Tips to Fitting Exercise Into Your Busy Schedule

Keeping the Commitment, Reducing the Load

How many times have you ended the weekend ready to take on the week and told yourself, “I’m committing to working out this week,” only to find yourself struggling for opportunities in the middle of your busy schedule? Maybe you only have 30 minutes of free time during the day. Maybe the one free hour you have each day is stolen by traffic-filled commutes to the gym. Or maybe you just promise to do it after a busy day of work, only to trade it in for your well-deserved decompression time on the couch before starting dinner for the family. Whatever the case, you may find there are some loopholes, and creativity, that can help you get there.  
When it comes to fitting exercise into your daily routine, a good place to start is finding your “why.” Whether you’re looking to improve your physical appearance, need a stress reliever, or just wanting to improve your overall health for longevity, it’s important to find what motivates you. If you’re unsure why, but know that you should, here’s a reason. The recommended amount of moderate physical activity for each individual is a minimum of 30 minutes a day. This alone can increase your energy, improve your mood, and even help you live longer. It can also improve your sleep, which can help your overall productivity throughout the day.  
Now that we’ve covered the why, let’s talk about what really brought you here: the how. Let’s face it – finding the time, and the motivation, in the middle of a busy week can be a struggle. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Physical activity does not always have to mean heavy lifting, long runs, or even going to the gym. Now, if you’re wanting to become a professional body builder or marathon runner, this might require some big schedule changes. But for the rest of us who are looking to improve and maintain our overall health, here are some tips to maximize your time with the gaps in your schedule.  

1. Go for a walk first thing in the morning, and immediately after dinner 

Physical activity can be as simple as going for a walk, and you don’t need to complete it all at once. Maybe your morning routine consists of sitting down to have coffee or tea before leaving for work. Try using that time to step outside for a short walk, even if it’s just around the block. You can even take your coffee with you! This way, you can start your day already having cut into your minimum 30 minutes a day; and the bonus? This can significantly increase your sleep pattern, but I’ll save that for another time. You can use this same trick after dinner. A simple sunset walk can help you finish your 30 minute goal for the day, help with digestion, and improve your sleep.  

 2. Maximize your lunch break  

Do you ever spend your lunch break sitting in the break room, scrolling through your phone? This is a perfect time for a walk! Stepping out of the office and into the fresh afternoon air can be a great mental reset in the middle of a busy workday; and it can help you reach your goal. Maybe you still want to spend half of your break relaxing at your desk or in the break room; I know I would. Combine your lunch walk with the morning and sunset walk, and before you know it, you’ve reached your 30-minute goal without the need for a schedule change.  

3. Yardwork and housework  

This one may seem a bit untraditional when talking about exercise but remember we’re rethinking how we view physical activity in order to maximize our time. The guidelines for the daily minimum amount of exercise say every physical activity you do throughout your day counts, including household chores and yardwork. But let’s consider the pace at which this is done. If you typically clean the house without any urgency, try speeding it up a little. This will not only increase the number of calories you burn but will also give you some extra free time by finishing your tasks quicker. Consider it takes you 30 minutes to tidy up the house, and you add in those few extra walks around the block. Altogether, that’s an hour of physical activity added to your routine without having to adjust your schedule. Now you’re just an overachiever!  

4. Perform simple exercises while watching your favorite show  

I don’t know about you, but at the end of a busy day, I look forward to my much-needed decompression time. Whether that’s watching a show on Netflix or scrolling through social media, it’s nice to turn your brain off and relax before bed. Maybe you promised your kids you’d watch a movie with them every Friday night. This is where creativity comes in. Try performing simple exercises while you watch. This could be squats, push-ups, sit-ups, or any other body weight exercise. If you have a treadmill, try walking or jogging while you watch. If you want to take it another step further, find your new favorite show, and commit to only watching while you’re on the treadmill. I can say from my own experience, there were times where I surprisingly stayed on the treadmill longer than I intended to.  

5. Small changes add up  

Remember when I said every physical activity you do throughout your day counts? This is where that can really come into play. Instead of taking the elevator at the office, head for the stairs. Maybe you typically catch an Uber to meet a client for lunch; pick somewhere local within a walkable distance. Taking the metro to and from work? Try getting off at a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way. One small change might not seem like much but combine several small changes over the course of your day, then over the course of a week, and you’ll be well over your goal before you know it! 

Incorporating exercise into your daily routine doesn’t have to be a hassle, and the benefits of physical activity extend far beyond just physical appearance. Improved energy, mood, sleep, and longevity are all excellent benefits to incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine. Remember, don’t underestimate the power of small changes. So, start small, get creative, and see how quickly those small changes add up to significant improvements in your overall health and wellness! 

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