We have heard it from an early age–that maintaining an active lifestyle should be one of our top priorities in life. Only by taking care of ourselves do we stand a chance of being the kind of person we strive to be at home with our loved ones, on the job, and in our communities. And I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t mean that it’s easy!
Our jobs, in particular, can get in the way of working out–which kinda makes it paradoxical…the more challenging and demanding a job gets, we often struggle to find time to work out. Yet, on the other hand, we can’t afford not to exercise because it is so important to our sustained success. So to try and get to the heart of this paradox I came up with 5 tips for how to fit exercise into your daily routine–no matter how busy you are with work. Please note–each of these tips is not more or less important than any other. So let’s dive into how to stay fit despite a demanding job.
1. Cater to your own likes and dislikes–Ok, so maybe you hate to run…or lift weights…or do yoga…and that’s ok! You need to be realistic and know yourself. One person’s yoga is another person’s running which is another person’s weight training which is another person’s dance (you get the idea). Yes, you need self-discipline when it comes to exercising, so make it easier on yourself by choosing a form of exercise that fits your lifestyle, personality, and taste. Can’t decide what it is that you like to do? Don’t be afraid to experiment with different forms of exercise until you find what works best for you.
2. Work out efficiently–Choose a workout form that you can do almost anywhere, whether you’re on the road traveling or getting home late from the office. Ideally, this will be a form of exercise that doesn’t require much preparation and that accomplishes significant physical gains in a short period of time (sorry, golfers!). High intensity interval training (HIIT), bodyweight exercises, and running are all great choices.
3. Make a schedule and commit to it–How many times have you (or heard someone else) said “I’m just swamped at work today–no way will I be able to make my _________ class today (insert “yoga, Pilates, spinning, swimming,” etc…). That’s just a bunch of malarkey, as former vice-president Joe Biden would say! What if you unexpectedly had to pick up your child/grandchild from school and had no back-up plan…how would you deal with the situation? Would you cancel a scheduled meeting? Take work home with you? Do some hard prioritizing? The point is, when you really need to, you’ll get out of the office at the time that is necessary. Make a schedule, write it down (or put it on your Google calendar or whichever online calendar you use), stick to it, and remind yourself that exercising is a priority worth keeping.
4. Track your activity levels–There’s an old saying that goes something like “If you don’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.” Ok–maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but there really is some truth to this, especially when it comes to exercise. Make a note in your calendar every time you work out, and add up your workout sessions at the end of each week, month, and year so you can monitor your progress and identify areas for improvement. Measuring your activity levels (and ideally keeping notes on your progress) can help you to stay on track and realize when you’re slipping before you’ve completely lost the habit.
5. Choose something over nothing–You don’t need an hour–or even 30 minutes–to get a complete, effective workout. And any exercises are better than no exercises! Heck, even 10 minutes can make a difference! You can always find a few free minutes in your day (yes, you all have choices). With an effective program, and performed frequently enough, short and fast workouts can do wonders for for both body and mind. So squeeze in fitness wherever you are and no matter how much time you have with bodyweight exercises, fitness/exercise apps with pre-programmed short workouts, or, yes, you can even do some exercises right at your desk (I’ve written multiple blog posts on this topic…check out part 1 here and part 2 here).
The bottom line? We’re all crazy busy, but even the busiest of us must keep in shape and prioritize our health. So commit to making exercise a priority in your life, and never settle for less than feeling fit and strong.
As always, if you or someone you know needs some guidance in how to start an exercise program or progress one to stay active, call me at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at www.wildermanphysicaltherapy.com to schedule your FREE 30 minute Discovery Visit to see how Physical Therapy can help. Don’t delay–schedule now!