We all know that physical activity is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But is it really that important? Well, yes!! Physical activity has been shown to provide immense benefits as it can reduce your risk for disease, improve brain health, improve our mood, boost energy, promote better sleep, and so on. But, sometimes life can get a bit hectic and we can’t always make the time to hit that 60 minute workout class. Here are a few of my favorite strategies to incorporate more exercise and movement into your busy schedule.
1. Schedule it in your calendar
Ah, yes my favorite and the most important tip of all. If you really want to fit in an hour at the gym or that 30 minute run outside, then schedule it in your calendar just like you would any other meeting. I’m all about organization, efficiency, and productivity and this makes things simple and straightforward. I even like to color-code these chunks of time in it’s in own separate color! My advice: every Sunday night plan out your week ahead and include times for working out, then all you have to do is follow your schedule. Make exercise a priority and work it into your schedule somehow, even if it’s only twice a week.
2. Take the stairs
There are so many moments in our day/week/month where we get in the elevator to travel only a few floors or so. If this is the case, take an extra few seconds/minutes and take the stairs to wherever you are going and get in a little extra activity. All of these extra steps will add up over the long run.
3. Park farther away
Whether you are going to work, the grocery store, the mall…whatever it is, park towards the end of the lot to get some more steps in your day-to-day. Like tip #2, these steps will definitely add up over time.
4. Turn some meetings into walking meetings
Now not everyone can do this depending on your job/company, but this is a great tip for those who can.
For phone meetings: if you don’t need your computer screen, then grab your headphones and take a walk while you listen and talk, even if it’s just at a nice and slow pace.
For in-person meetings: if you are just having one of those “catch up” session meetings where it’s one and one and no computer is needed, ask the other person if they want to go for a walk instead of sitting at a desk or in a conference room. Another plus with this is that it’s oftentimes a lot easier for people to open up when they are walking and talking as opposed to just sitting face to face at a desk. I had a client once who preferred walking meetings, and I loved them! They were always so refreshing and the meetings were always much more productive and creative in my opinion.
5. Utilize shorter workouts
If you have even 20 minutes or less of available time, ANYTHING is better than nothing. Even if it’s just 5-10 minutes of free time at home, move your body and get some quick movement in. There are so many workouts on YouTube that you can follow, or just move your body however you are feeling (push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, whatever!). Also, this is why I love HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts…not only are they a great workout, they are quick!! If you have less than 20 mins but still want to get a good sweat in, try for a HIIT workout!
There are so many ways we can incorporate more physical activity in our day. But, most importantly, we need to remember to make it a priority to treat our bodies well and take good care of ourselves. Physical activity is crucial for maintaining optimal health, so try to get your body moving as much as possible!