It can be hard when working or raising children to try to find the time to exercise. Or so we all say. But honestly, what we really mean is that we’re just too tired. After a long hard day and we’d rather spend the little time we have to ourselves vegging out to Netflix.
Here are a few of my top tips for squeezing in a workout depending on what’s taking up your time…
Not sure when to fit in a workout session into your day?
Start work at 9 am or find yourself up long before the rest of the house has realised it’s a new day? Don’t sit in bed staring at your phone, scrolling through social media or stressing about what the day is going to bring. Get up and get in a workout! Most gyms have a class schedule that starts as early as 6am, perfect for the early birds. Or whack on a YouTube video at home and use objects lying around your home; chairs, tins of beans, you name it, it can be used.
Can a workout be squeezed into a lunch break?
Most workspaces don’t have a shower, but there are a few different things you can do here, assuming you get an hour’s lunch (and if you don’t, just shorten the following or adapt to suit the lunch break you do have).
Firstly, you can go for a walk. Not a stroll, a walk. You want to be walking a little faster than you would normally so you’re getting your breathing and heart rate up slightly and go for at least half an hour, but the whole hour if you can.
Alternatively, if your gym is nearby, what’s to stop you going for a 30-minute workout, allowing plenty of time for showering and getting back to the office within good time?!
There are also plenty of exercises you can do in the workplace, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, doing leg lifts whilst sat at your desk and even taking a break from your desk and doing wall push-ups or counter push-ups. I’m sure your workspace if all else fails, will have plenty of space for you to do some wall sits.
Is it possible to workout when the kids are at home?
For those who are at home raising little ones, you’ll be leading by example by working out around them. When they’re tiny babies, you can use them as weights (I’m not joking – just make sure you’re careful!) and when they reach toddler age they can start taking part and they’ll try to copy you. They’ll learn that exercise is good and being fit and healthy is the way to go.
If all else fails, try to squeeze in a workout whilst they’re napping or in bed, or get a playpen for them to sit in surrounded by toys so you can get at least 30-minutes to yourself to work on you.
Need encouragement when working out?
There are some amazing apps out there that will help you on your quest to become fit and healthy, such as Couch to 5K Runner – an app designed to help anyone of all shapes, sizes and levels of fitness go from beginner to 5K in just eight weeks.
Each week has three days of running, with day one starting out nice and easy: five-minute warm-up, 1-minute run and 1.5-minute walk (x8), finished off with a 5-minute cooldown. Realistically, this won’t take you long at the start and can be done before work, during lunch or even if you have a little spare time in the evening (it’ll help tire you out for bed).
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The app is totally free to download but you’ll only have access to a few days’ worth of running. You can pay to get the full training plan, between £7.99 and £9.99 depending on if you want a three-month membership or an unlimited one (although for the sake of £2, you may as well go unlimited).
If that seems too easy, or you’ve mastered the 5K and want more of a challenge, you can now also download the Couch to 10K Run app.
There are also websites that can help encourage you and keep you motivated, such as Race At Your Pace (www.raceatyourpace.co.uk). What I particularly love about this site is that each month you set yourself a walking or running distance and you then have the whole month to complete that. You can select 25 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles, 100 miles, 150 miles and 200 miles. The sign-up fee is £10 / £14. All you have to do is supply evidence at the end of the month, i.e. screenshots from your phone/fitness watch, or even a spreadsheet if that’s how you choose to keep track.
Who doesn’t love a medal?!
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Is it better to workout with friends?
When you’re working out by yourself it’s so easy to find any excuse at all not to workout. Get someone who also wants to get fit and do it together. On the days you’re considering bailing, they’ll be there to encourage you to do it, and vise-versa. Not only that, but you’ll have almost a safety blanket when you’re in the gym. I always find that I’m far less self-conscious training with a partner. I’m always convinced everyone’s watching me when I’m working out alone. With a friend, you’ve got someone to talk to, train with and learn with.
That’s just a few tips but hopefully this will help. Let us know in the comments below what helps you, or even how you get on!