Fitness

Fit in Fitness

woman finding time to exercise

Main Article Content

How to Find the Time to Exercise

When you’re trying to get in shape, finding the time to exercise can be one of the biggest obstacles to success. It’s hard to form healthy new habits, harder still when you’re fitting them into a busy schedule. But whether your lifestyle lends itself to a gym routine or multitask workout, it’s easier than you may think to make time to exercise.

Tips When it’s Hard to Commit

Commitment is the cornerstone of an active lifestyle and forming healthy habits is one of the hardest parts of getting in shape. Discouraged or sore, many people find it difficult to stick to a new routine.

Try these five ways to keep your commitment:

  1. Pay for it.
  2. Sign up for classes, put money down on a gym membership or book sessions with a personal trainer. When you skip out on a work out, your fitness and your wallet will take the hit.

  3. Be a team player.
  4. Recreational sports offer the right level of activity and responsibility with a healthy dose of socializing too. Do some research into neighborhood leagues and get a group of friends together to compete. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a day, but do you really want to be the one to let the team down?

    Joining classes with a buddy can also offer social motivation – and support – to keep your commitment.

  5. Get in the competitive spirit.
  6. In addition to rec league tournaments, there are many competitions for individual physical activities at a range of skill levels. Signing up for a 5K or a beginner’s kickboxing bout gives you a concrete goal to work toward. A little competition never hurt anyone’s motivation either!

  7. Track it.
  8. Set goals, write them down and chart your progress. Whether by hand or with a tracker like Fitbit, an account of your activity will encourage you to stay on course toward your goals.

  9. Don’t double book.
  10. Put your workout on your calendar. Find free time and mark it as busy; make it a repeat event to truly double down. Then, respect that appointment like you would a visit to the doctor.

Work Out While You’re Doing Something Else

Try as we might, sometimes our schedules just can’t fit in a formal workout. While you should still aim to get in a few serious sessions each week, consider these ways to multitask your exercise:

  • When you’re commuting… walk, bike or pack gym clothes to jog home from work. For longer commutes, consider getting off the bus or train a stop or two earlier, or park further from your destination for a little extra exercise.
  • When you’re on your lunch break… hit the gym or go for a walk – a burst of activity can boost productivity too.
  • When you’re at the office… sit on a stability ball to strengthen your core or suggest walking brainstorm sessions and meetings.
  • When you’re doing chores… pick up the pace to get your heart pumping while you mop, scrub or sweep.
  • When you’re running errands… park at the far end of the lot and opt for stairs over elevators or escalators.
  • When you’re spending time with the family… plan after-dinner walks, bike rides or sports game. Family fun and fitness aren’t mutually exclusive!
  • When you’re watching TV… bust out push ups, planks, crunches, jumping jacks or yoga during breaks in the on-screen action. Keep dumbbells, jump rope and resistance bands by your TV to remind and inspire you.

Suit Yourself

Ultimately, the key to finding time is making time. When you enjoy your chosen exercise, you’ll discover it’s much easier, and you’re much more eager, to fit fitness into your day.

If you’re just starting to get in shape, experiment with a few different routines or classes until you find one you can get excited about.

Then, fit your workout into your lifestyle and routine. If you’re a morning person, schedule trips to the gym when you wake up or make a habit of starting the day with a neighborhood walk. If you like working out in the privacy of your home, look into DVD options for yoga, Pilates or dance routines.

Embrace your options when it comes to exercise. When you discover the right workout for you, you’ll form healthy habits in no time at all.

Interested in hearing more from Northwestern Medicine? Sign up for the Healthy Tips E‑Newsletter for everything from health and wellness ideas to patient breakthroughs to academic and medical advancements.