When you’ve got a lot going on in your life, it’s easy to let exercise slide. And once you get out of the habit, it’s easy to forget it altogether. Get back on track with these tips to help fit exercise back into your daily routine. If you can squeeze in even a few minutes of move-time per day, you may enjoy an added boost of energy—not to mention the benefits of regular calorie burn that may help you achieve a healthy weight.
The secret to an ongoing fitness habit is to make it just that: a habit. With some planning, accountability and a little help from your friends, these tips may help you turn exercise into part of your daily routine again.
Set goals. Saying that you’ll exercise 40 minutes a day, five days a week, is a good goal—if that goal is realistic and you’ll be able to stick to it. Try starting with goals that are small, specific and attainable—and most importantly, make sure you can schedule those goals into your life. Sit down with your planner at the beginning of the week and write down when you’ll exercise, and for how long. If your planned days don’t work out, you can reschedule. But at least you have a Plan A down in writing.
Make yourself accountable. No, no one is paying you to exercise. So you’ll need to figure out what drives you most—that post-workout buzz, the feeling of accomplishment when you tick something off your to-do list, or feeling alive and healthy after a good sweat session—and jot down how it makes you feel. Next time you’re tempted to skip your workout, find that statement and use it as motivation to help you meet your goals.
Ask for help. If you’re juggling multiple demands on your time, enlist your spouse or a friend for help. Can you and your spouse split chores in a way that leaves you some time for hopping on the treadmill? Or how about starting a walking club with friends or catching up with colleagues as you get some exercise? Social support may be one of the best motivators for healthy living—so find a motivating crew and get moving.
Cook smarter. Get creative in the kitchen—or better yet, get organized. Cook in bulk and stash the leftovers in the freezer for an easy dinner, or turn to your slow cooker. Dinner will smell even better when you get back from a walk around the neighborhood.
Turn any activity into exercise time. Being active isn’t limited to gym time or miles of pavement pounding. Walking the dogs counts as exercise, as does a brisk walk around the mall or vigorous cleaning. Try doing sit-ups or short bursts of activity during commercial breaks, or set up a treadmill in front of your TV for extra motivation to get moving.
Before any strenuous physical activity, be sure to talk to your doctor.