Exercise - we all know we need it. Some of us love it. Many of us dread it. Nearly all of us struggle to find time for it...especially for busy professionals.
For trying to find ways to be more active when time isn't on your side try these tips to weave fitness into your day-to-day.
1. Plan your workout time in advance.
Schedule workouts into your calendar, and make them as clear and as sacred as any other to-do.
At what point in the day does your productivity drop? When is the time that no matter how hard you try to focus your mind is simply elsewhere?
Take that opportunity to switch gears from mental gymnastics, and put in some good old fashioned physical labor. Now there is a solution for recharging the brain!
2. Any moment can be an active moment!
The average office worker is productive in 90 minute increments before needing a mental break. Between those windows of productivity is the perfect time to get your heart rate up, and prep your body and mind for the next pressing task - rest your brain and challenge your body!
Here's my challenge to you - every 90 minutes, do some type of body weight movement such as squats and pushups. You can do these at your desk, or for a compounded benefit perform one or both as you take a brisk walk.
Do functional and simple exercises to reset - clear your mind, boost your energy, and improve your overall productivity.
3. Start with your commute.
Do you have the option to walk or bike to work? Do it!
If you drive to the office forget about “princess parking” and choose a space furthest from the entrance and get that cardio!
For those working from home, wake up just 10 minutes earlier and squeeze a little morning walk in. That time to move and prep your mind for the day will set you up for success.
4. Go into each workout with a clear plan.
What form of movement best fits into your day? Walking or biking to work? Some body weight exercises in the office? A brisk walk around the parking garage?
Starting each day with a plan helps to ensure you reach your fitness goals, and keeps you focused throughout the day.
5. Be prepared to move.
Wear that super cute pencil skirt to work, but always keep a pair of athletic clothes at your desk. By having the right gear available you're that much more likely to put them to use.
Hygiene Tip: Keep wet wipes, dry shampoo and travel deodorant in your desk for emergencies.
6. There is power in nature - get outside when at all possible.
Get away from the florescent lights and computer screens. Open the office window, or step outside and breath some fresh air. Take a casual stroll, brisk walk, or even short sprint outside. That little moment outdoors will make work more productive...and more bearable.
When I worked a desk job, I found myself distracted, tired, and utterly useless after 3pm (I hope my old bosses aren't reading this 😬).
When I began making mid-day outdoor breaks a priority my brain AND body benefited. It made all the difference for not only me but my entire team. I even became a top-performer winning awards that at one point seemed way out of reach.
Moving your body during the course of your workday has multiple proven benefits...especially if you take it outdoors.
Some companies are even beginning to encourage mid-day activity because they're learning it spikes creativity, boosts morale in the office and improves overall health for employees.
7. Start small.
Too often I see clients overwhelmed with wanting to change or improve everything about their lifestyle all at once, but that can result in burnout, yo-yoing around goals, and feeling discouraged to the point of quitting.
Take your fitness goals one step at a time.
If you aren’t ready to meal prep, begin by simply eating more vegetables.
If you need a little push of encouragement to get moving, ask a co-worker to join you during fitness breaks. Feel empowered by holding each other accountable.
If you aren't ready for intense weekly workouts, start with a light walk around the block. Slowly build your fitness routine with squats or pushups by the desk. All of the many small accomplishments will lead to combined overall success.
8. Track your daily activity and nutrition in a fitness diary.
This might seem tedious, however, taking a few minutes to jot down your daily activity and meals will actually motivate you to stay on path.
For example, imagine jotting down something like this:
#1: “No workout today, donuts for lunch.”
#2: “1 mile walk and a salad with chicken for lunch.”
You automatically feel a sense of accomplishment from writing down log #2, right?
By keeping a fitness diary, you are more likely to prioritize workouts and clean eating just so you can log that moment of success! That sense of accomplishment will stick with you throughout the day and lead to more good decisions.
9. Finally, get out of your own way.
"If only I had more time, I could fit in a workout."
Have you ever had that thought but the moment you have 'more time' you find yourself filling it doing random work or something totally unproductive?
Use your time wisely and make fitness a priority rather than letting other to-dos or excuses prevent you from living a more active lifestyle.
Experience the benefits of increasing a little physical activity in your routine and improve your life both in and out of the office.
For all of the busy professionals, I hope these fitness tips help you to weave even small moments of activity throughout your work-day.
For more fitness guidance, connect with me about personalized coaching or virtual workouts on Aly On Demand.