80.2 million people, aged six and older are physically inactive in the USA . Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day according to HSS.
There should be no excuses for any able-bodied adults, given the abundant mental and physical health benefits.
You may be a busy working mum, you may work long hours or struggle to find time with High School/College.
However, when integrated correctly, finding time to exercise each day within your busy schedule becomes a simple habit.
Effects include, Reduced Anxiety, Boosted Self-Confidence and Increased Creativity. These are just a few of the countless positive effects of exercise on productivity.
As you can see, the benefits of exercise go far beyond the realm of physical improvement.
For now, let’s look at the ways in which you can find the time to exercise within your busy schedule.
1/ Exercise as soon as you wake up.
This is easier said than done, until it becomes habit.
That initial 5 minutes when you first wake up, feeling tired and unmotivated, you could call it the ‘5 minute grog’. Fight the urge to snooze the alarm, and head out for exercise.
If you’re struggling for time, complete home-based exercise. The idea of this is to minimise any travel time and keep time commitment down to a minimum. This could be exercise in your living room, on a treadmill, or heading out on a run. Do this for at least 30 minutes each day and watch your mind and body improve.
This has been listed as number one on the list for a reason. There is no reason you cannot complete this form of exercise.
Don’t have enough time before work? Wake up earlier and adjust the time you go to sleep if necessary.
Tip: Exercise outside when possible for extended mental health benefits.
2/ Take up a competitive sport.
This is a great option, as it usually involves set times that you could build into your routine.
Furthermore, competitive sports provide a fun, engaging and challenging form of exercise. You can work towards goals that you have set, which forms a great source of daily motivation.
One of the best aspects of this is that you can play sport with friends that you may not have otherwise seen. Alternatively, you can build new friendships.
Arguably, the most attractive element of competitive sport is that it brings back the thrill to exercise. This turns exercise from a chore to an enjoyable flow activity, meaning you are less likely to make excuses not to exercise.
Not sure where to start? Look at any sports you have taken part in previously. Still not sure? Experiment. Take enjoyment in trying out different sports and finding what works best for you and your schedule.
Tip: Look at less time consuming, physically intense sports to begin with, such as Swimming and Squash.
3/ Exercise on your lunch break.
Many people see their lunch break as an escape from work and the last thing they want to do is exercise. However, there are many reasons why you should exercise during your lunch break if it can fit within your lifestyle.
Make this a habit and you will see your productivity surge when you return to work in the afternoon. Avoid the infamous Afternoon Slump.
Short on time? Opt for a 30 minute run. Still short on time? Consider extending your lunch break and staying at work 30 minutes longer.
Tip: Opt for short, intense exercise such as running.
4/ Exercise with your kids.
A common reason for missing exercise is a lack of time due to having children.
Many parents see keeping the kids entertained as a no-exercise zone. However, you should see this as an opportunity to exercise. Kids love the outdoors – you should too.
Not sure it will work? Experiment. See what works for you and your children. Once you begin to do this often, you will see your mind, body and productivity flourish. Your kids will have a great time too.
Tip: Schedule a time each day to exercise with your children.
So how do we go about achieving happiness if it is not derived from our success? Many believe that the answer lies in the practice of Positive Psychology, which is defined as:
5/ Park far away.
This may seem overly simplistic, but the effects of doing this daily can be astonishing.
We recommend completing 10,000 steps each day, along with 30 minutes of intense exercise each day.
If you are not tracking your steps, there are many products you could use. Alternatively, you could use a free app such at Stepz.
As modern humans with convenience in mind, we often park as close as possible to our destination. Change up your day and park further away and up your steps in the day.
You can also turn your ‘down-time’ into ‘up-time’ by listening to podcasts on your walk; a great potential productivity boost.
Alternatively, you could use this time to practice mindfulness or to create headspace. Another great alternative for improved mental health, motivation, and productivity.
It is estimated you burn 10 calories per floor of stairs climbed. Let’s say you’re office is on the the 6th floor. Take the stairs twice a day and you will burn 120 calories.
Seems like nothing, right? Now, let’s assume you do that every work day (excluding holidays).
52 x 5 = 260 work days.
260 (work days) x 120 calories =
31,200 calories over the year
31,200 calories = 8.9 pounds = 4Kg
Even when using an example of taking the stairs just twice a day, we can see the dramatic effect this can have over a year. Small changes go a long way when completed daily.
Making a habit of taking the stairs is a fantastic way to integrate exercise in your day without setting aside time for exercising.
Over time you will see your fitness improve, your muscles with gain strength and you will begin to feel a lot healthier.
While this is a great habit you should adopt, you should seek opportunity to complete more intense exercise, daily.
Tip: Don’t allow yourself to take the lift or escalator.
7/ Double up your time.
Don’t want to change your routine? No problem.
Exercise while watching your favourite tv programme. All exercise doesn’t have to be outside or playing a sport. Take up a daily living room exercise you can complete while watching the TV.
Cooking? Use weight training to optimise your time. Food prep and cooking can take place on your rest time between sets. *Please do this safely*.
Reading? Complete resistance training every two pages you read.
Tip: List all the parts of your routine that could be doubled up with exercise. You’ll be surprised!
8/ Your kids sports class is your sports class.
Find yourself dropping your kids off at sports training often? Utilise this time and get a work out in yourself at the sports facilities.
Tip: Aim to get a 30 minute session in before watching your child finish practice.
9/ HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Out of all structured fitness plans, HIIT is probably the most time effective. It consists of choosing an exercise an completing it at very high intensity for around 20 seconds, followed by around 40 seconds of rest.
Complete around 15 rounds of this and you’ll have a 15-minute routine which packs a punch.
Tip: Finish your session with a 5-10 minute cool down and stretching period.
10/ Circuit Training
This form of training consists of choosing 5-10 different exercises and completing back-to-back. Most gyms have Circuit Training classes that you could work into your daily schedule.
Alternatively, you could set up your own circuit training at home using weights, bands and body weight.
Don’t have the equipment? You can design your own circuits using body weight only. Alternatively, look into buying some bands and dumbbells for regular intense home work outs.
Tip: Check out the timing for circuit training at your local gym. Can you fit this in your schedule?
11/ Weekend workout.
There is almost always the possibility of exercising daily in anyone’s schedule. However, there may be reasons that you cannot exercise through the week.
In this case, you should schedule longer workouts for each day of the weekend. This is your opportunity to make up for lost time.
It is important that you schedule time for yourself to exercise on the weekend, as it will have a profound effect on your health and productivity.
Tip: Join a sports club as part of your weekend workout. In this way you will likely feel a greater sense of enjoyment and also have a definite schedule of exercise at the weekend.
12/ Turn your commute into a workout.
This is one of the most effective forms of exercise you could undertake to increase productivity. This is for three main reasons.
1/ There is little time lost: The time difference between riding a road bike to work and getting the bus will likely be minimal. This way a busy schedule can be optimised.
2/ Feel the Endorphins flow: Watch your productivity surge as your mind and body feel the positive effects of early morning exercise.
3/ Daily action: Because you are doing this every day, you will see your fitness improve at an astonishing rate through the compound effect.
Tip: Cycle to work every day for a month and see the positive effects.
13/ Turn a coffee date into a fitness date
Don’t like having to let down friends?
Another way of finding time to exercise is to ask your friends to exercise with you. You could even join a sports club together. Combine the two and see your health improve, without sacrificing any of your social time.
Tip: Take up a racket sport, such as Tennis, Badminton or Squash.
High performance leaders around the world make time for regular exercise. These are some of the busiest people in the world and they still prioritise exercise in their busy schedule.
Most of these leaders integrate exercise within a solid morning routine, which would be the first recommendation.
Alternatively there are plenty of opportunities for exercise listed above.
Have you have read all of this post and you’re still struggling to fit exercise in your schedule? Then it’s time to take a step back and change your routine.
Exercise is one of the greatest catalysts of your productivity and more importantly, your health.
Use your time wisely.
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