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All in Good Time - Make Time for Exercise

Exercise is part of an athlete’s daily life, but even for the most seasoned competitor, it can sometimes be hard to stay on track when your schedule is tight.

For those who aren’t going for the gold, there are many reasons to get moving. A daily routine can help maintain weight, manage stress and mood, regulate sleep, and help you feel accomplished and empowered. According to the Mayo Clinic, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise in addition to two strength training sessions, per week. If you choose a moderate activity like a quick walk, that breaks down to about a half hour, five times per week. More intense activities like running, require about 75 minutes per week.

However, it is often hard to carve out time, because, well, life. Between work, family, cooking, cleaning, commuting, and waiting in line, it sometimes seems like a miracle when you see the inside of a gym. Here are a few tips on how to make time for exercise despite an ever growing to do list:  

Set your alarm early.

There is something to be said for getting it done early. The longer you wait during the course of a day, the more tired you will get and less motivated to lace up those sneakers. Instead of waiting until after work, try fitting in a workout before you go into the office. Set your alarm an hour earlier and go for a jog or even do an exercise tape in your living room. A short twenty-minute tape is great to fit in if pressed for time. You can always do a longer workout on the weekend. Getting in an early workout will give you a sense of accomplishment for meeting your goals early. Plus, it won’t be hanging over your head later when you clock out.

Get a fitness tracker.

You can make excuses for yourself but the computer on your wrist doesn’t lie. By keeping track of your daily steps, heart rate, calories, and other goals, this device can help keep you honest, and keep track of how you are meeting your mark each day.

Work it out.

If getting to work is always a race against the clock, why not make it one? Instead of sitting still in bumper to bumper traffic, hop on your bike or strap on some rollerblades and whiz by the long line of commuters. You may get there faster and you will get your heart rate going on the way. If driving is the only option, consider parking further away from your office, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Every little bit helps. If you really want to make the most of your time, try out a standing desk. A University of Chester study found that standing during the day, rather than sitting, not only burns more calories but standing three to four hours a day is equivalent to running 10 marathons a year.

Lunchtime workout.

Have an hour or so for lunch at work? No time like the present to get some quick exercise in. If your company has a gym, head down for a quick walk or run. If not, try a walk outside or a bike ride. It will energize you more than that 3 pm double macchiato.

You only have thirty minutes to get in a workout but you need to fit in both cardio and strength training? If you haven’t got time for the train, think again. Try combining shirt bursts of cardio with dumbbells in a HITT workout. Or try multitasking while on the treadmill – bring hand weights with you on the walk.

Buddy up.

If you work out with someone else, you have someone to keep you accountable. Whether that means meeting a friend for a run or making dates for a long hike, you will have someone to get you going and keep you at it. It also doubles as your social time, which according to Scientific American, is an important part of a healthy and happy life. You can make your social time a Soul Cycle class instead of happy hour at the bar.

Make it a family affair.

If you have a brood to take care of, make exercise an activity that everyone can do together. They will have the time of their life and not even realize they are working up a sweat. Start a game of tag, ball, or Frisbee. Get those outdoor chores in, like raking and gardening. Have them help with the housework like vacuuming and mopping. Have little ones too young to put to work? Take a powerwalk with the stroller.

Sweat while you stream.

If you are just browsing the internet aimlessly or flipping channels, power down and powerwalk. There are physical activities you will find more beneficial and more rewarding in the long run. Not willing to give up the tube? You can work out while watching your favorite show. Instead of ‘Netflix and Chill’, try Netflix and drills. Work on your core while bingeing House Of Cards. Listen to that podcast while on a hike. Or return your phone calls while taking a walk. Just keep moving.

Book it.

Make an appointment to exercise like you would a doctor’s appointment. Add it to your calendar so you can physically see it. You can even set an alarm to remind you and you’ll be moving in no time. If you find that a certain time works for you, then be consistent about it so you won’t slack off.

Make it fun.

Maybe you weren’t born to run. If it seems like a punishment, you will most likely come up with excuses. Find a workout you enjoy, whether it is a favorite spin class, an aerial class, a fun dance class, or something else that challenges you and keeps you motivated. If you look forward to it, you are less likely to skip the workout.

Go easy.

Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout. It’s easy to start thinking that missing one day wipes out the good that the rest of the week can do. This will lead you to give up. You can make up for lost time if you get back on track the next day.