You already know you should exercise. Physical activity improves cardiovascular and pulmonary function, which helps to reduce blood pressure. It also relieves stress, improves sleep, and builds strength and endurance. You’ll enjoy a more positive self-image, more clarity of thought, and the natural “high” that occurs when endorphins are produced. It’s a wonder more people aren’t stretching, jogging, or walking whenever they get the chance.
The biggest challenge for most folks is that they lack the time to work out on a regular basis. Their jobs, families, and other responsibilities take up the majority of their days and evenings, leaving little time to actively manage their physical health. But there’s a big price to pay for neglecting your body.
The good news is that you can exercise regularly, even if you have a busy schedule. Regardless of how ragged you run yourself throughout the week, it is possible to maintain your fitness. We’ll provide several suggestions below for making it happen.
Create A Regular Workout Routine
Little gets done without first making a commitment. If you plan to work out “whenever you have a chance,” you’ll never do so. Life has a way of filling up idle minutes.
Living a healthy lifestyle requires consistency over time. And that means creating an exercise routine. Set aside time to work out four or five days a week. It’s not necessary to schedule an hour or two each day; twenty minutes should suffice in the beginning. Planning your exercise sessions makes it more likely that you’ll keep the appointments and treat them seriously.
Prioritize Your Exercise
A workout schedule means very little if you assign it a low priority. The less important your appointments are to you, the more likely you’ll skip them. Remember, there will always be small fires that attempt to pull you away from your fitness program.
Make sure you prioritize your workout program above nonessential activities. Treat it in the same way you treat showing up for work on time, picking up your children from school, and attending business meetings.
Seek An Accountability Partner
Unless you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals, the road to fitness can be a lonely one. The lack of support can make the effort even more difficult than it already is.
Enlist a friend or family member to hold you accountable for your exercise routine. Ask that person to inquire regularly about your progress, and encourage him or her to take you to task if you fail to follow through. For many people, the thought of disappointing a friend or loved one is a powerful motivator, spurring them to take action.
Get Up A Little Earlier Each Day
Few people enjoy hearing the sound of their alarm clocks in the morning. And fewer still are tempted to set their alarms to wake them up earlier. But clearly getting up early will give you a great opportunity to exercise. Not only does it allow you to cross your daily workout off your schedule early in your day, but it also gives you a helpful jolt of energy.
There’s no need to overdo it. Start by adjusting your sleep schedule by 20 minutes. Go to bed 20 minutes earlier, so you won’t lose any sleep.
Work Out During Your Lunch Break
If you’re like most people, you take an hour lunch each workday. And if you’re like most, you rarely need the entire hour to eat lunch. Unless you’re visiting a restaurant or eating a 5-course meal, you can probably eat your lunch in 15 minutes. That leaves plenty of time to exercise.
Take a walk around your workplace; visit a nearby gym; or go for a brisk jog at a nearby park. The point is to leverage your lunchtime to improve your physical health rather than sitting the entire time.
Work Out While “Relaxing” At Home
Most people have grown accustomed to watching their favorite television shows while lounging on the couch. But doing so wastes a perfect opportunity to work out. Why not use the time to work your arms, legs, and stomach?
For example, do sit-ups, push-ups, and squats. Do crunches, leg lifts, and arm exercises with small weights. You might be surprised by how good you feel afterward. Plus, it’s much easier to justify the time spent in front of the television if you spend it improving your health.
Use Rewards To Reinforce The Habit
Starting to exercise on a regular basis is like building any other good habit. You need positive feedback to reinforce it, and remain consistent over the long run. A great way to send yourself feedback is to build rewards into your week.
For example, promise to treat yourself to a movie you want to see if you successfully stick to your workout schedule. Buy yourself a clothing item you’ve had your eyes on. Or, take a coveted field trip, perhaps to a museum or to have lunch with a friend. These rewards provide an incentive for you to keep your exercise appointments.
All things considered, regular exercise will help you feel better and live longer. What’s more, the reduced stress, improved stamina, and other benefits can set the stage for a more rewarding, active lifestyle. Yet, don’t neglect to provide for your family’s financial security in the event you die from illness or an accident. A simple, cost-effective term life insurance policy can help ensure their needs will be met. Quote aggregators like Kanetix save time by providing a comparison platform.
Lisa Smith is a contributing writer at Kanetix, and is an avid cyclist. She also enjoys jogging and rollerblading in her spare time. Lisa is presently training for the Island Girl Half Marathon in Toronto.
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