As many of you know, I had a baby boy not too long ago. (Check out this picture from his first visit to the fire station). Being a parent and feeling lucky just to get my teeth brushed got me thinking about how difficult it is to “fit” exercise into our days. So today I’m giving you 3 keys to fitting in exercise even when you’re too busy.
1. Be creative.
You don’t have to make it to the gym to get exercise. You don’t even need to block out time for it if you’re creative. Your body doesn’t know or care whether you’re on a treadmill or cleaning your garage- as long as you’re getting your heart rate up and challenging your muscles that “counts” as exercise.
If you’re doing work around the house take extra trips up and down your stairs. Washing your car? Do it vigorously and throw in a few push-ups. I’ve been multitasking by doing squats while holding my son….
2. Plan and make it automatic.
Implement strategies or systems so that healthy habits are automatic and you don’t have to find the willpower to do them. Here’s a few examples: every term at Oregon State University I request to teach a group exercise class in addition to my Exercise Science courses. That way it’s a part of my schedule, I don’t have a choice to skip it, and I’m motivated to be there because I’m getting paid. I also make sure that I teach a form of exercise that I like (and don’t hate), which is another important strategy.
My husband signs himself up for a soccer league year round. Since he likes to play soccer, and he’s paying to play, he knows he’ll be motivated to go, rather than having to force himself to get in that workout.
3. Increase your intensity so you can shorten your duration.
During exercise, the rate of improvement in aerobic fitness increases with increasing intensity. So, as your exercise becomes harder, the duration can become shorter. Research shows that this type of “interval training” is very effective and awards people all the same health benefits of long, moderate intensity training: improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure,etc.
Even a few one-minute high intensity intervals in between short rest periods can be very beneficial. This could take 10 minutes out of your day!
Do you have any examples of how you’ve implemented any of the strategies above? Share with us in the comments below.
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My condo sits at the bottom of a 250-meter long, 3-degree grade uphill climb. Ten minutes on that (hill training) does a lot on days where time is scarce. Add to that running every second day (6 km of rolling hills, all 3 – 5 degree grade) provides great benefits.