11 Tips to Help You Find and Make More Time for Exercise from 11 Tips to Help You Find and Make More Time for Exercise
11 Tips to Help You Find and Make More Time for Exercise
Consult any Pinterest board comprised of “fitness inspiration” and you’ll likely find a “motivational” graphic that attempts to solve this problem with a phrase like, “It’s not about finding time, it’s about making time.” The advice means well, but it’s basically as helpful as a silent alarm clock. We like to think it’s more about a little bit of both; finding the time and making the time. To help you figure out how to make that happen, we chatted with a few fitness experts. Below they’ve shared their top tips for building a regular exercise routine by learning not only to find the time in your day, but also make better use of it.
Move more every day.
“Move, move, move throughout your day and create exercise during normal daily activities,” says Maria Menounos, E! News host and author of “The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness.” She’s lost forty pounds on her own simply by squeezing in little spurts of exercise throughout the day. “Take the long route to the bathroom if you're in an office or park far away from the store when shopping. Take stairs instead of elevators and so on. When you walk, walk at a brisk pace. It’s how I keep in shape. I usually don’t have time to go to the gym. Most importantly, make sure to have an energizing snack—my go-to is a baggie of almonds—to power through, as well.”
Keep workout clothes on hand.
Whether you keep them stored in your office or in the trunk of your car, always make sure to have a spare pair of gym clothes on hand. “Having clothes at your desk always gives you the option to sneak in a quick workout,” says Ashley Adam, owner of The Dailey Method, a Barre exercise studio in San Diego. “Sometimes leaving your desk and blowing off some steam at the gym will not only help you be more efficient, but it will also leave you feeling happy the rest of the day. There is nothing worse than craving a good workout and forgetting your clothes. Preparation is key.”
Use your lunch break.
“The day outside of our work schedule seems to slip away quickly,” explains Adam. This is why she highly suggests using your lunch break as a time to squeeze in a workout. “Not only will a workout during work help your waistline, it will help your productivity and stress levels” she said. “At The Dailey Method, the lunch time express class is a 45-minute class which gives you enough time to work out, freshen up and make it back in time for your afternoon meetings.”
Schedule each workout.
“If you pick classes a week in advance and block them off in your schedule it makes it a lot harder to skip it or over-book your day,” Adam said. “Treat your workout like an important client meeting. After all, your body and your happiness are just as important.”
Work out with a buddy.
Adams says there’s almost nothing more motivating then a buddy pressuring you to get to a workout. “A workout friend will remind you of your planned classes and keep you excited to get there,” she said. “Make it a date.”
Identify why exercising is important to you.
“When time is an issue, the first thing I do with clients is identify why they want to start a workout program,” says Jillian Guinta, a personal trainer, yoga therapist and lifestyle coach. “This helps us both see what the motivation is and elicits some real change talk. She suggests listing three goals or reasons why exercising is important and then rating them on a scale from one to five (five being the highest). Examples she included are “increasing self-confidence,” “setting a better example for my kids,” and getting better quality sleep.”
Make your workouts more efficient.
Christen C. Cooper, a registered dietitian and doctoral candidate in nutrition at Columbia University says that many of her clients struggle with finding time for exercise. As a result, she’s developed some valuable strategies for making exercise seem more "convenient." “I find that I perceive my workouts to be more convenient and less of an interruption to my day if I can check something off my ‘to-do’ list when I exercise,” she explained. “For example, I often read a document while I do the stationary bike. If I have to go to the post office, I'll walk there are back and make the errand count as part of my workout. Being able to count an errand as exercise, too, makes me more motivated to exercise and to do my errand.” She says sometimes she even designates her workouts as brainstorming sessions. “I have told myself, 'You will have the theme of your article figured out at the end of this run.’ And, for me, it works. Because exercise stimulates the whole body and gets oxygen flowing through the blood, I feel sharp and creative.”
Get it done bright and early.
“If possible, schedule your workouts for the mornings,” says Lauren Padula DPT, a running coach and the leader of San Diego’s November Project program. “Becoming a morning person gets easier with practice. You are much less likely to skip a workout if it is scheduled for the morning, especially before work. It is far more common for other commitments to crop up throughout the day that make it easier to forgo afternoon or evening workouts. After a long day, your willpower is also decreased which makes it easier to choose to skip workouts.” She explained that this is why all November Project workouts take place at 6 a.m. "So you are finished with your workout before most of your city has even gotten out of bed.”
Incorporate it into your housekeeping.
“Housekeeping inevitably must be done. Since you have to do it anyways, make the most out of the time,” explains Megan Halligan, wellness manager at Quirk Health & Wellness. “Doing little things like squats and lunges when picking up toys off the floor or arm exercises while putting away groceries add up. Another fun example she shared: instead of filling a basket of dirty laundry, jog clothes to the laundry room.
Include the whole family.
“Incorporate the family,” Halligan said. “Many fitness facilities are making accommodations for people with kids. Find out what programs in your area offer fitness opportunities for both adults and kids. Many YMCAs, CrossFit gyms and kickboxing programs cater to the whole family while teaching the value of fitness and helps develop motor skills in a fun setting.”
Attend group exercise classes.
“Participating in group fitness provides support, accountability and structure for participants,” Halligan said. “There are a variety of group fitness programs that are designed to keep participants focused and motivated. Classes are usually scheduled making it easier to commit to scheduling in fitness.”