It is a known fact that exercise is an important thing that our bodies need to keep them moving and operating at full capacity. It is also known that there are only so many hours in the day. Though exercise is somewhat of a necessity as far as our health is concerned, it is easily one of the first things to go when the schedule fills up. Below are some tips for finding the time for exercise when your day is already overflowing with tasks, and your to-do list is bursting at the seams.
Schedule & Keep an Appointment
Many people rely on a calendar, day planner, app, etc. to remind them of appointment times and places and reference this means of organization many times each day to make sure they are keeping to task. If you are one of these people, add a workout to the schedule. By treating exercise as an appointment on a schedule, it is easier to respect the time set aside for it and participate in physical activity.
If you are having a hard time finding gaps to squeeze the exercise session into the schedule, analyze what else is marked as an appointment or what else you do throughout the day. Can anything be moved around to make room for a workout?
If not, think of ways to incorporate some physical activity into what you already have scheduled. In China, many of the higher up officials had large gardens, and important meetings were always conducted by walking through the gardens to keep outside ears from hearing what was being discussed. Instead of returning calls or joining conference calls in the office, try going for a walk as you talk. Hopping on the treadmill during a webinar, commuting to work via bicycle instead of a car if possible, or running errands are some other ideas for transforming something that is already on your schedule into a workout opportunity.
Don’t Waste Pre- and Post- Workout Time
Getting ready for a workout takes up some of the workout time if you are trying to exercise during a lunch break, conference call, or other work-related activity. Getting dressed and commuting to the workout location cuts into the time available to workout. Post-workout is even more strenuous on your short time when showering and redressing are involved. When trying to squeeze in a workday workout, some ingenuity and a different perspective may be needed to make it work.
First, consider where to workout. A commute is going to cut into your fitness time, so determine if there is any way to exercise on-site. Some offices are huge with a back staircase that isn’t used very often, some have conference rooms that can be blocked off and used to watch a workout video and exercise, and some have big parking lots that can be looped through for a walk. Think about the facility around you and how to transform it into a potential workout area to cut down on travel time and make the exercise worth it.
If working out during the workday just will not work for you, then consider early morning or evening workouts or transform a different part of your day into an exercise opportunity. Waiting to pick the kids up from school, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and watching t.v. can all be converted into a calorie-burning opportunity when you use a little creativity. Make the most of your time.
The next thing to consider is the amount of time it takes you to dress out before and shower after a workout. You could eat lunch in your office and continue working and take the break later in the day for some quick exercise. This could allow you to skip the shower because the workday would be all but over. Avoid late afternoon meetings and just return calls or do solo things in the afternoon. But, a more realistic option would be to favor less sweat-inducing exercises during the workday and forego the shower in favor of some baby wipes and reapplication of deodorant. You know your body and what exercise routines you can get away with during the workday and what exercises you can’t.
Make It Fun
Lastly, to stick to a fitness routine, it has to be something you enjoy. Exercise is not the most fun thing in the world, but we can make it something fun. Maybe you feel like you don’t get to see one of your friends enough. Choose an exercise plan that works for both of you, and now you see each other more and are improving your fitness. Maybe you are missing time with a new baby after going back to work. Pull out that stroller and gaze at that cute little face as you walk through the park after work. And maybe you love sports and choose to join a local team. Whatever you find fun and enjoyable, do it. By making exercise something we enjoy, we are more apt to stick with it.
It is hard to exercise when the schedule is already packed with activity, but using some innovation to change perspective can help to find opportunities for fitness in some not so typical places. By finding a fun activity and respecting its space on the calendar, exercise can be done and enjoyed.