my phone during my workout. Checking your phone constantly during a workout (which a lot of people do) immensely slows you down and will either not allow you to finish the workout or make it take forever.
Learn to make time for your personal fitness, you’ll be surprised at the amount of free time you actually have available for exercise.
Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Activities
If you’re the rare person that LITERALLY cannot fit exercise into your schedule think about incorporating exercise into your daily routines.
Such examples could be:
- Always take the stairs
- Get up and walk around for a few minutes
- Bike to work
- Run to work
- Park far from your destination
- Stand up often
- Walk outside your building
These are ways to keep you moving in the case that you literally have no opportunity to exercise in your day. Keeping movement incorporated into your daily routine (especially if you have an office job) is much better for you than having very little movement at all throughout your day.
Also, if this is your case, you want to pay very careful and special attention to your diet. It’s very easy to develop an unhealthy body which is prone for many detrimental illnesses if you have very little movement throughout your day and a very poor diet.
The Sum Up
Fitting exercise into your schedule is surprisingly easier than many of us make it to be. Once you put the consistent determination to turn your exercise time into a habit you’ll realize how much available time you actually have towards fitness.
Prioritizing exercise over time spent on unproductive activities becomes an essential key to keeping exercise as part of your daily routine. You will find that making time for your exercise instead of finding time will be a better outlook for you to incorporate a regular workout routine.
Be strict on yourself and make your exercise time non-negotiable. The person who literally has 0 free time on their hands for a small 20 to 30-minute session of exercise is rare but definitely possible. If this shoe fits you, think about ways that you can incorporate exercise into your routine so that you can still maintain a higher than normal level of activity but also pay special attention to your diet.