Exercise for Busy People

Recently we wrote a post about keeping up your New Year’s Resolution to eat healthy (here it is!).  As we promised on that post, here are some tips about keeping up an exercise routine and making it fun.  We hope this is helpful!

    Exercise
  1. Do what you enjoy.  It seems like common sense, but it is amazing at how many people force themselves to run for miles when they don’t really like running.  If you think about it hard enough, we are sure you’ll be able to come up with at least a handful of exercises that you enjoy.  Here are some ideas: Zumba, yoga, Crossfit, or hiking.
  2. Set goals.  You will work harder if you feel like you are working toward something tangible, not just to lose weight.  Your goal might be to run a 5K (or more), make it through an intense workout class without “cheating”, complete an obstacle course race (yes, they have them, and they are awesome), or pass the President’s Challenge Adult Fitness test (this is the Presidential Physical Fitness test that you took in elementary school, but altered for adults; you can find the test here: http://www.adultfitnesstest.org/).
  3. Find one aspect of your workout that you truly enjoy and would miss if you didn’t work out.  This could be the magazines that you read while on the treadmill or elliptical, or your exercise playlist.
  4. Make it exercise as easy as possible for you to fit into your life.  This means finding a time that works best for you, and finding a place that works best for you.  You can wake up early to squeeze in some exercise before work, work out on your lunch break, or sit down with your husband to see what times during the week would work best.  If you’re waiting for a good exercise time to come to you, you’ll be waiting a very long time.  Determining when you can work out will also help you determine where you can work out, whether it’s workout videos at home, a nearby gym, or a place at your work.
  5. If you really can’t find a time and place that works for you, you’ll have to squeeze it in to everything that you already do.  You can exercise during your child’s sports practices (this works well for outside sports such as track or soccer, or practices that take place at a recreation center).  When you take your kids to the playground, run around it a few times, and then do some pull ups on the bars.  You can also get a lot of exercise in while watching TV.  Check out the bodyweight exercises from this post on exercising at home.
  6. Mix it up a little to prevent boredom.  You can put on a song and designate a certain exercise to each verse, and one to the chorus.  Or you can try the playing card workout.  Finally, you can write an exercise on a slip of paper, and keep randomly pulling one out of a hat.  These will all keep you guessing and add a fun element to your workout.
  7. Use the buddy system.  This works especially well if you do exercise programs that require two people, such as tennis or racquetball.  Sometimes you’ll end up going only so that you don’t let down the other
  8. Pick up a new hobby.  There are plenty of exercises that are considered hobbies.  Some examples include dancing, trail running, water sports, skiing, rollerblading, or bicycling.  You’ll have fun, which will keep you motivated to keep it up.  Also, it will become part of your lifestyle, which is important to enjoying your workout.
  9. Go ahead and brag just a little.  When you start to get into better shape and come close to (or reach) your goals, you’ll likely feel great about yourself.  If you tell people about it, that will motivate you to progress even more and keep working hard.
  10. Create your own competition with yourself.  Keep track of how much you weight you lifted during your last workout, or how quickly you ran a mile.  Try to continually beat your record and improve, even if it’s only by a little bit.