This time of year is prime time for scheduling and activity. Getting ready for the holidays, finishing up work for the year, attempting to make it to all the events, and everything else in between has packed our calendars to capacity.
In other words, ’tis the season for putting fitness routines on the back burner. Even though we are well aware of the benefits of exercise on our emotional well-being and physical fitness, it often falls to the wayside when our schedules fill up.
However, NASM-certified personal trainer Brittany Hammond will tell you that you do not need to devote so much time in your day to enjoy the benefits of exercise. The trick is to sneak in extra movement at convenient times. Here are Hammond’s five guidelines for fitting fitness into a chaotic schedule.
Do it right away
There is a meme floating around the internet that reads: “I like to work out before my brain has a chance to realize what I’m doing.”
As your schedule fills up, it’s more likely it’ll be easier to find excuses to skip physical activity. If you get up and work out right away, you can finish and forget about it by midday.
Plus, most people find it easier to work out in the morning. “Consistent morning exercise may facilitate greater exercise levels by enhancing planning, fostering an exercise habit, and improving self-regulation,” according to a research review published in Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. The more morning movement you get, the better your chances are of having the routine stick.
Get moving with friends
Instead of going out to brunch with friends, plan to do an activity together! Walks are nice and are often the default, but you could also organize a tennis match, kickball game, ice skating excursion, or anything else that gets your heart-rate pumping. Holiday shopping works too.
According to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, folks who exercise with friends work out longer and less intensely. Movement is more crucial than intensity, especially during the holidays when you’re wanting to move more.
Walk more, wherever you are
Taking additional steps during the day is an easy method to get more exercise, and short walks are more beneficial than you might think! The idea is to exercise more, but experts recommend 7,500 steps each day.
Take the stairs, park farther away, return your shopping cart (you may gain good karma for this), and pace when taking calls. Another good technique for those who work from an office is to use the top-floor bathroom and always take the stairs. Plus, staying hydrated (which is always a good idea) will also result in boosting your step count.
Slip-in exercise snacks
An “exercise snack” can be just as satisfying as a banana or almonds for a midday pick-me-up. These mini-workouts can last anywhere from one to 10 minutes. Perhaps you’re waiting for your coffee to brew or a meeting to begin—get going! Try marches in place, calf raises, jumping jacks, squats, burpees, or a quick dancing break.
You don’t even have to work up a sweat. The idea is to increase your overall activity levels throughout the day with brief bursts of action to get your blood moving and discourage stagnant behavior. An “exercise snack”, like its food counterpart, can provide the energy boost you need.
Write it down
Putting workouts into your calendar could become one of the most helpful habits in terms of getting your physical activity in. You may find it much easier to commit if you view it as a non-cancellable meeting. Why should we not apply the same approach to our bodies as we do to our jobs?