Time. We never have enough of it. And yet time is what’s needed to fit even the shortest of exercise sessions into the busiest of schedules. It’s also easy to let motivation slip, especially if you haven’t found enjoyable ways to exercise.
But you’re never too busy to exercise, and there are fun ways to get active. You just have to create an exercise plan that works for you.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise each week. You should also do strength exercises on 2 or more days a week.
You can meet these targets by exercising in shorter bouts of at least 10 minutes each, spread across the week. Make sure you do enough to average 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week.
Are you ready to meet these exercise targets? Here are 7 ways to workout - even on busy days.
1. Start early
Wake up a few minutes earlier than usual and do this 5-minute wake-up workout at home. From back stretches to power walking on the spot, these strength and flexibility exercises can help set you up for the day.
2. Get active on your commute
Cycle, walk or jog to work instead of driving or taking public transport. If the weather is bad, use transport, but take the stairs instead of the lift on your journey.
3. Make the most of breaks
Keep a pair of trainers and workout gear at work so you can do a little exercise during your lunch hour. Take a walk outside, try a short fitness or yoga class before lunch or make use of a spare meeting room and do 15 minutes of strength exercises.
4. Fast but effective exercise
Try interval training instead of longer cardio workouts to reap the benefits of aerobic exercise. To do this, alternate short bursts of intense activity with longer breaks of moderate activity.
If you’re quite fit already, why not take a brisk walk and add in short bursts of jogging or running? Not only will you improve your fitness and burn calories, you’ll complete your workout in a shorter amount of time.
5. Involve the family
Your family and friends also need to get their daily dose of exercise, so why not suggest football in the park or a game of frisbee on the way home? Exercise doesn’t need to be planned or take place in a gym.
6. Take advantage of waiting time
If you’re waiting for your dinner to cook or are bored of staring at TV adverts during a commercial break, take the opportunity to do a little exercise. Break into a dance, run on the spot or do some star jumps. It all counts towards your weekly exercise target.
7. Look beyond cardio
Resist focusing only on cardio as strength training is also important. You don’t even need to find weights as your body weight is just as effective as free weights or machines. Set aside 5 minutes during the day to do 10 to 15 sit-ups, lunges, push-ups and squats.
It can be easy to lose track of how much exercise you’ve done when you sneak short bursts of activity into each day. Use a fitness tracker to monitor if you’re hitting the recommended weekly exercise targets.