How do we fit exercise into our very busy lives?
Prioritize and organize. These are two key words to learn and put into practice. Use your time efficiently, and you will be surprised at what you can accomplish before the end of the day. Although some people like to do a complete 1-hour exercise session 4 or 5 times a week, shorter, more frequent sessions are also an option. The most important thing to remember is that something is much better than nothing. Keeping these points in mind, let’s see how, given your busy schedule, you can still incorporate the proper amount of exercise into your day.
First, in the morning, wake up just 5 minutes earlier. After you have a few glasses of water, do a 2-minute simple calisthenics routine. Then, spend another 4-5 minutes doing some easy stretching. Now, if you are going to work, walk two bus stops away and get off two bus stops before your destination. If you drive, park far enough away so that you get an 8-10 minute walk to work. Try not to use the elevator to get to your office. Use the stairs. At your lunch break, take 15 minutes to eat and go outside with friends and walk for 15-20 minutes. You’ll feel refreshed when you come back. And an added benefit… you’ll most likely find that it will improve your ability to work efficiently.
During the course of the day, you can try some of these basic desk stretches:
- Stretch your shoulders and neck by gently rolling your shoulders clockwise and counter clockwise 10 times in each direction.
- Stretch your lower back by draping forward over your lap.
- To stretch the back of your leg, extend your leg, lean over in your chair and reach your arms towards your feet. You can increase the effectiveness of this stretch by lifting your toe up in the air. (Repeat on both sides.)
At the end of the workday, when you’re on the way home, make sure you get in another 5-10 minutes of brisk walking. Between all those staircases and walking, you’ve probably accumulated about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for the day. As you can see, every little bit helps. And beyond these tips, it helps to approach every day and every situation as a workout waiting to happen. If you have the time, or can try hard to make the time, there are certainly better and more beneficial ways to work out, but on the days that you just can’t manage more time, just fit it in wherever you can. Given all of the current research that tells us beyond a doubt that exercising improves our health, our quality of life and our longevity, it is good to take a little initiative, because if you do, you can “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”