We all lead busy, busy lives. Some of us work multiple jobs with long hours, some of us have multiple kids, and some of us are even in school. But no matter how crazy your schedule is, finding time during the day to move your body is an absolute essential for health and longevity. In fact, in a new study done on more than 55,000 people found that for every unit of increase in aerobic capacity, individuals had a 14% decrease in risk for a sudden cardiac death event. The bottom line is that exercise (in addition to nutritional excellence, stress management, adequate hydration, proper sleep, and more) can literally save your life.
So if you’ve found that some days you’re unable to get a workout in no matter what you do, here’s how to make sure you find time. Just like you’d schedule an important business meeting, plan out your movement for the day, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes of exercise. Look at your schedule and determine those small (or even large) gaps of time where you can prioritize exercise.
Here are some critical steps to take:
- Use a daily or weekly planner to come up with a plan that works for you.Whether it’s a journal or an online calendar, having a good idea of when you can exercise is the most important first step.
- Then think through all the details:
- What equipment will you need…workout clothes, appropriate shoes, weights?
- Where will you workout…outside in your neighborhood, at a park, in the gym, with DVDs in your garage?
- What time will you workout?
- When do you feel best working out and what works best in your schedule?
Don’t just think about these questions, actually write out your answers!
Other quick tips:
- Try early morning workouts – you’ll be able to get it done before other things can come up to derail your plans.
- Layout your clothes and any equipment you need the night before so you won’t have to spend extra time looking for things which might eat into your workout time or cause you to skip the whole thing. This one simple action can be critical to your success!
- Put your workout schedule in your calendar, on your phone and on the fridge so you’re sure to be reminded of your commitment and those times will stay free of other activities. Make it a priority, just like an important business meeting would be.
- Have a backup plan! Have alternatives you can do if something changes. Maybe you planned to go for a run but it’s raining, you end up having a meeting run late at work or your child is home sick from school so you can’t go to the gym. If you make a list of other activities you can do if unexpected circumstances come up, you will be able to stay on track with only minor adjustments. And if something comes out last minute, reschedule your workout in your calendar!
- Look to others for motivation. If you’re having a hard time thinking about what to do or getting around to building a plan, talk to some friends, look to some role models, or find an online support group of people who have already successfully built activity into their lives. Find out what they do and how they do it…you might learn something new and get inspired!
Once you start to successfully find time to exercise on a regular basis, you’ll look back and realize that you could have been doing it all along! Your energy level will increase, your mood will improve, your skin will look better, your brain will function better, and of course you’ll fit better into your clothes. There’s absolutely no reason NOT to get some sort of exercise into your day. Plan it out, mix it up, and have fun with it!