The scourge of modern day living is that we never seem to have enough time – for anything. Despite more and more labor and time saving gadgets, from increased car ownership to internet shopping – all designed to save us time, we still seem short of it.
Nowadays, our lifestyles are frequently a constant whirl of activities and we rush from one to the other, barely pausing for breath. One of the problems is the lack of available time for the most important activity for good all-round and long-term health – exercise. Very often it’s exercise that gets sidelined in favour of other things because ‘we’re just too busy’.
Making time for exercise is important, so if you’re struggling to fit exercise into your life, help is at hand – here are our top tips to help you integrate exercise into your life, even on the busy days.
With traffic congestion ever on the increase, combining exercise with your commuting trips to and from work can not only save you a trip to the gym later, but it can also reduce your commuting time.
Walking a mile and a half at the beginning and end of your working day wins on every level…
- It only takes about 25 minutes.
- It counts towards your recommended weekly cardiovascular exercise quota of 5 sessions of 20 minutes or more.
- It burns off the equivalent of up to half-a-pound of body fat a week.
Cycling is very efficient exercise and enables you to cover greater distances. Plus, you can get a better workout in the same time frame.
If you have shower facilities at work, perhaps try jogging a couple of times a week or even easier, a jog home brings in a quality workout.
Super-setting is a great technique to save time in the gym. Used correctly, it can cut your exercise time by 50% yet still give you the same results. Instead of having rest periods between two sets of an exercise, you select an alternative exercise that rests the muscle that you’ve just trained, and exercises the opposite one, before you complete your second set.
For example, alternate exercises for:
- Chest and upper back.
- Stomach and lower back.
- Front and back of upper arm.
- Front and back of thigh.
This circuit training is great for a gym workout and combines cardiovascular and resistance training in one fast-paced and supremely effective session. Try out the sample program below:
- Start with a cardiovascular (CV) warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Complete three sets of different resistance exercises for different muscle groups, without a break, for example:
- Chest press
- Lat pulldown
- Leg press
- Upright rows
- Move straight onto a piece of cardiovascular equipment for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Choose three more resistance exercises and keep alternating with cardiovascular training as before.
- Finish with an easy, relaxed cool-down.
Activity for life
Being fit and healthy isn’t all about living at the gym or running marathons. Building activity into your life is a great way to keep fit without encroaching on precious time. Think about the following exercise inclusive strategies to help improve your fitness and save your time:
- A family weekend activity such as a woodland walk is a great opportunity to spend time together and also enjoy the benefits of some exercise.Walking
- Any sport – almost every sport requires physical fitness and there are a host of sports where you can build and improve your fitness as you learn the activity. Why not choose a new sport that you’ve always fancied trying and use it to improve your fitness as well?
Exercise and television
It sits in the corner of everyone’s lounge and we all watch it. But you can still enjoy your favourite shows and improve your fitness. Flexibility is the most neglected component of fitness and relaxing with a routine of all over stretches can easily be carried out whilst you tune into your regular soap operas!
Always make sure that you are well warmed up before you start and then simply ease into each stretch in the comfort of your own home. You’ll not only save specific training time, you’ll also find that your other workouts are more effective as your flexibility improves, as well as making you feel loose, supple and relaxed.
Make every training session count
When you workout, it is easy to slip into a rut and ‘go through the motions’. That could mean reading a book on an exercise bike or carrying out exercises without any real structure or focus. Although you get some training benefits, the problem is that you’re not maximizing your training time. The solution is each session a quality session, where you really put in the effort. The big advantage here is that because you are going for quality, you will find that you can do fewer training sessions and get either the same or even better results, thereby saving time.
Plan and organise your exercise
One of the keys to success in any field is to be organised – that way you are more efficient and you save time. Exercise is no different. You don’t need to be overly regimented, simply thinking in advance about how and when you can fit some exercise into your day will make a big difference. Why not try packing your gym bag the night before and taking it to work so that you can stop off for your workout on the way home? That way you save unnecessary traveling time.
Make the most of your lunch hour
Lunchtime can be an excellent opportunity to get an exercise session in. It could be a brisk walk in the park, a cycle ride or perhaps a quick gym visit followed by a sandwich at your desk. If you have an hour for lunch, with some planning you could squeeze a 30-minute session between traveling and showering and still be back before the hour is up.
Conclusion to time saving exercise
The key to saving time for exercise is to want to do it. Setting yourself a goal or challenge will help you concentrate on what is important to you and it will help you focus on incorporating exercise into your life. Communicate your goal to family and friends so that they can ‘buy-in’ to your commitment and help out with tasks and chores. Time for you is important and with some careful planning, everyone can tap into some of the exercise strategies above. Try out a few of the time-saving ideas and before you know it, your new exercise routine will have become something of a habit – and a fun and healthy one too.