10 From GEM:
10 Tips To Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Day
For about 10 of you, when you hear the word exercise, your first thought is, YAY! For the rest of us, the first thought is, UGH! We all know we should get moving. We’ve heard for years about the benefits of physical activity (is there even a downside to exercise?); and, yet, actually applying what you know to your extremely busy daily life is another thing altogether. So, what are you to do? Start with these 10 tips to figure out how you can fit exercise into your day, every day.
1. ELIMINATE EXCUSES
There will always be a reason why you can’t exercise, and all of them will be really good reasons. But all those reasons are just excuses. As my fellow GEM contributor, Ella, has been saying lately, “Every problem has a solution.” Let’s say one of the reasons you don’t exercise is because you have to pick up the kids from school. Can somebody else can pick them up? Could they attend an afterschool program? Is it possible for them to ride the bus or walk home? Obviously, you have to find the solutions that work for your problems, but there is a way to work around everything.
2. MAKE EVERY MOMENT COUNT
Your time is valuable to you, so make the times you’re active anyway work in your favor. Doing things like parking in the back of the lot and walking, using the stairs instead of the elevator, and going for a walk during your lunch break all add up to calories burned and a healthier body.
3. EXERCISE WITH YOUR KIDS
This will mean something different for each person, depending on the number of kids you have and their ages, but it is possible to get a good workout while playing with your kids—something you were going to do anyway, right? Babies and toddlers can go in a stroller while you walk or run. With older kids, you can play hide and seek; tag; red light, green light; and red rover. Shoot hoops in the driveway. Head out to an open field for kickball. Grab the whole family for football in the backyard.
4. WORK INSIDE AND OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE
You have to clean anyway, right? Here’s your opportunity to do double duty. Clean with a new purpose. If it takes 20 minutes to vacuum your whole house, see if you can move faster—i.e. get fit and burn more calories—and do it in 17 minutes. Instead of leaving some jobs, like yard work, for somebody else, do them yourself. If you’re moving at a pace that will elevate your heart rate, nearly every cleaning activity can qualify as exercise.
5. WAKE UP 20 MINUTES EARLIER
People make excuses about working out in the morning because they don’t want to get up early to do it. But the longer a workout is postponed, the less likely it is to get done. Something will come up. Better to get it done in the morning, especially since the benefits will carry you through the day. Instead of trying to wake up an hour earlier than your usual time, try 20 minutes earlier. Have your workout gear ready to go so you don’t waste time trying to find everything. If you’re just starting out and need to put a toe in the water, keep your workout simple.
6. LIMIT MEDIA CONSUMPTION
Can you watch a little less television and go online a little less to make time for exercise? Almost everybody can, especially if most of the reason to use the TV and Internet is for entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with winding down at the end of a long day, but try to use a slice of that time to exercise. Better still, shut everything down and go to sleep earlier so you can get up to exercise.
7. MAKE EXERCISE PART OF YOUR ROUTINE
The primary reason it’s so tough to make time to exercise is that you’re not used to doing it. Once it becomes part of your daily routine, it won’t even occur to you not to do it. Start to think of exercise as part of your day, just like getting ready for work or cooking dinner for your family. All it takes is a few weeks for a new habit to form and a few more for it to really stick. On January 7, I started a weight loss and health journey. I get up at 5:00 AM to exercise six days a week. It was hard in the beginning, but I simply don’t think about it anymore. It’s just what I do and, amazingly, it feels like part of my identity. I’ve lost 24 pounds and still losing.
8. DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE
If you don’t enjoy your exercise program, you’re not going to do it. Don’t set yourself up for excuses and failure by choosing something you don’t like or won’t work for you. One of my friends tried running. Even with a sports bra, she was uncomfortable and swore off all exercise because she hated the way running made her feel. Eventually, she started walking on the beach and she loves it. There are many avenues to fitness. Try many things and find your bliss.
9. CLEAN YOUR PLATE
Fitness is just as important as all the other things that have to get done. After all, being fit is what keeps you healthy and well and enhances your ability to do for yourself and others. If you take a look at your plate of activities, you will likely find things on it that you could clean off. We are busy because of the choices we make. Make a choice to clear your plate of the activities that don’t contribute to your life. Add exercise in its place.
Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Ways To MAKE Your Own Luck
10. TRY MENTAL TRICKS
If being fit were your job, would you skip it? If your life depended on daily exercise, would you do it? Well…your life does depend on your health! Imagining that exercise is your job or playing “what if” games with yourself may encourage you to make time for exercise.
Read more: Ask Rene: I Need Help But Where Do I Start?
How do you make time for your health and wellness with exercise? We want to know! Share your tips below.
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Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is a stay at home mom and writer who loves all things chocolate. Read more about Alexis on her blog lilliebelle.org, email her at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5.