Posted by Joe Wicks in Fitness, Wellbeing
With work, family and social commitments all bidding for our time, it can be easy for our fitness goals to slip to the bottom of our to-do list. It can be hard to stay motivated when a packed schedule puts us under pressure, but being busy doesn't mean you have to shelve your fitness goals.
In this blog post, Body Coach contributor Tess Agnew shares some time-saving tricks to help even the busiest people fit training time into their day, and here's the best news, it can even benefit you in the workplace too.
By Tess Agnew, freelance contributor
According to time management and productivity coach Clare Evans, making time to work on your wellbeing is all about finding a time that works best for you – whatever that time may be – and giving exercise as much importance in your routine as other commitments.
“The fitter and healthier you are, the more productive, calmer and less stressed you'll be at work, and also at home. But it has to fit easily into your schedule and not feel like a burden" she says. "If you're not a morning person, dragging yourself out of bed to exercise will be tough, and you may find fitting it into a natural break in your day such as lunchtime or travelling between work and home much more achievable and therefore easier to make into a habit."
With that in mind, try these six healthy hacks to fit activity into your daily life, no matter how busy you are.
1) Ditch the snooze
The quickest way to build more time into your day is to get up a little earlier. Exercising in the morning ticks it off the to do list before the day starts, so there's no chance of your workout getting bumped later on when things get hectic.
Swap the snooze button for a 20-minute HIIT session that can be done straight from your living room. Not only will you cut the journey time to and from the gym, you'll wake up better and start the day more alert. Plus, the endorphins will keep you energised long into your working day.
“If you can't manage getting up earlier, find 20 minutes when you get home before relaxing on the sofa to watch TV," says Evans. “Or try swapping 20 minutes of social media time for 20 minutes of exercise."
There are other clever time trades you can do too. Try rolling up your kit into pre-packed bundles so you can grab and go instead of rummaging through drawers. Or prep some meals in advance to make time for your evening session. It's a win win: you'll stay on track with your food goals and have your post-workout meal ready and waiting.
You'll be surprised how much time you find with a few simple swaps.
The Body Coach TV has new home HIIT workouts every week. Subscribe here: The Body Coach TV
2) Build activity into your commute
If your commute to work is a sedentary one, try fitting your workout into what would otherwise be 'dead time'.
Get off the bus or train one stop earlier or park the car 20 minutes away and enjoy the rest of your route on foot. If you can, do your commute by bike. A Cycling UK study of around 73,000 men and 83,000 women found that mixed public and active transport commuters had significantly lower BMI and body fat than their car-only counterparts. And research published in the 2017 British Medical Journal found that cycling to work is linked with a 45 per cent lower risk of developing cancer, and a 46 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to commuting only by car or public transport.
Now there's something worth riding for.
3) Supercharge your lunch break
“A sedentary office worker is likely to achieve between 3,000 – 4,000 steps a day when they spend most of their time sitting," warns Evans.
Studies have shown that employees who are inactive are 50 per cent more likely to be unproductive than those who are regular exercisers, while short breaks are known to increase productivity. One study by Leeds Metropolitan University found that exercise during work hours actually boosted people's performance. Employees in the study reported that when they visited the gym, they managed their time better, felt more productive, and found it easier to collaborate with workmates. Perhaps the biggest bonus, though, was that they also left work feeling more satisfied at the end of the day.
So, it's good to lift yourself out of the afternoon lull with a brisk 30 minute walk, a 20 minute HIIT session or a lunchtime run – that's a 'runch' to those in the know – to recharge your battery, boost productivity, and improve your physical and mental wellbeing.
“Taking regular breaks is good for focus and concentration," adds Evans. “Getting out of the office into the fresh air will make you feel better and you'll achieve more in the afternoon."
4) Move more during your working day
Being more active doesn't just mean hitting all your workouts - you can build more habitual movement into your working day too to benefit your health.
"Swap the boardroom for a walking meeting, or offer to do the coffee run instead of having it delivered to you," says Evans. "Take the stairs instead of the lift, avoid email ping-pong by walking to your colleague's desk if they're in the same building, and take regular breaks to the water cooler to stay hydrated," she adds.
Use a fitness app to track your movement and incentivise you to reach your goal throughout the day. You'll be surprised how quickly they add up.
5) Buddy up
Research has shown that motivation to be active becomes easier with others, so kill two birds with one stone and combine your training with your social life. Start a fitness club at work and get your colleagues to try a lunchtime class. Or find a local group to train with, and join your local parkrun, where buggies, dogs, children and runners or walkers of all abilities are welcome to complete the free, weekly 5km course.
And if you're a new parent, buddy up with other mums and dads to exercise together. Online communities like Run Mummy Run are great ways to find others near you. Or you could also try some baby-wearing workouts at home.
6) Boss your family life
Juggling a busy family life with your fitness goals can be challenging, but there's no need to sacrifice quality time to get your fitness fix. Instead get everyone involved and feel the benefits together. Bike rides and walks are great ways to get active as a family, but if you're short on time you don't have to miss out. Lots of parents and families have been exericising and having fun together with some of The Body Coach's home HIIT workouts.
For busy parents who love to run, a running buggy is the best of both worlds and a fantastic way to build healthy habits for your children early on. You still get to do what you love, while your child gets to enjoy the fresh air (or catch up on much-needed sleep while you run).
The key to making your fitness goals work for you long term is to make it easy for yourself. And with a few simple lifestyle changes and smart time management, you'll soon find a balance that works for you.
About Joe Wicks
Joe Wicks is the online nutrition coach inspiring people all over the world to cook with his #Leanin15 video meals on Instagram. He is also transforming the lives of thousands of people with his tailored online nutrition plan, The 90 Day Shift, Shape & Sustain plan.
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