Squeezing in just a few minutes of physical exercise a day has huge benefits on your health, gives you energy and perks up your mood. In fact, a new study published by The Lancet found that if inactive people increased their physical activity by just 15 minutes per day, they could reduce their risk of death by 14% and increase their life expectancy by three years. Also please remember that working out does not have to be in a gym or last an hour. 10 minutes bursts of exercise over the course of the day can add up to big fitness and health gains too.
So you still are not convinced that you have the time to exercise? Here are some pointers on how to fit in exercise into your busy, hectic life.
- Wake up earlier - sleep is definitely important to overall health and weight loss, but could you hit the sheets just 30 minutes earlier, so that you could get up and exercise just 30 minutes before you begin your day? Working out in the morning has definite benefits including regulating your appetite, boosting energy and probably the most beneficial thing is that your exercise is check off for that day 1st thing! Because really, how often have you had the best intentions to make that workout in the evening, but been held up at the office, or something come up with the kids, or find yourself too exhausted after the stress of the day! By working out 1st thing in the morning your time problem is solved.
- Cut down on media - For just a few days log how much time you spend watching TV, on the Internet, checking email, playing video games. You might be surprised at how much time is eaten up by these activities these days. You might be surprised how much time is spent on Angry Birds or Facebook. Just a few minutes here or there can add up to a whole hour or more each day. Cut out just some of that screen time an Viola you have workout time for 10 - 15 minutes even on the busiest of days.
- Be an Active TV watcher - don't just sit on the sofa, do some jumping jacks at the commercials, sit on stability ball and do some crunches or just dance, move try not to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Try an active commute - if you can bike to work, or walk to the store, take the bus - walk to the bus stop, if you do take the bus, get off a stop or two before you need to and walk the rest of the way. If you drive to work park as far away as you can and walk.
- Make it part of your routine - one reason it is so hard to fit into our busy schedules is because we are not used to doing it. Heck, it takes time to brush your teeth in the morning but you do it don't you? You brush your teeth because it is important to your overall health and it has become second nature. Try this with exercise, make it routine, whether it is walking your dog, yoga, running, walking or Zumba and my favorite swimming. Make it a tradition, like hitting the Starbucks each morning, or showering. When you incorporate it into your daily routine like hygiene you take the process away from willpower and make it habit.
- Mix socializing with working out - plan events with family and friends that get you moving. Go for a hike, play a game of tag football, make a date on the treadmill.
- Turn chores into exercise. While cleaning might not be the most fun activity, it's something we all have to do, and it can definitely be a workout if you want it to be. Set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and see how much of the house you can clean. Try to be as efficient and quick-paced as possible, and I guarantee you'll work up a sweat. If you're doing lighter housework that is harder to get your heart rate up (like laundry or organizing), throw in some lunges or push-ups every few minutes to start feeling the burn!
- Schedule an appointment. If you had scheduled a doctor's appointment, you wouldn't miss it would you? How about that important business meeting? Of course not. Working out is actually as important as going to the doctor or any other obligation that you prioritize, because it helps you perform better as a worker, parent, student or volunteer, and keeps you in tip-top shape. So whether it's scheduling in an hour to go to that group exercise class, investing in personal training sessions or even making a date with yourself to do that workout DVD over your lunch break, write it in pen in your calendar and treat it like any other appointment you can't miss!
- Find an activity you love. Think of your favorite hobby or pastime. Do you have trouble finding time to do it? Most likely, you make time for it because you enjoy it so much. It's the things we don't enjoy that we put off and don't feel bad about missing. That's why it's best to choose a physical activity that you actually enjoy and look forward to. Not only are you more likely to do it, but it also adds more fun into your life. And we all could use some more fun in our busy lives, right?
- Say no. If you've gone through this entire list of tips and don't think a single one will work in your life, then it's time to look at your priorities and responsibilities. Do you really have to bake cookies for that fundraiser? Babysit for your sister? Take on that extra project at work? Attend that wedding shower of your second cousin? Remember that there's nothing wrong in saying no.Yes we all have obligation to others, but do not forget about your OBLIGATION to YOURSELF to take care of your body and your health.