Once you’ve made the decision to get fit, one of the biggest challenges can be fitting your new exercise routine into a hectic lifestyle. Happily though scheduling your workouts doesn’t have to be stressful, in fact there are lots of fun ways you can make sure you incorporate exercise into your life without having to compromise anything.
Some people love a schedule and like to know exactly what they’re doing and when, while others prefer to be more flexible. However if time really is of the essence then make a fitness plan. Schedule every day of the week and it will help you focus in on when you can work out. Remember you should always be ready to be flexible because sometimes stuff just happens and you have to skip a session, but by writing out a plan it makes it seem more formal and you will be more likely to commit to it and stick to it.
One of the consequences of having a fitness plan is that you might quickly notice that you need to create a little more time to fit your exercise into your day. One solution is simply to set the alarm for 20-30 minutes earlier and do your workout before you head to work/school. That might be a quick run or perhaps a circuit session in the garden with weights at home. It’s a great energy-booster and will start your day with a healthy bang.
Alternatively make time at the end of the day if that suits you more. Some people really do prefer a trip to the gym after work so if that’s you, have a lie in and change your evening plans instead.
Another great way of fitting exercise into your regular schedule is by making your commute to work your workout. Walk to the office if you can rather than take the car. How about cycling to work? Or perhaps run to work if that’s feasible. Using the time when you might have been sat on a bus/train/car is an easy and extremely effective way of generating time to exercise that you didn’t think you had.
If you live miles from work then turning your commute into a workout isn’t practical, but how about using your lunch break to exercise? Instead of grabbing a sandwich at your desk, take your gym gear with you and either run or walk or go to the gym if there’s one at work or nearby. Alternatively you could play squash or badminton, go for a swim, or even a quick fitness class if facilities are close at hand. Even if there aren’t showers at the office, there could be a leisure centre close by where you could grab a shower before heading back to work.
Lunchtime workouts are a wonderful way of re-energising your day and the break from your laptop/computer/phone is mentally re-invigorating too. If none of the above sports appeal to you, then why not just go for a brisk walk? Getting out in the fresh air and upping that heart rate is all good news for your cardiovascular system and your general wellbeing.
Thanks to online workouts and a huge market of fitness titles, you don’t even have to step outside your front door to do a workout. Online programmes offer detailed advice and tips on what exercises to do and for which parts of the body. Fitness DVDs and TV channels offer a variety of workouts/routines and home gym equipment like dumbbells, kettle bells, mats, small weights and Swiss Balls, make it easy to organise your time and effort. It means there really isn’t any excuse not to work out and you can arrange your exercise around family/home life to suit you.
Walking everywhere rather than taking the car or bus is a cheap and easy alternative to hitting the gym every day. It costs nothing and the health benefits are huge. If you need to take public transport to work, why not get off the bus/train/tube/tram a few stops early and walk the rest of the way? If you buy a pedometer you can monitor how many steps you walk each day and calculate the calories burned.
Making arrangements to work out with your friends is another brilliant way of fitting exercise into your life. It’s motivating and inspiring to be with others who share your passion for fitness and if your friends are at a similar ability level, you can motivate each other to push on to new heights. Your group workouts can consist of team sports or you could opt to run/cycle together at a mutually convenient time.
From a practical point of view it’s a great way of keeping in touch and if you know that skipping a session runs the risk of letting others down, you are much less likely to do it. Even the most dedicated runners would admit that sometimes, just sometimes, the choice between a run in sub zero temperatures by themselves or a movie in the warm with friends ends with a stay at home runner.
Remember something is always better than nothing. Even if it’s only a half hour, getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes will always be better from a health and fitness perspective, than lying on the couch watching TV! That can be anything from a brisk walk to the shops to a frantic 30 minutes of housework. The key is always in burning calories and moving your body. You will feel better for it and look better for it too.