Exercise is one of the most important ways to stay healthy. We all know we should be exercising for a number of hours every week to hit the government’s health guidelines. However, it can be hard to fit exercise into a busy schedule, and for many people heading to the gym or going for a run is just not something that is feasible to do at the end of a busy day. Read on to discover how you can fit exercise into your day, no matter how busy you are.
Making simple changes
There are lots of ways to fit exercise into a busy day. Many ways to do this include changing your lifestyle and taking decisions each day to make simple changes. For example, you could always take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, get off the bus a stop early so you have to walk the rest of the way, or make sure you stand instead of sitting whenever you can. By making simple changes, we can increase the amount of exercise we do, without even realising it.
In addition to these daily changes to sneak exercise into your life, it is also easy to exercise at home in various simple ways. Home exercises need not always be a formal mode of exercise such as working out to a fitness DVD. Home exercises can be simpler than this. You can use your food tins as make shift dumbbells. You can also use your furniture to act as gym equipment. For example, lean on the sofa arm or a table to do press ups, or tuck your feet under the armchair to help with sit ups.
Whenever you are talking on the telephone, make sure you stand up instead of sitting down. You can also pace the room to add more footsteps into your day, even while at home. Exercise at home means you can get fitter while doing your daily tasks and even while relaxing. You can stand while watching TV and body weight exercises are so easy to do they can be done at any time. For example, try doing a few squats while watching a film or use lunges as you walk about the house.
Home exercises are the ideal way to incorporate exercise into your life without it taking up any time out of your day. To exercise at home, you can even do squats while brushing your teeth or waiting for the kettle to boil. By exercising at home in simple ways whilst doing something else at the same time, that you would have done anyway, you can exercise quickly and easily. This means that no extra time is required to do any of these home exercises. In fact, there are lots of ten minute workouts that can be done at home by everyone to improve tone, fitness and flexibility.
The internet is also awash with fitness videos which are designed to be done in the home.
Many businesses now invest heavily in keeping their employees healthy, as they know the value of having them at work rather than being off sick. Some employers actively encourage their staff to keep fit like tracking office mileage as a collective goal while some offer healthy food and fruit on site and have taken to removing the vending machine to take temptation out of the equation.
Some employees are very lucky to have a gym on site that they can use, allowing them to either come in early to use it, go straight from your desk to the treadmill or even having a quick 30 minute session at lunch. Sometimes a gym at work is more appealing as it doesn’t mean going to two different locations or leaving your house in the evening when all you want to do is sit down and relax after a hard day in the office.
Even without all of these things it is still possible to exercise in the work place without even leaving your desk.
Make a routine
One main reason that people don’t feel that can fit exercise into their busy day, even when looking to exercise at home, is that they don’t have a routine in place. If you know when you are going to work out, it can be easier to fit it into your day. This is because you will automatically prepare yourself for the workout, if it is already pencilled into your day. The more of a routine you can get into with your exercise, the easier it will feel to fit it in. You could decide you are going to go to the gym on two evenings a week, for example, of head for a run on Sundays.
Every little helps
Remember you don’t need to run 5 miles to have a good workout. You can have a great workout in just 5 minutes, or even less. Exercise still counts whether it is 20 seconds or 2 hours. So why not split your exercise session into smaller chunks to make it more manageable? For example, you could try skipping at home in the morning for 3 minutes. Then run up and down the stairs for 3 minutes, then do some lunges and press ups for a couple of minutes. All of these small amounts of activity add up throughout the day. By doing small amounts of activity throughout the day, it never feels as though the exercise is taking up much time.
Here is an example of a 10 minute cardio session. Surely everyone can spare 10 minutes? It takes around 10 minutes for pasta to boil (depending on the brand you choose) so there’s your window.
High intensity training
Research has shown that exercise at higher intensities can be better for you than longer sessions at a lower intensity, sometimes referred to as Hiit training. So you could do some sprints for 30 seconds to raise your heart rate, or cycle hard for a minute, or swim at full effort for one minute. All of these short bursts of activity are great for burning fat. It is also possible to exercise at high intensity for short stretches at home. For example, get out the skipping rope, as this is a fantastic exercise that needs minimal space and you can get a great workout in just a few minutes.
When starting out exercising, if you have not been very active, you should consult your GP for a checkup, to make sure you are healthy and ready for exercise. Most of the time, your GP will encourage exercise at all ages, because research has shown you can extend your life by exercising and elderly people can live 5 years longer by getting active. In fact, exercise is as important as giving up smoking for improving your life expectancy.
Sometimes it can be the last thing you feel like doing, but exercise is so important for your health that it is vital that you make room for it in your busy day. There are a few ways to encourage yourself. You can leave your running shoes by the bed so they are the first thing you see on waking up. This encourages you to put them on and go out first thing. If you do it right away, then it is done for the day and nothing get in the way of doing it. It is also a good idea to lay out your workout clothes, so you don’t have to search for them. The easier it is to get ready to workout, the more likely you are to workout.
Another thing is to buy some attractive workout clothes. Although you don’t need to wear anything special and you can exercise in whatever you like, it can be a psychological boost to actually like the clothes you are wearing to exercise in. If you feel you look good in a certain colour, why not buy an exercise vest in that colour to make you feel good whenever you go for a workout.
Perhaps the most obvious way to make sure you fit exercise into your schedule is to make sure you actually enjoy the exercise session. It seems like a no-brainer, but lots of people spend hours doing an exercise they don’t like, because they feel like they should do it. Many people do not like the gym. If that is you, don’t go, choose something else. If you hate running, then don’t force yourself out there, find another way to exercise. There really is something to suit everyone, whether you are a team sports person or you prefer to exercise alone. For example, you can get great exercise in a short space of time doing many different things, from tennis to swimming, walking to gardening.
The most important thing is to pick an activity you truly enjoy. If you like doing it, then you are more likely to continue doing it. It does not even need to be an actual sport, so long as it is an activity that gets you breathing a little harder and working up a bit of a sweat, it is doing your heart and lungs good. Gardening is a great choice for many people to do as an exercise at home, while housework can also be great exercise. Many people find they prefer weight training to cardio workouts and it is always a good idea to try to do both throughout the week.