Exercise is important. We all know that. But how do you make it a part of your lifestyle? How do you fit it into an already over-crowded schedule?
In the 10 plus years I worked as a personal trainer I had to answer this question possibly more times than any other. Both for clients and for friends who were wanting to get in shape. Not everyone finds it easy but those who do manage to make exercise a part of their life would never consider stopping.
Here are some simple strategies that I’ve picked up over the years which will help you find the time to exercise and make movement a part of you.
1. Do Less
The first thing anyone who wants to develop a new habit should think about is doing less. Make some space for it. Clear away all the unnecessary clutter and commitments from your daily routine and you automatically free up time for exercise. It’s surprising how much time we throw away on inane activities – time that could be spent on something more important – and if you take a look at how you spend your days you’re sure to find a thing or two that you can eliminate and won’t miss when they’re gone.
2. Change Your Thinking From Exercise To Movement
Some people erect lots of obstacles around exercise and as a result think that it has to be this big event that takes up hours of the day. But it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t need a big fanfare and it doesn’t need to upset your life. If you think in terms of movement instead of exercise then you can find plenty of ways to integrate it into your routine. How can you move more? By stretching in bed in the morning. By doing Tai Chi in the shower. By cycling to work instead of taking the car. By circling your arms and shoulders while sitting in your office chair. By taking the stairs instead of the escalator. There are so many opportunities to move during the day that you’ll be exercising without even thinking about it.
3. The 100 Rep Challenge
Rannoch Donald, an Edinburgh based fitness coach, came up with the brilliant concept of the 100 Rep Challenge. It is centered around you completing 100 reps of any move or sequence of moves every day. This easily achievable goal is one of the best starting points for those who have yet to cultivate the exercise habit. It doesn’t take up much time at all and if you give it a try you’ll soon find you are reaching much further than 100 reps. Just pick a move or create a little routine then shoot for 100 Reps. Then, do it everyday. Sounds simple but the habit it develops is profound.
4. Set Your Alarm Early
One of the best times to exercise is first thing in the morning. Before you start work. Before you check email. Before the stresses, strains and excuses of the day start to take over. Set your alarm 30 minutes or an hour early and you have the perfect opportunity for an energizing workout that will carry with you the entire day.
5. Turn Your Commute Into A Workout
If you don’t live too far away from your work you could run there. If it’s a bit too far for that then you could take the bike instead. If you travel from out of town you can park a block or two away and walk the rest of the distance. The commute to and from work is the perfect opportunity to exercise and is a whole lot more enjoyable than being stuck in rush hour traffic.
6. Use Your Lunch Break
It rarely takes a whole hour to eat your lunch so instead of wasting that time at the pub you could get in a workout. People that exercise on their lunch break tend to be far more productive in the afternoon and have energy that lasts into the evening.
7. Mix Socialising With Exercise
We all like to spend time with family and friends so why not get everyone involved in a fun fitness routine or sport? Instead of watching TV, going to the cinema or heading out to dinner you could enjoy a game of tennis, a hill-walk or a yoga class. Exercising with friends is a lot more fun and something that you’ll look forward to doing.
Exercise is such an important part of life. It gives us energy and boosts our health. If you look upon it as something that you enjoy and something that is part of you then you’ll easily find the time for it.