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Even with a busy schedule, you can still workout and get in shape

Are you too busy to workout? Many of us have crazy schedules and with work and family we feel there are simply not enough hours in the day. However, taking care of your health is a necessity. Without your health you can not work, take care of your family, or simply enjoy life. What if you changed your perception of exercise? Make your health a priority and schedule your workouts just as you would a meeting with a client or coworker. The benefits of exercise are endless. A consistent workout program can reduce stress, boost your mood, help control weight, increase energy levels, and help prevent disease.

There are many options to fit workouts into a hectic schedule. In fact, you may be surprised at how easy it can be to incorporate fitness into your daily life. Don’t waste time just wishing you had time to exercise - it’s time to take action. Take a look at your schedule from a different perspective. See how making just a few simple changes can open up new possibilities. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones. As a result, you can improve your health and enjoy a better quality of life.


Do

Do make fitness a top priority

The following quote is a great reminder of the need to prioritize fitness in our lives. “Those who think they have not time to exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness,” Edward Stanley. Consider your health as important as your job. Without your health you can’t work or take care of your family or responsibilities. Exercise can increase energy levels, stimulate the immune system, and help increase productivity. The key is to pre-plan your workouts and consider them just as important as a task you must complete for your job. Write your workout days on your calendar as a reminder to allot specific time for your health and well being. Following a schedule will make it easier to be consistent with your workouts and to fit exercise into your busy day.

Do walk, jog or bike to work

If you have the opportunity, why not workout on your commute to work? Walk, bike or jog to work and your workout will be done before your workday begins. This is an efficient and effective use of time spent traveling to your job, and is a great stress reliever. What a wonderful way to add exercise to your busy schedule and provide a great energy boost to tackle your work day. If you don’t have the opportunity to incorporate fitness on your commute, try taking a walk or jog on your break or lunch hour.

Do create a home gym or workout room

A home gym can provide more opportunities to add fitness to a busy schedule. If your schedule is hectic, the thought of taking the time to drive to a gym and then workout can be overwhelming. With a home gym you can use the time you would spend traveling to the gym to actually workout! Furthermore, you can workout at a time that is more convenient to your lifestyle. You don’t need an elaborate set up. You can start with a mat and/ or workout bench and some hand weights that vary in weight. Purchase some home workout dvds and you can build a well rounded workout program all from the convenience of your own home.

Do two or three short workouts during the day

Experts suggest that a couple of 10 to 15 minute workouts during the day can be just as effective as a longer one. Hectic schedules make it difficult to find time to go to the gym and workouts are often neglected or put on the back burner. However, two or three short workouts may be more manageable and just as effective as a longer one. Try to fit in a ten to fifteen minute workout when you wake up, and another one on your lunch hour or after work. Short workouts are often much easier to squeeze into your day than a longer one. Additionally, they may be more effective due to the ability to workout harder in a shorter period of time.

Do join a 24 hour fitness facility

Many 24 hour fitness facilities have popped up over the last couple of years. These gyms are great for people with busy schedules that are unable to workout during staffed hours at a traditional gym. They work by providing keyless entry to their members that allow them to workout anytime their schedule permits. Additionally, most have the added benefit of being able to use any of their facilities worldwide while traveling for work or on vacation. This provides many more opportunities to schedule your workouts if you travel for work, or if you work evening or overnight shifts.


Don't

Do not neglect your warm up and cool down

Many people that are short on time skip their warm up, cool down or both. The warm-up is very important to help prepare your muscles and joints for a more intense workout. Neglecting the warm-up can lead to a pulled muscle, strain or other injury. In the warm-up, it is best to include movements you will be doing during your workout. Start your warm-up at a slower pace and gradually build up the intensity over a period of 8 to 10 minutes. For example, a slow paced walk transitioning to a faster pace walk and then a jog. Our muscles contract and get shorter during a workout. A proper cool down allows your heart rate to return to normal. Stretching will help elongate the muscles, improve flexibility and help promote better muscle recovery. Always allow for at least a 20 to 30 second stretch for each muscle group at the end of your workout.

Do not overexert yourself on your days off

Have you seen the people who don’t workout all week, but go to the gym on their day off and workout for hours? Workouts lasting longer than 2 hours can cause fatigue that can lead to poor technique and result in an injury. Make it a point not to cram five days of workouts into one or two days. If you only have two or three days a week to workout, a better option would be to do a split routine for your weight training. A split routine is simply working different muscle groups on different days allowing for appropriate muscle recovery. A good split routine for a weekend workout would be working upper body one day and lower the next. Adding a mid week cardio or yoga workout would provide a more balanced workout program, even if it required getting up an hour early to fit it in.

Do not workout too close to bedtime

Studies show that exercise can improve your quality of sleep. But some experts suggest that exercise too close to bedtime can cause poor sleep or insomnia. Exercise increases adrenaline and other hormones that energize the body but can interfere with sleep if performed too late in the evening. Try to workout two to three hours before bedtime so that you can allow your body and mind time to unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep. If you must exercise close to bedtime, try a yoga or stretch routine that will provide you with a workout, but can be also be relaxing and help you fall asleep.

Do not have an all or nothing mentality

With work and family obligations, stress can take its toll and the thought of adding one more thing to your schedule can be overwhelming. Many people have an all or nothing attitude when it comes to exercise and decide to disregard a fitness program due to a lack of time. Although it’s recommended that you work out four or five times a week, shorter and less frequent workouts can still be beneficial. Sometimes by simply organizing your time and making a few minor adjustments, you may find that you have more time than you thought. Consistency is more important than frequency in your workouts. Therefore, even if you are only able to fit in a workout twice a week, attempt to be consistent and plan to do it on a weekly basis.

Do not rush your workouts and sacrifice form and technique

People limited on time may be tempted to rush their workouts. Quite often injuries occur from using bad form and technique resulting in stress and strain on muscles and tendons. Always keep your mind on your workout and think about the muscle you are working. It is better to work fewer muscle groups or do a shorter workout than to try and work total body when you are short on time. Injuries can lead to medical costs, time off from work and result in taking time off from your workouts until you are healed. Shorten your workout if you are limited on time and focus on the quality of the workout rather than the quantity.


Summary
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Make fitness a priority in your life to ensure good health and a better quality of life. Many of us lead busy lives that make it a challenge to fit exercise in on a daily basis. However, there are many options to fit exercise into your schedule, such as joining a 24 hour fitness facility, opting for several short workouts during the day, or creating a workout room or gym in your home. Avoid, rushing workouts when limited on time, and instead try dividing your workout into several short workouts that can be easier to fit into your day.

Remember to always allow time for a warm up and cool down even if you have to shorten your workout. Avoid an all or nothing mentality and focus on being consistent with your workouts rather than the frequency. The benefits of increased energy, better mood, weight control and disease prevention are so worth it!


More expert advice about Fitness and Exercise

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Patricia Mitchell, RN, CPT Health and fitness expert, registered nurse and fitness writer

Patricia Mitchell has over 30 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry. She is a registered nurse with a BSN in nursing and practiced in the behavioral health field for over 10 years. Patricia has been featured as a fitness expert on...

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