Over the years in my job as a trainer and coach, I have found that those who don’t exercise have one or two excuses. The excuses are: they don’t have time, or they don’t like it.
I know there are many people who would like to exercise, but think they don’t have time, so today we’ll talk about how to exercise when you don’t have time.
Exercise means different things to different people. If you think that exercise is one hour a day, five days a week, and you are working 40–60 hours per week with family and social duties in between, then you don’t have time to do this sort of exercise.
But if you change your mindset to consider that exercise is simply a deliberate attempt at moving around more vigorously than usual, then no matter how busy you are, you definitely have time to exercise.
Here’s a list of exercises you can do when you don’t have time to exercise:
Wake up 20 minutes earlier
Have your exercise clothes laid out ready the night before (or even sleep in them), set your alarm, and head outside for some sprints – uphill if you can. Warm up for three minutes with some brisk walking, then sprint all out for 20 seconds, then rest for two minutes. Repeat for five to eight sprints, then walk home.
This session doesn’t take long. It will wake you up and energize you for the morning, and is a great way to burn fat and boost your metabolism.
When the kettle is boiling
You have a minute or two here to pair some push ups with some squats. Do 10 push ups followed by 10 squats. Repeat this as many times as possible while the kettle is boiling for your morning cup of coffee. Keep track of how many rounds you can do this for, and aim to increase this each morning.
Commuting to work
Walking, running or cycling to work would be perfect, but not everyone is able to do that. Whether you’re driving or catching public transport, now is a good time to do some ab work. Don’t worry – you don’t have to bust out some sit ups on the floor of the train carriage.
While you’re sitting, simply brace your abs as hard as you can for 10 seconds. You can make this quite tough with a very strong muscle contraction. Do this 5–10 times.
When you have meetings at work, see if you can introduce walking meetings. This is a great way to get some fresh air while talking, and can often be more productive. As you return to work, the meeting naturally winds up. So not only can this be a more productive meeting, but it can be shorter too.
Standing instead of sitting in meetings also improves time and productivity in the meeting. Although standing is not exercise, it’s better than sitting. If possible, you can practice your ab bracing.
Lunchtime is the perfect time for structured exercise. If there is a gym nearby, then this is the perfect time to go. You will feel refreshed and more focused after exercise, so you will work better in the afternoon.
If possible, you could also look into a wellness program at work. These are becoming more popular. Having a personal trainer come to the building and run a group exercise session at lunch time improves morale and productivity for employees. A quality workout will only take 20–30 minutes, and you will hopefully still have time for lunch. If not, simply eat at your desk afterwards.
While dinner is cooking
Most meals take around 15–30 minutes to cook. If you plan your meal so that it simply sits in the oven, or bubbles on the stove, then you can do some activity instead of watching the pot boil.
During this time you can do some high intensity intervals such as skipping, running on the spot, bodyweight exercises such as mountain climbers or burpees, or even some kettlebell swings if you have a kettlebell.
Choose two or three intense movements, and alternate them. A good format is 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat this 10–15 times. Once you’re done, dinner will be ready!
As you can see, it is very simple to include exercise in your day, even if you are very busy. Pick one or two of these ideas and give them a go. You do have time to exercise – you just have to be creative about it.
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