The excuse of “I’m too busy to exercise” is one of the most overused ones, especially by adults who have children and work full-time. While we completely understand that being a working parent is tough, and your schedule can sometimes feel like an overwhelming burden, the importance of incorporating exercise into you daily routine is crucial for your health, and it can even combat the stressors that you face every day.
Beginning a new workout routine always starts with good intentions, but then often falls on the back-burner within a month or two. Why? It’s not because we don’t know the benefits of consistent physical activity – it’s factors such as family, lifestyle, cultural attitudes, lack of motivation, and physical barriers such as illness, disability, etc. (Harvard Health).
According to the CDC and the Department of Health, adults need a total of 150-minutes of moderate aerobic activity (brisk walking) or 75-minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (jogging/running) every week. Add in strength training for every major muscle group (legs, arms, back, abs, chest, and shoulders) twice per week, and you will be on your way to the “healthy you” that you are striving to be (CDC).
The best way to adopt a more active lifestyle is to make the choice, get your family or a friend involved, and dig deep for some personal accountability. When you break down the recommended amount of physical activity, it comes down to 30 minutes a day of moderate aerobic exercise, and only two days when you must carve out an additional 30-60 minutes for strength training. This is doable! Here are a list of ten tips from Fitness Magazine to help make your fitness routine a little easier:
- Turn your commute into a workout by walking, jogging, or biking, or get off public transportation a few stops early to squeeze in a 10-minute walk.
- Get up earlier and get your workout crossed-off your to-do list right away.
- Make your lunch break a workout break by either going to a nearby gym or taking a brisk walk.
- Workout at your desk! Keep some dumbbells in your office and sneak in a few sets of curls, shoulder presses, and crunches a few times a day.
- Take your kids with you by investing in a jogging stroller or have them bike alongside you as you run.
- Multitask to save time. When you’re on the treadmill, bring some lighter dumbbells and alternate set of bicep curls, triceps extensions, and lateral shoulder extensions.
- Make your workouts a date with your spouse (or a friend!).
- Squeeze in squats or lunges when you are waiting on something, i.e. the microwave or when you’re brushing your teeth.
- Instead of sitting on the couch when you’re watching TV, use this time to do your strength training by doing push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, etc.
- Increase your intensity. If you start slow with your new fitness routine, make a plan to gradually increase intensity, i.e. turn your 30-minute brisk walk into an alternating walk-job sequence.
With these tips in mind, we hope you feel confident enough to start, and stick to, your fitness routine. Remember that the beginning is the hardest part, and once you make a daily habit of it, you will actually look forward to your planned workout.