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As responsibilities grow, making time for ourselves becomes a thing of the past. With to-do lists that never end, it’s not uncommon for exercise to eventually fall off of the list. But with the number of health benefits offered by regular exercise, you might want to reconsider making it a higher priority.
Here are 6 benefits of regular exercise:
- helps to manage weight
- prevents or manages a wide range of health problems
- improves mood
- boosts energy levels
- promotes better sleep
- provides an opportunity to unwind and socialize with family and friends
So, whether it is working out in short bursts, finding something you love, or just holding yourself accountable, it’s important to find ways to get some physical activity on a regular basis – even if your schedule is packed.
Not sure where to start?
Here are some things you can try to ensure exercise becomes a part of your regular routine:
One of the best ways to ensure that you get your daily dose of physical activity is to do it first thing in the morning. This means that your workout will take priority and you won’t be exhausted from the day’s events.
Exercising in the morning also helps to energize you throughout the day. A quick jog before breakfast, a few jumping jacks at the computer, or a few minutes of weight lifting should do the trick to exercise and have a better day.
Break it Up into Manageable Pieces
Many people skip exercising because they simply don’t have a large block of time to go to the gym or engage in physical activity. Instead of waiting until you have a full hour to exercise, you can work out in short, 15-minute bursts. This allows you to get your fitness time in between work and other appointments. Try 15 minutes of exercise in the morning before breakfast, brisk walking on your lunch break, and a quick run after dinner.
Make Lifestyle Changes that Include Exercise
Making simple lifestyle changes is an excellent way to get in your daily exercise, even if you lead a busy life. If you live in a city with public transportation, walk to the nearest bus stop or train station to get in a short walk before work. Park farther away from the door in the office parking lot, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Buy an exercise bike and ride it while you watch television in the evening, or volunteer to take the kids to the playground in the evenings. There are many small changes you can make that will help you to schedule fitness into your daily life.
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Do What You Love
Many people view exercise as a chore and are more likely to skip it if they are pressed for time. Find a physical activity that you love and commit to doing it several times a week.
If basketball is your thing, schedule a few hours a week to get in time on the court. Perhaps you like to dance—join a Zumba class and get sweaty to your favorite tunes. You can join a sports league, play tennis, or go for a dip at the community pool. There is always time to do fun things that you love, so use these activities as a way to work exercise into your normal routine.
Form a Team of Like-Minded Individuals
You can join social groups that are centered around exercise and combine your fitness routine with your social calendar. There are many running groups, biking groups, and exercise groups that can help you get motivated to exercise.
Many of these groups are tailored to working people and are scheduled around those with hectic lives. These groups are mainly concentrated in heavily-populated areas, but you can start one of your own if there is not one nearby.
Just Do Something
Doing something is better than doing nothing at all, so don’t worry if your exercise routine is not perfect at first. Instead of committing to five days a week at the gym, start with one day and gradually work your way up once you’ve found a routine that works with your schedule. If you are tired and can’t fathom spending an hour at the fitness center, decide to do 30 minutes of exercise at home instead. Not sure 30 minutes sounds realistic? Start with 15 minutes the first week, 20 minutes the next, and add time as you get in the habit. The key is to create a habit of exercise that will be hard to break.
Exercise More Efficiently
On the flip side, doing intense activity for a short duration just might be the key to keeping you on track. Instead of working out three times a week for an hour, try working out five to seven days a week for 20-30 minutes a day. This way you can get your exercise in and move on to other activities as needed.
Track Your Progress
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Consider using an activity tracker to keep track of how much you are exercising and how that fits in with your goals. There are many great applications that you can use on your computer or your phone that will help you to set and reach your fitness goals.
Set a Goal with an End Date
In order to achieve a goal, there has to be an end date in mind. Sign up for a 5K, plan to run a half marathon, or compete in a friendly challenge with others trying to reach a similar goal.
The key is to set a date by which you will achieve your goal. Create milestones that will allow you to mark your progress along the way and reward yourself for tiny successes. By setting a goal date, you will be more motivated to fit exercise into your schedule, even if you are busy.