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5 Creative Ways To Squeeze Exercise Into Your Day, Especially When Busy

5 Creative Ways To Squeeze Exercise Into Your Day, Especially When Busy

I know it’s easy to blame your lack of physical activity on your busy life, but exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Get fit on your schedule with these five creative ways to squeeze exercise into your day.

1. Start your day right with five minutes of movement as soon as you wake up.

Who says you have to train for an hour in the gym as soon as you start a new fitness plan? No one with half a brain. In order to create a new healthy habit that you can stick with, begin with a lifestyle change that is so small that you barely notice it. To illustrate, let’s say you have to be at work by 8 a.m., so you usually wake up around 6:30-7:00 a.m. (Note: I’m just using examples to make sure you get the idea, modify this to fit your own schedule). Simply wake up 10 or 15 minutes early and do the following workout*:

15-30 squats

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25-50 jumping jacks or run in place for 30 seconds (giving options here, because I notice most women hate jumping jacks, yes I know why, but I’m not saying it since that would be a little awkward)

10-25 push-ups (with your hands elevated on your wall or kitchen sink if needed)

25-50 jumping jacks or run in place for 30 seconds

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5 yoga poses/stretches of your choosing (make sure you take care of your upper *and* lower body)

*Note: I’m listing ranges of repetitions instead of a specific number, because I’m sure a wide range of folks with a variety of experience levels are reading this. If you’re not sure where to start, do this during your first training session: assuming a scale of 1-10 that describes how tired you feel, stop the exercise at #5. Write down how many repetitions you are able to perform and gradually add 2-5 more per workout to make it more difficult. Begin by performing a single set of every exercise listed for as many repetitions as you can safely, which should take about five minutes. When that becomes too easy, make it two sets. When that becomes too easy, make it three sets. You get the idea.

2. Get your gym gear together the night before.

Before you go to bed, lay out your gym and work clothes for the next day. It’s a lot easier to get organized while you’re still half-conscious than it is before you’ve had your coffee (and feeling like a zombie). For bonus points, put your gym shoes and socks next to the bed. If you workout in the evening, collect your training gear, put it in a bag, and toss it into your car.

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3. Treat exercise as if it is your job.

Exercise should be an enjoyable experience (if you’re doing it right), but there is no denying that you’re not always going to feel like working out. But since exercise is just as important for your physical health as going to work is for your fiscal health, why should it be treated any differently? Treat exercise as if it is a very important appointment by scheduling your training days on a calendar or planner. Aim to exercise on the same days, at the same times, every single week. If repeated consistently, this will train your brain to turn exercise into a consistent habit that doesn’t require much thought process.

4. Take a mid-day walk to relax and unwind.

Remember that early morning workout I gave you in point #1? If you’re interested in bonus points, here’s another easy way to squeeze exercise into your day. Sometime around the middle of your day (maybe at lunch time?), go for a 10-30 minute walk downtown or at a park. Breathe deeply and try to quiet your inner-chatter, enjoying the peace and silence, while you walk. You’ll come back to work re-charged and ready to make the most of the rest of your day (plus, you’ll burn extra calories too!).

5. Remember why exercising is important in the first place.

Never forget why pursuing health and fitness is so important in the first place. Do you want to be a positive example for your children? Could you use more energy to carry you gracefully throughout your days? Would you like to get fit so you can feel more confident in your body? Are you taking expensive pills with nasty side-effects, all of which could be avoided if you made a better effort to take care of yourself? Whatever the case may be, know your why.

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Questions for the Comments:

  • If you struggle to motivate yourself to exercise, why is that? No time or energy; overwhelmed or don’t know how to start; it’s too boring; lack of social support; (insert your thing here)?
  • If you plan to try out the “top o’ the morning” workout above, do you have any questions (and are you excited to crush it)?
  • If you know of any other ways to squeeze exercise into your day, please tell us in the comments so everybody can benefit!

Featured photo credit: Jogging with the kids/Ed Yourdon via flickr.com

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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