When you have one too many deadlines at work, a maxed-out social calendar or overwhelming family demands, the first thing to be cut from your schedule is unfortunately exercise. However, skipping on workouts can work against you, making it difficult to have the energy and focus you need to keep up with your busy.
Carving out time for exercise may seem impossible, but there are some easy ways you can make it more convenient to work out. Don't flake on fitness any longer – follow these tips to help you squeeze in the chance to work up a sweat.
1. Focus on what you enjoy
Sure, exercise can be a drag in the midst of a busy day, but it's even more difficult to hit the pavement when you can't stand running. Instead, make things easier on yourself by focusing on doing exercises you actually enjoy, suggested Greatist. This may require some experimentation, but once you find physical activities you enjoy, stick with them! You may loathe the treadmill but love the elliptical, or prefer a quick Zumba sesh to yoga – whatever you prefer, it'll be much easier to convince yourself to workout if you enjoy the activity.
2. Try HiiT
The Antidote Life recommended HiiT – or high intenstiy interval training – as a great way to fit exercise into a busy schedule. These workouts are short – just 10 to 20 minutes – but they pack a lot of punch, making them a great option if you're short on time. There are many free videos and apps that can coach you on different HiiT workouts, so you can do them right in the comfort of your living room. You can also apply the basic principles of HiiT training to your regular exercises – for example if you usually spend 20 minutes running on the treadmill at one speed, switch things up and amp up your heart rate by alternating jogging at a low pace with sprinting at a higher speed.
3. Be accountable
There are two types of goals that you have in life – those that you share with others, and those that you keep mostly to success. Sometimes, it's easier to fall off from following through with a goal if people aren't holding us responsible. Grab a friend who's also trying to workout more and make a pact to motivate each other. This could be in the form of making an agreement to jog together twice a week, or to call each other at 7:00 AM if either one of you doesn't get up for their morning workout. When someone is holding you accountable for your actions, you're far less likely to skip a workout – and if you do, the guilt will probably make you vow to never slack again!
4. Transform your commute into cardio
If you live relatively close to where you work, you can take advantage of this tip trainer Monica Vazquez shared with Fitness Magazine. If you stayed at the office late and just don't have time for your regular workout, pack your important items like keys, credit card and phone in a fanny pack, slip on your sneaks and jog home instead of grabbing a ride on the train.
"Running is a great workout, but it's also great transportation," Vazquez told the magazine. "Sometimes I get home even earlier than I normally do taking the subway."
You can also try biking to work some days, taking the stairs over the escalators at the subway station and getting off the bus a few stops early and walking to the office.
5. Be kind to yourself
As important as it is to fit working out into your busy schedule, everyone makes mistakes. You need to be kind to yourself if you go a week without hitting the mat or skip on a lunchtime workout, because beating yourself up only discourages you from trying again. On bad days that just threw too much stress your way, you can still work out your body – and sprit – by doing a little yoga. Just turn on some peaceful music, light a candle and breathe in and out. Whatever's on your plate, you can tackle it!