We all know maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for both our physical and mental health. Exercise is shown to make us more creative, reduce stress, and keep our brains healthy. So, by taking care of your physical health, you’re also helping yourself become better at work and in life.
However, finding the time to fit exercise into an already packed schedule can be a challenge, and most people who prioritize their work, family, and social lives are already struggling to fit everything in.
Since one of the benefits of exercise is reduced stress, the first step is to stop thinking about exercise in a way that makes you stressed! There are ways to fit exercise into your day without needing to sacrifice the things you love.
Work out before work
The easiest way to ensure you get exercise during the day is to make it the very first thing you tick off your to-do list in the morning. For anyone who’s not an early bird setting an alarm an hour or two earlier so you can go to the gym feels like a mild form of torture, which means it’s probably not going to be sustainable long term. But the gym isn’t the only place where you can exercise. Did you know that dancing is also a form of exercise? It’ll get your heart pumping more than that walk you were putting off and you don’t even need to get changed out of your pyjamas for it. Try starting off your morning by blasting 3 or 4 of your favourite songs and dancing along to get the benefits of 10 minutes of exercise.
Walk or ride to work
If you’re lucky enough to live close to your workplace consider walking or riding your bike to work. Turning your commute into a workout is a great way to ensure you start your day off with some exercise without adding any extra time-consuming tasks to your day.
Move during lunch
There are a few ways you could liven up your lunch break with some exercise. If you have the time and resources you can pop to the gym for a quick workout or yoga class, but even just a brisk walk outside will be good for you. Not only will a walk help you get some exercise in, but it’s a good opportunity to reduce your stress and improve your motivation by removing yourself from the office space and getting a proper break.
Make exercise enjoyable
You might be one of those people who hates exercising because running makes you want to die and picking up heavy things for no reason feels like it has no point, and that’s okay! No one loves every form of exercise. One person’s running is another person’s yoga, basketball, swimming, or dancing. Flexing your self-discipline muscles is often necessary when it comes to exercise but make it easier on yourself by choosing a form of exercise that you really enjoy. Not sure what you love to do? Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of exercise. If you can’t think of or find an exercise that you love purely for the activity, think about an exercise that you can do while you do something you love. Do you hate walking but love true crime podcasts? Make your walking time the only time you listen to your podcast and very soon you’ll be finding yourself looking forward to it. Hate cycling but can’t stop binging that new Netflix show? Why not download an episode to your phone before going to the gym and watch it while you work out.
Don’t underestimate incidental activity
Incidental activities are all those little physical activities that accumulate throughout the day, like walking to the bus stop, walking around the office, taking the long way to get to the printer or kettle, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. It can also include housework such as vacuuming, grocery shopping, laundry and even cooking. If you think about all the incidental activities you undertake each working day, you might be surprised by how many there are to build physicality into.
So, why not consider all of the opportunities you have to add more incidental activity to your day? For example, can you turn a meeting into a walking meeting? Could you take the stairs once a day instead of the lift? Or, if you’re working from home, can you pace around your lounge room while the kettle boils or while you’re on the phone?