Monday, December 8, 2014

Tips for Incorporating Fitness into a Busy Lifestyle

We’re all busy, and getting busier as we head into the holiday season, so it can be hard to get workouts in on a consistent basis. Use these tips to make the most of a limited amount of workout time.



Maximize Training Time

Most experts recommend training a minimum of 30 minutes three times per week. The logical times to workout are in the morning before work, at lunchtime, or in the evening after work, However if you do shift work, adjust your workout schedule accordingly.

If you are only training a half-hour three times per week, you can maximize the amount of time you have by incorporating some type of interval training into your routine. Interval training consists of compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, thus increasing not only the intensity but also the effectiveness of your limited workout time.

Make Workouts a Habit

When life or work get in the way, it is easy to lose your workout time. However, once exercising is part of your daily routine – a habit – it is much harder to skip it. Most experts agree that if you do something on a consistent basis every day, it becomes a habit after 21 days.

But how do you find the time to exercise? Keep a journal of your daily activities in half-hour increments. Once documented, you’ll see where you are “wasting” time and replace that lost time with an exercise you enjoy.

Set Goals

People tend to focus more time on something if it leads them to a goal. If you exercise just to exercise, that may not be a lofty-enough goal to stay with it.

Many people set goals that are to do with losing a certain amount of weight or inches, but I prefer action orientated goals rather than results orientated goals. Things beyond your control really do affect how quickly you lose weight or inches, whereas ’20 minutes on the treadmill’ or ’20 minutes daily yoga practice’ are truly within your control and can give you a great feeling of achievement, as your goal is all about taking action rather than getting results.

Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Routine

There are many opportunities in our day where we can get some exercise. For example, if you drive to work, park at the far end of the parking lot and walk in the rest of the way. Once inside your office building, take the stairs to your office (or at least walk up a few flights) instead of riding the elevator.

If you take public transportation to work, get off a few stops before the one closest to your work and walk the rest of the way. Do the same thing after work on the way home.

By incorporating these four strategies into your daily routine, you’ll find you do have the time to exercise.

Exercise In Short Bursts

I've been reading the excellent Diet Recovery: Restoring Hormonal Health, Metabolism, Mood and Your Relationship with Food by Matt Stone. His books take an unconventional but very interesting look at nutrition and metabolism (I'm currently reading Food for Mood and have Eat for Heat lined up to read next).

While I don’t agree with everything Matt advises I’m willing to try what he calls ‘Maxercise’: exercising ‘to the max’ (depending what your max is) for very short bursts of time (depending on your current fitness levels this could be less than a minute), then allowing time for recovery, then pushing it to the max for a very short time again.

Matt reckons you can get your entire workout done in as little as ten minutes or less using this method, and fire your metabolism up for the day. Grab his books to find out more.

Exercise At Home

When our schedules are hectic, getting to the gym can be the most challenging part of our workout. In the winter in particular, I find I exercise more often if I keep fun DVDs and Xbox exercise options to hand to help me. Currently I’m enjoying Zumba Fitness Core for Xbox and the Power Yoga Collection for DVD.

No matter how busy you get, you’ll function better if you keep fit and healthy, so try and find time for your workout if you can. It’s when you have least time for it that you probably need it most.

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