Every day is a continuous, multitasking race, and you know it all too well. Career plans, long office hours, starting your own business, and even raising children along with all that – whatever it is you have on your plate, you’re most likely a pro juggler by now. With such hectic lifestyles and loads of responsibilities, it’s easiest to sacrifice your own health and well-being, so that’s what most of us choose to do. That’s right, choose to do. Yes, you’re abnormally busy and there’s no time and you plan on getting to your health sometime later. But, with some effort and proper planning, you can start taking steps to maintain your fitness right now. It’s just a matter of organisation and a few tricks here or there. Here’s how.
Pencil it in
You don’t miss business meetings, doctor’s appointments, or driving your child to school in the morning. These things are important, and as such, they’re a part of your agenda. So go over your agenda right now and see where you can fit in exercise, even if it’s just for 5 minutes at a time. Maybe that’s the 5 minutes before showering in the evening, or the 5 minutes while talking on the phone (another pro tip: use speakerphone and stretch or walk while talking). The more time you find for exercise, the better, but for starters, just make sure it’s any time at all. Don’t keep it lingering in your head and expect to squeeze exercise in at some point during the day, write it down so it becomes a commitment.
Exercise in the morning
Nobody wants to wake up even earlier than they already do, but trust me – it’s worth it for exercising. And, chances are that you might not even have to wake up earlier, just adjust your schedule a bit. A half-hour or even 15-minute morning exercise routine would invigorate you, get your blood pumping and endorphin levels high. Scheduling physical activity at the start of the day ensures you will stick to it, as it slowly becomes a habit, and that’s one of the reasons the most successful people go for morning runs.
If you plan on going to the gym sometime later in the day, it’s very likely you won’t be up for it after work or something else will come up – dinner with friends or clients, running errands, school functions, guests visiting, etc.
Plan your meals as well
You know how important it is to eat healthy, yet you’re often way too exhausted and end up eating whatever is easiest, fastest, and gets you full. That way, you’re very likely to end up with a belly full of comfort food and unable to even stretch properly. Planning helps with this, and it doesn’t have to be super-detailed, just some outlines to post on your fridge and some habits to stick to.
For example, you can commit to eating a fruit smoothie or milkshake with added protein each morning for breakfast or right after exercising, in order to accelerate your metabolism and help rebuild muscle. Stock up on fruits and veggies for healthy snacks to take to work as well so you don’t turn to the vending machine, and try to prepare healthy dinners in larger amounts, so you have leftovers and don’t have to cook when you’re overexhausted.
Work out at home
Carrying your gym bag to and from work, conveniently forgetting it, finding a gym that’s good but not too far away…it can all be a drag (especially when the weather gets cold and you’d just rather not go anywhere). If committing to a gym seems like too much for you to take on at the moment, try simple home workouts that cover legs, abs, and the upper body. But be sure to pencil them in your schedule, as we mentioned, so you don’t end up sprawled on the couch with your yoga mat safely tucked away in a remote corner of your home. Crank up some music, put on an exercise video, and get to work! If you have kids, you can even include them in this and they can do jumping jacks and stretches in your little private exercise area.
Use all occasions to be active
This is one of the most important and perhaps easiest hacks for the busiest of people. They key is to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle on even the most mundane of occasions, just to keep moving whenever you can. Take the stairs, plan active weekend activities (riding your bike on a sunny day actually gets you much better rested than resting comfy in a chair) and replace driving with walking whenever you can. Meet a friend for a run or swim instead of coffee, and that way you will have struck two birds with one stone.
Incorporating exercise and healthy eating can be done, if your well-being is a priority to you, as it should be. Just start small, so you can slowly get into the habit. Make small, precise goals (such as “I will exercise for 15 minutes each day before dinner”) because these are concrete and manageable. Take it from there and build on your exercise routines. As fitness becomes a habit, you will feel the benefits and want to do more as time passes, so you’ll be finding new ways to fit it into your day. Just keep moving, and remember – all that is your “me” time, and you deserve a piece of your day just for yourself.