Life in the world today is definitely very busy. In my 17 years of being a Personal Trainer the most common obstacle my clients tell me they face is the lack of time for exercise. However, as many of you may already know, lack of time really isn’t the problem - it’s prioritization of exercise.
As a working mom of two very energetic young boys I know firsthand how much there is to fit into a 24 hour time period. I will also be the first to admit that not everything on my “to do” list gets accomplished every day. Don’t be surprised if you come to my house and you find my dishes not done or my laundry not put away. It’s not that I don’t like my dishes done or my laundry placed nicely in my closets and drawers, it’s just that I know that I can only do so much in a 24 hour period. I have decided I would rather prioritize my workout over some other things in my life.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that for aerobic activity that adults get a least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, a week. The guidelines suggest that we spread this exercise throughout the course of the week. Some days we may have time for a long cardio workout. Other days don’t forget that even small bouts of exercise spread out during the day will provide health benefits as well.
Their recommendation for strength training is that we should train all our major muscle groups at least two times a week. This includes resistance training and muscular strength and endurance exercises. They also indicate that engaging in some physical activity is better than none, and that any amount will provide some health benefit.
With these guidelines in mind, I want to provide you with some tips and tricks to sneak some workouts into your busy day.
You have probably heard some of these before but I’m hoping that if you are reading this and are struggling to get your workouts in you will be inspired to come up with a plan that will work for you. We all have unique obstacles in our lives and that means we all need to devise unique plans to keep fit and stay healthy!
Tip #1 - Pick an activity you enjoy doing.
This summer I was reminded of how much I enjoy latin dancing. Rochesterfest hosted my favorite Salsa band Salsa Del Soul from the Twin Cities and 90 minutes of exercise flew by in a blink of an eye. 30 minutes of dancing burns approximately 130-250 calories and the RAC offers members free group fitness classes for you to get your groove on.
Even though I work in the gym I love the outdoors and nature. Studies show that exposure to nature not only helps us emotionally but also reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones. There are many outdoor options including running, biking, and skiing.
At the RAC, during the summer you might enjoy taking a morning swim in the outdoor pool or doing a sand workout in the sand volleyball court. In winter, you could move inside to the indoor pool (or track) or take advantage of the virtual classes in the studios. Practicing or playing sports like basketball, pickleball or tennis can also provide a fun way to get moving. The most important thing is that you figure out what you enjoy and make that a part of your exercise routine.
Tip #2 - Try exercising first thing in the morning.
I do realize that not everyone is a morning person, however in our society many social happenings occur during the evening hours. If you can wake up a little earlier in the morning and make exercise the first thing you do you will get your workout in for the day and will not get distracted by evening activities.
Try not to let yourself even check your email before you start so that you are less likely to get sidetracked. Also, make sure you are still getting in at least 7 hours of sleep. This means you might have to go to bed a little bit earlier at night.
Tip #3 - Always be prepared.
If you decide you want to try early morning workouts make sure you set yourself up for success. Lay your clothes out the night before and have you water bottle already filled in the fridge so you can just get ready quick and go. I even know some people that sleep in their workout clothes so they just have to hop out of bed and can get started without any excuses.
Another idea is to pack a gym bag and keep it in your car. If you are out and about you can go straight to the gym or trail without making that pit stop at home that often leads to more than a pit stop. When I am out and about you may also see me in my workout clothes. Sometimes when I drop my son off for an activity I can sneak in a quick run or do some body weight exercises while I wait and or watch his sport practice. I also always keep my jogging stroller in my trunk which is a good tip for those of you with little ones.
Tip #4 - Just get started.
Most people have days where they just don’t feel like exercising or going to the gym. I tell my clients that on the days when you feel that way tell yourself that you just need to go and do 10 minutes. More than likely once you get started you will exercise for much longer than 10 minutes.
I hope some of these tips have given you new ideas or inspired you to reset your priorities to make exercise part of your life.
One final idea is to not be afraid to ask for help or support. For example, have your spouse watch the kids or run an errand that you might normally do. Often times, your boss and/or coworkers will also be supportive if it is possible to flex your time a bit to go for a walk or take a little extended lunch break to sneak in some exercise. More than likely when you are back working you will be more productive than if you had not taken the short exercise break.
Kasi is originally from Taylors Falls, Minnesota and moved to Rochester in 2005. In college she was a Division 2 All-Conference tennis player. Away from work, Kasi enjoys spending time outdoors with her two boys and family.
Contact Kasi Boucher-Zawaira at (507) 287-9335 ext. 363.