running

5 Ways to Balance Work and Exercise

They call it the human race for a reason. More and more, our schedules become packed and crammed with responsibilities. We race against the clock, trying to fit everything into non-flexible blocks of time. Unfortunately, exercise is often one of the first things to be cut from our busy schedules. With these five tips, however, you’ll have a better chance of getting in your workout, regardless how many other things you have to do:

1. Use exercise as transportation.

Many of us consider exercise something we need to allot time for — it’s not something that can overlap or serve another purpose. In reality, exercising can also pose as a means of getting from one place to another. If possible, consider running, biking or walking to complete other tasks like commuting to work, running an errand or going to a friend’s house. By utilizing exercise as a means of transportation, you use limited time more efficiently.

2. Remember that a little is better than nothing.

You don’t need to set aside two hours, a single hour or even an entire half hour to fit an effective workout into your schedule. There are tons of quick workout routines. If you have even a little bit a time, make use of it. Do stair runs in your house. Run around the block. Start doing jumping jacks or jumping rope. Just doing something — anything — can be beneficial.

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3. Get creative at work.

Don’t write off the time spent behind your desk. Those many hours you generally spend sitting — doing zero physical activity — can actually double as an exercise outlet. Invest in some simple, inexpensive tools like an exercise ball on which you can sit for twenty-minute increments throughout the day. It will help your core while you’re preoccupied with work duties. There’s even the DeskCycle, pedals for beneath the desk, which allows you to move your legs throughout the day. You can also get simple equipment like leg weights or do stretches from your chair.

4. Multitask when possible.

Just as you can use exercise as a means of transportation, you can find other ways to multitask with your workout. You could use your workout as a social hour, for example, by inviting others to participate. Create an outdoor games tournament, start a running group or invite a friend to the gym with you.

You can also do certain exercises while accomplishing something else, like watching your favorite television show or reading something important. For example, you might be able to read while on the treadmill. If you can find a way to move while doing regular activities — without diminishing the quality of your original activity — do it.

5. Find what you like.

Dreading your workout is one of the most common reasons you’ll skip it. Sure, you’ll be low on time, but lack of motivation will be the real factor keeping you from logging exercise.

If you know you hate running, stop trying to force it. Explore other options — like cycling classes, yoga, dance or lifting weights in your own home. There are so many different ways to get your heart pumping and calories burning. Don’t settle for the first, and perhaps the worst, means of exercise you stumble upon. Find something you like, so it will be easier to stick with it.

By putting these tips to action, you have a better chance at finding the time to do it all.

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