Tips for fitting exercise into a busy schedule

thumbnail These days, it may feel almost impossible to find time to exercise in an already busy schedule.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day.  So, why is it some people find time to exercise daily, despite a busy schedule, and others not at all?  Here are suggestions to help incorporate exercise or movement into your day.

  1. Workouts don’t need to take up a large part of your day. Instead of thinking you need to spend hours in the gym, make your workouts short and efficient. You can accomplish the same amount of work in 15 minutes at a high intensity that you can in 30 minutes of moderate intensity.1  An example of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session is a Tabata, which is done by setting a timer for 20 seconds, and safely performing any cardiovascular exercise that you enjoy, such as spinning, jumping jacks, or sprints for the entire 20-second duration.  Rest for 10 seconds and then repeat 20 seconds of activity with 10 seconds of rest for eight full rounds.  You can do one exercise, or switch it up during each interval.  Repeat this 3-4 times and you have completed your workout for the day.
  2. Turn your commute into a workout by walking or riding your bike. Stash a clean pair of clothes at work and take only your essentials, such as identification, keys, and phone on your commute. If this is not possible, get off the bus or train a few stops before yours and walk the rest of the way.  Every calorie burned counts!  Be prepared and bring an extra pair of shoes to keep at your desk.
  3. Schedule your workouts and set reminders in your mobile device, computer or write it down on your calendar. Be very precise, including dates and times.  If working out first thing in the morning, set your clothes out the night before as a visual reminder. To save time, wear clean workout clothes to bed. Treat this appointment just like important doctor or dentist visits. Chances are, you wouldn’t miss other scheduled appointments, so make exercising one of those important appointments, too.
  4. Workout at work. Bring exercise tubing or dumbbells and incorporate 12-15 repetitions of bicep curls, triceps extensions, and overhead presses throughout your day.  Bring in a stability ball to address your core and lift your legs up and down (as if you were marching) as you sit at your desk.  Take advantage of your lunch break and fit in some physical activity by going for a brisk walk or jog, if time allows.
  5. Make family time active time by exploring creative ways to include physical activity. Instead of watching television or going to a movie, play an active game, go for a walk, try out a water park, or explore a new activity together.  You still have all the benefits of spending time with each other while creating new memories.  Also, try scheduling an active date with your significant other — find a new park to explore, go for a jog together, or find a sport you both enjoy.
  6. Get moving no matter what your age. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that exercise can improve memory and reverse muscle loss in older adults. As people age, they don’t get enough physical activity. According to Thomas Gill, a professor of geriatrics at Yale School of Medicine, showed in this study that walking reduced subsequent disability episodes.2

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Always be mindful and understand your own limits and always speak with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.

This article is for nutrition information purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any health concerns you may have. The information in this article is not intended to promote any specific product, or for the prevention or treatment of any disease. Highlights taken from studies should not be viewed as scientific fact, but rather as the author’s interpretation of a scientific study. The validity of study information is not guaranteed nor are the author’s views guaranteed to be aligned with those of the researchers that published the study. 

References

  1. Gibala, M. J. et al. Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance, J. Physiol. (Lond.) 575, 901–911 (2006).
  2. Thomas M. Gill, MD. Effect of Physical Activity on Mobility Outcomes. http://annals.org/aim/multimedia-player/13496180

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