Plenty of people say they want to be fit, but complain that work, family and other commitments keep them too busy or exhausted to devote an hour at the gym for a quality workout. But in at least 95 percent of the cases, “lack of time” is an excuse for people who want to avoid saying, “I just don’t have the motivation.”
If you were suddenly confronted with a business project that could mean the difference between getting promoted or fired, you would always find time to handle it. Exercise should be viewed the same way, especially since it is one of the best ways to improve your productivity.
But if you are truly too busy to go on a long run or head to the gym, there are things you can do to get a quality workout on a busy schedule. Here are a few examples of how to either keep active or make additional time so you can do just that.
1. Walk or Bike to Work
Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at this suggestion, and for good reasons. You may think that you live too far away from work, or you’ve dealt with the guy who does bike to work and shows up at the office all sweaty and smelly.
But there are ways to deal with the sweat, such as adding extra time to your planned commute to give yourself a moment to clean up, think carefully about what clothes you wear, and pack supplies such as a bottle of water or a small towel to absorb sweat. Most important, a bike commute does not necessarily entail biking all the way to your workplace. A good alternative is to bike to a bus stop or subway station, where you can chain or fold up your bike. Even a short 5-minute ride every day can help your health.
2. Short-Burst HIIT Workouts
You may not have a full hour to devote to exercise, but you can still get a lot of quality work in. Good exercises include Lunges, Walking, Jump Roping and Sprinting. A key point about such exercises is that since they are short, there is no need to hold back; you can make them as intense as possible. Continuing the “sprint” workout trend, fitness programs can be followed “on the go,” such as the Les Mills On-Demand Fitness or fitness apps such as RunKeeper’s, which include great sprinting programs.
We exercise to keep active, but there is no point in pushing our bodies to the limit for an hour and then lazing around for the rest of the day. Whether you’re watching TV or simply enjoying a few free moments, think about ways to move and stay fit in that timeframe.
3. Early Workouts are the Best
You may be tired or have things to do when you get home from work, but not in the early morning. Early workouts carry a lot of health benefits, but the biggest one is how they remove anxiety. You don’t have to spend your day worrying about how to fit an exercise period into your subsequent hours, and your sense of accomplishment can give you an additional boost for the rest of the day.
Postponing exercise until after work increases the chance that something will pop up and spoil your routine. Give yourself a jolt of energy at the start of the day when you need it most.
4. Cut the Cord and Screen
We like to think of themselves as busy, but we spend plenty of time throughout the day distracted by useless events. Screens, whether television, mobile phones or the internet, are some of the biggest time wasters of all. Think of all the times when you read something interesting on the internet, which led to a Google search or a click to another interesting page, which continues until you wonder what happened to the last five hours.
I am advocating cutting TV and the internet out of your life. But don’t watch a show just because you have nothing better to do. That is valuable exercise time. Know what you are going to watch or read in advance, and do only that.
Warren Buffett, an 87-year old man who practically lives on Cokes and candy, has a great tip for both exercise and life in general. Among his other pearls of wisdom is Buffett’s two-list rule, which emphasizes focusing on the goals that truly matter in your life. By eliminating goals that distract you from working out, you can free up time to keep yourself fit.
You don’t necessarily have to follow Buffett’s advice, but it’s important to prioritize. If you are truly willing to stay fit, you have to make sacrifices and cut out other things you might enjoy. That can be hard, but exercising will help you achieve your other goals as well.
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