by Kathy Mead, M.S., ACSM EP-C
Do you have a hard time finding time to exercise? Do you feel as though everything else takes priority in your life? Are you frustrated and feel like you’ll never be a “regular” exerciser?
NEVER FEAR! You’re not alone! You likely have time, but the hard part is fitting it in.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of cardiovascular exercise for heart health, BUT you can do as little as 10 to 15 minutes of activity to count towards that goal AND still reap health benefits (www.heart.org).
Here are a few tips to help fit fitness into your busy schedule.
YOGA IN THE MORNING
Since you can do as little as 10 minutes per bout of activity to count towards your goal of 150 minutes per week, get up just 15 minutes early before the day begins. There are a TON of great yoga videos on YouTube. Try “Yoga with Adriene”. She is awesome! And you won’t even need coffee anymore to get you going, I swear. There are no drawbacks to this routine.
Then, walk 10 minutes at lunch or on a break and 10 minutes when you get home. Voila! You just got 30 minutes of movement in your day without feeling like you had to block off a large amount of time! Go you!
LUNCH AND MOVE!
Whether you get 30 minutes or 60 minutes for lunch, take advantage of some of that time to move your body. Go for a walk outside, walk up and down the stairs, or find an empty conference room to do pushups, squats, and situps. Who cares if someone sees you!
Recruit colleagues. You know they need to move too! After sitting all day, getting your blood flowing again will give you that extra energy to blast through the rest of your workday! We could all use time away from our desks too.
HAVE CHILDREN? TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR PRACTICE OR GAME TIMES
Do your kids play soccer? Baseball? While they’re practicing or playing a game, there’s no reason you can’t walk around the field as you cheer them on! Take advantage of that outdoor time. Recruit other parents to walk with you. Get some exercise while your kids are doing the same!
YOU’RE NOT A COUCH POTATO
Game of Thrones is back, and Jon Snow wants you to put down that cupcake!
GET OFF THE COUCH! Be active while watching TV. Commercial breaks are a great time to use those hand weights you bought for Christmas last year.
Or multitask! Ride a stationary bike or do a stretching routine. Clear up some space between the couch and the TV so you don’t miss anything while breaking a sweat.
Need some extra motivation? Stash those dumbbells, jump rope, and other fitness tools near the tube to give yourself visible reminders.
MAKE IT FUN!
Most importantly, make fitness fun and it won’t feel like exercise. Cliché but true. Turn on some music and dance around the living room by yourself, with your roomie or with your family! Do squats while you’re waiting for the water to boil for dinner.
Instead of meeting friends for happy hour, why not take advantage of the longer daylight and meet for a walk after work? Whatever sounds like fun, DO IT! The opportunities are endless. The key is being active. Period.
Remember, you don’t have to commit a large chunk of time to exercise. It’s more about consistency and commitment. Find something that makes sense in your life. Something that’s fun and you can participate in regularity. Get your friends involved. Or, make some new ones. Just move your body! It WILL thank you!