Between work, family life, friends, hobbies and relaxation time, it can often seem tricky to make room in a busy schedule for exercising. If personal trainers had a dollar for every time they heard someone tell them, ‘I just don’t have the time to exercise’ , they would be incredibly rich!
So how is it that some people manage to live a busy life and still maintain regular visits to the gym, while others have difficulty staying on track with their fitness routine for even two weeks?
The main difference between the two is that those who are busy and still have time to exercise make the time to exercise and make the effort to ensure do it as planned.
Making yourself and your fitness a top priority
Until you do this, you will likely have difficulty maintaining a regular fitness regime. Why do you want to improve your fitness? What does being ‘fit’ mean to you and how will you know when you’re there? Fitness is not just about weight loss, weight gain or just doing it for the sake of it. It’s about inner health, being functionally strong and capable of everyday tasks, and improving mental wellbeing among a raft of other benefits.
Your idea of fitness and your friend’s idea of fitness could be completely different, so figure out what it is you want from yourself!
Be consistent and form a routine
Consistency is the key, so find a routine that will work for you every week – plan Monday through to Sunday in your diary and know what you are doing for each training session. If you have to skip a session for a social occasion or because you are sick, brush it off and get right back into it as soon as you can.
Get a friend or a partner to join you whenever possible as it can help motivate you, but make sure that you still do your exercise session if they pike on you!
Don’t promise yourself more time than you have
Setting your expectations too high from the get go can undermine your efforts before you’ve even started. Don’t promise yourself that you will attend the gym six days a week when your schedule only allows you to go for three days. When you fail to do those six self-promised days, you will probably lose faith.
Be realistic with your plans and you’re more likely to succeed.
Incidental exercise is key
Try to get as much incidental – or unplanned – activity into your days as you can. Park an extra block away from work and walk the extra distance, and take the stairs instead of the elevator or the lift. Do some gardening, spring clean the house, wash the car or walk the dog. If your place is clean, offer to help a friend or neighbour (and if you have no dog, offer to take someone else’s dog for a walk!).
Do what you love, love what you do
Make the effort to find activities you love – often group fitness classes, personal training sessions or organised sports are good as you will have certain session times you will need to attend and there’s a lot of variety for you to choose from. If you enjoy your exercise, you’re more likely to make the time to do it. If you don’t enjoy your exercise and it’s not getting you towards your goals, move on and find another activity.
Split your exercise out
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym to get fit; one option is to do shorter, more intense sessions to get your heart pumping harder (such as tabata/interval training). Or you could even just split your exercise out over the course of your day; for example, 15 mins in the morning, 15 mins around lunchtime and 15 mins after work. As long as it adds up, it counts!
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Michal Marcol