Ask anyone struggling to commit to a regular exercise routine why they didn’t make it to the gym today and chances are they’ll tell you they just didn’t have time. And it’s not the most invalid excuse in the book. With so many other high-priority obligations like school, work, kids, and Netflix, often times the hardest part of exercising is finding the time for it.
Sticking to a regular exercise routine is less about finding time and more about making time, though. If you’re serious about embracing a healthier lifestyle exercise can’t be placed on the back burner. Your mindset must shift from “I’ll get to the gym if I have time” to “My workout will happen today at this specific time.”
No one said making exercise a priority is easy, but you can use the following six tips to help make more time for it in your life.
1. Get in the Groove
Establishing a routine that you can continually follow is essential to making time for exercise in your day. This includes coming up with a routine that works in your favor like finding a convenient gym or workout space (which can even be your home) that’s easy to get to and planning ahead; like choosing to workout before work if you know you have plans afterwards. Just don’t get too comfortable, though. Make sure you switch up your workout plan every few weeks and participate in different types of workouts to avoid getting stuck in an exercise rut.
2. Plan & Prepare
Planning on going for a run early in the morning? Save time by prepping your gear at night before you go to sleep so you can get up, get dressed and go right away in the morning. Maybe it seems insignificant, but planning out the small details and making sure that you’re prepared for your workout ahead of time not only saves time but it will also help you feel more committed, too.
3. Commit to the Calendar
Part of planning and preparing and “getting in the groove” also includes setting your workouts down in ink. Try making a weekly habit of looking over your schedule for the week ahead so you can get an idea of what workouts you’ll be able to fit in on what days. Writing your workouts down in your calendar ahead of time will make it feel like an important appointment instead of an afterthought that you might get around to later.
4. Get In on Group Ex
If you have a gym membership, take advantage of the group exercise classes. When you sit down to plan your workouts for the week ahead (see number three), compare your schedule to your gym’s group exercise schedule and pick one or two workouts that fit into your calendar. Not only will you (hopefully) get a great workout with a knowledgeable instructor, but when you opt to attend a class, you have no choice but to start on time, whereas if you were to workout on your own you might procrastinate in the locker room or wander around the gym wondering what type of exercise you want to do. With a class you have a specific block of time dedicated to exercising, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
5. Break it up
Maybe your schedule just doesn’t allow you to dedicate one straight hour or even a whole 30 minutes to exercise every day. That’s OK, though. You can still make time for exercise by breaking your workout up into smaller segments. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 10 minutes of exercise in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes before bed can be just as effective for meeting daily exercise requirements as would a straight 30-minute session.
6. Wake Up Earlier
No one wants to hear this one, but the reality of it is that if you could quit the snooze button and get your butt out of bed even 20 or 30 minutes earlier you could create the perfect window to fit exercise in right at the beginning of your day. The best part about making time for a workout in the morning is that you can check exercise off your to-do list right away. Plus, you’ll feel awake and energized for the rest of the day, too.