Ask people why they don’t work out and they’ll probably tell you they don’t have time. Time is an issue for many people but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. The good news? Studies show you can get the benefits of a workout without spending 30 minutes doing it. According to research, short bursts of high-intensity exercise as brief as a minute offer benefits if you do a number of them over the course of a day. Just because your day is maxed out with appointments and obligations is no excuse to be a couch potato from an exercise perspective. Take advantage of the time you have. Here are some tips for finding time to work out even when you have no time to work out.
No Time to Work Out: Be Committed to Doing It
If you’re truly committed to working out, it’s easier to find the time. Make sure you know WHY you want to work out. Once you do, set concrete, specific goals and write them down. Post your goals in a prominent place, on the refrigerator, on your computer monitor, anywhere you can see them. Commit 100% and let other people know about your goals so you’re accountable to someone. Once you’re 100% committed, you’re more likely to make time even on days where it seems too challenging.
No Time to Work Out: Do It First Thing
Set your alarm 20 or 30 minutes early and use the extra time to work up a morning sweat. Yes, it takes a little getting used to, but once you do you’ll love the feeling of accomplishing something even before you’ve taken a shower. Make it easy on yourself so there’s no excuse not to do it. Slip a DVD, like my X10 workouts, in your player to push you through a workout and help you stay motivated. Layout a pair of exercise and shorts by the bed so you can slip them on first thing. Make it your morning ritual so you’ll get it done regardless of how pressed for time you are. Afterward, enjoy the energy you have to tackle the rest of your day!
No Time to Work Out: Break It Up
Now that you know short workouts have benefits, break your workout up into short, manageable segments. Slip a DVD in the player and exercise ten minutes when you first wake up. Then do two or more ten-minute segments when you can fit them in. Research shows three 10-minute sessions offer the same benefits as a single 30-minute one if you do it with intensity.
No Time to Work Out: Exercise at Home
It’s easier to make time to work out when you don’t have to fight the traffic to get to the gym and compete with other people for the equipment. A good home workout is as close as your DVD player. Stock up on your favorite DVDs and load one into your player so you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice.
No Time to Work Out: Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
Keep a log of how you’re spending time during the day. When you write it down, it’s easier to see where you can squeeze in a quick workout. Do you spend an hour on the computer or in front of the television at night? Use a portion of that time to work up a sweat. Take control of time zappers that eat into your workout time. What will give you a greater sense of achievement and make you feel better about yourself – a 20-minute workout or surfing the internet? It goes back to commitment. Once you’re truly committed, it’s easier to find the time to work out.
No Time to Work Out: Take Advantage of the Weekends
What if you truly are so squeezed for time that you can’t work out during the week? Take advantage of the weekends. According to researchers at Queen’s University, you’ll still get benefits if you work out 150 minutes a week, regardless of when you do it. Research showed participants that accumulated 150 minutes of exercise only on the weekend enjoyed the same health benefits as those who spaced their sweat sessions out over the week. If weekends are all you have, work out on Saturday and Sunday – but, if possible, make time for a short workout mid-week as well.
No Time to Work Out: Move More during the Day
Every bit of activity counts when it comes to your health. On days when a workout isn’t practical, take a brisk walk during lunch or close the door of your office and spend 10 minutes working out with a pair of resistance bands. Wear a pedometer everywhere you go for motivation to take more steps. Stay mobile when you’re talking on the phone – and never, never, never take the elevator. Instead of returning phone calls from a chair, walk while you talk. Finally, don’t sit when you could be standing and don’t stand when you could be walking. Think how many extra calories you’ll burn if you keep that mantra in mind.
The Bottom Line?
Chances are you have more time to exercise than you think. Let go of the idea that you can’t benefit from exercise sessions that are less than 20 minutes or you have to space them out a certain way. Take control of your time and take advantage of the minutes you have to do a short workout – and think about how good you’ll feel afterward.
LiveScience.com. “No Excuses: Even 1-Minute Workouts Benefit Health”
Science Daily. “Total Amount of Exercise Important, Not Frequency, Research Shows”
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