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Active on a Tight Schedule

I know that it's hard to be active on a tight schedule. That's why I decided to write a blog post giving some great tips for busy people.

Fit in Fitness

Regular physical activity can improve overall health and prevent negative health outcomes in people of all ages. I can hear some say – yes, we all know that! Most people indeed know that regular exercise is crucial for our physical health. However, in a 2020 survey done by the CDC, only 1 in 4 adults aged 18 and over were considered active. This means that a massive 75% of Americans are still living a sedentary life. And yes, I know that it’s hard to be active on a tight schedule.

Finding the Time

It’s not easy to prioritize exercise when you work long hours and have to juggle family obligations, personal interests, and other responsibilities. That’s why I decided to write a blog post giving tips for adding physical activity to a busy schedule. Keep in mind that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets our heart and sweat glands pumping, not only benefits our cardiovascular health but also boosts our memory and learning. That’s because there is a direct correlation between exercise and brain function. Which might be another good reason for you to start moving your body.

Many Reasons

If being more physically fit, and attractive, nor having your brain operating at top efficiency aren’t good enough reasons for you to exercise, remember that movement makes the body release endorphins – the pain killer hormone. Now, think about this, you’ll look better, feel better, and also be smarter! Yes, let’s find the time and get it done guys! The good news is that there is no need for a full-hour workout. There is evidence enough showing that even 10 minutes of aerobic exercise a day can have enormous benefits.

Add it to Your Routine

I find it easier to fit exercise in my mornings. Getting up 15 minutes earlier is a good way to start if you haven’t exercised for a while. Treat exercise as a non-negotiable part of your daily routine by scheduling it into your calendar just like any other appointment. It’s good for digestion to get your body warm before having breakfast so, whether you’re using that extra 15 minutes to go on a brisk walk around the block or to do some basic stretching, setting aside this dedicated time before breakfast will give you double benefits. Fifteen minutes don’t seem a lot but it’s a good starting point.

Walking

It seems silly to think of walking as exercise but, walking is great! Especially for someone who just decided to get off the sofa. Our bodies were designed to move and walking is the easiest way to include movement into one’s routine. Unfortunately, most of us don’t walk the bare minimum. A good way of fitting walking into your daily life is parking far away from the place you need to go. Also, try to walk to places as much as possible. Although usually underrated, walking is a good aerobic exercise. As a  bonus, walking after meals helps to keep blood sugar under control.

Choose Activities You Enjoy

Maybe you hate walking, so find something more enjoyable that you can fit in your 15 extra minutes in the morning. A quick yoga flow is a good one. What makes yoga so simple is that you don’t even need to change clothes and no shoes are required! Keep a yoga mat by your bed and boom, you can get up and do it first thing. You can also go on a bike ride for 15 minutes. If neither yoga nor biking feels appealing to you, try some stretching exercises that you can also do before leaving your bedroom.

Testimony

I have been listening to Leanne Elliott’s podcast You’re Up Fist lately. In many of her episodes, she mentions that not long ago she decided to do some self-care type of physical exercise. She has 3 school-aged kids, a house, a husband, and a business to run so you get the idea of how busy she is. Then she started with 15 minutes of yoga every day just off the bed when still in her pajamas. Yoga is great at any time but, I also love to start my day with yoga. What she says is that it changed not only her body but, her energy and approach for the day. 

High-Intensity Interval Training

There are also strength exercises you can do in short intervals. One of my favorites is Dr. Zach Bush’s 4-minute workout. It is simple, yet effective, targeting the sixteen biggest muscle groups in the body. It comprises three sets with ten repetitions of squats, arm swings, arm circles, and military presses. This workout is a new concept of exercise that revolves around the body’s ability to use Nitric Oxide for muscle growth. It is an efficient anaerobic workout that can be done multiple times per day. The more frequently you do it, the better your results.

Nitric Oxide

Made naturally by the human body, nitric oxide is released to feed your muscles when you start to exercise and run out of oxygen. As it moves downstream, blood vessels dilate allowing more oxygen and nutrient delivery for muscle growth. Our blood vessels only store about 90 seconds’ worth of Nitric Oxide before they need to manufacture more, so working each major muscle group out for 90 seconds gives you the most efficient workout to tone and build muscles. And yes, it all happens in four minutes. 

In 4 minutes

The body can regenerate Nitric Oxide every couple of hours, allowing you to release it multiple times a day. What that means is the most effective way to increase your muscle function is to work out very briefly every few hours. You can complete this 4-Minute Workout 3 times a day and will only take up 12 minutes out of your extra 15. No matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re wearing, in a short time you exercise the 16 largest muscle groups in your body. It is free, easy, effective, and the best way to start toning your body systems.

Add in Movement

Look for other opportunities to sneak in extra movement throughout your day. For example, walk or bike to work instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do bodyweight exercises while watching TV, or use a standing desk to be more active while working. A classic idea is to place a treadmill in front of the TV to catch up on your favorite shows while walking or jogging – a strategy used by most gyms. Many of them have even movie theaters full of treadmills, a cool way to exercise.

Make the Most of Your Time

When I started running, about 10 years ago, I realized that it was possible to get a good cardio workout in 30 minutes. I know running is scary for a lot of people but the afterwards sensation is worthwhile. It’s easy to find running groups in almost every town, which can help you with motivation. Another way to maximize the efficiency of your workouts is by choosing other types of high-intensity interval training. There are lots of HIIT workout videos available on YouTube that are great options for improving cardiovascular fitness in a minimal amount of time. 

Prioritize Consistency

Remember that consistency is key when it comes to physical activity. Instead of focusing on intense, long workouts a few times a week, prioritize consistency by aiming for daily movement. Be open to adjusting your schedule as needed to accommodate changes in your life. Consistency is not a straight line. If your mornings become busy, try to fit a walk on your lunch break or after dinner. 

Get Creative

Don’t be afraid to try new things. You might find out that dancing in your kitchen is a good workout. Who knows? Experiment with different types of movement, squat to reach for your pots and pans, fold forward to pick up something from the floor, balance on one leg to tie your shoes. Move your body intentionally even when cleaning your house. Small, incremental changes to your routine can lead to significant improvements in fitness and overall health over time.

With the right mindset, strategies, and commitment, adding physical activity to a busy schedule is entirely achievable! You can make fitness a seamless part of your lifestyle, no matter how hectic your schedule may be. Every little bit of movement counts towards a healthier, happier you!

And remember, Good is what makes you feel well!

Anna.

Anna Resende

Anna Resende

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Certified by IIN - Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Every week I send out my newsletter called Mamma’s Tips where I share health and wellness topics, good books, recipes, and more. 

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A Weekend of Feeling Great!

In this book, you’ll find all the steps you can take to feel great. Besides all the foundational principles of multidimensional health, it has a sample of a productive daily routine and a two-day menu with 10 healthy recipes for you to try.

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