Busy times and exercise

News flash – it’s obviously hard to fit exercise into a busy schedule.  When work eases off, when there are less urgent family, friends or other events to attend, nipping to the gym or going for a bike ride don’t require a personal diary assistant.  But sometimes, it simply isn’t possible to fit in as much exercise as you’d like, or even any exercise at all.

So, what are some of the ways you can look after your health in these busy times, while looking ahead to when you are less busy?

1. Do what you can

Take care on the stairs though!

Take care on the stairs though!

Sounds simple enough, but often we forget that starting an activity is half the battle.  If you don’t have time to do to the gym, join your friends for your weekly football match, or whatever you enjoy normally, do what you can to keep your activity up.  Increase the distance you walk to work.  Fit in 5 minutes of cardio or weights at home before you leave the house in the morning.  Or take the stairs rather than the lift or escalator on your journey or at your work.  While this might have offer small to middling physical benefit compared with your usual schedule, psychologically this will help keep you positive about your health, and help you feel that you’re not foregoing your good intentions.  And on that note…

 

2. Don’t stress about it

Hey, at least you’re out in the fresh air!

Hey, at least you’re out in the fresh air!

Unless you are a professional athlete or sports coach, exercise is going to be something that you fit into your schedule, rather than it being your schedule.  There are always going to be periods when work and other responsibilities get in the way, so realise that this is ok.  As long as your period of inactivity doesn’t last too long, you are not going to lose the health gains you’ve made instantly.  Even if your overall fitness takes a knock for a while, trust that, with dedication, you will be able to pick this up again soon without long term impacts on your health.

 

 

3. Plan for what you’d like to do in future

“And when I run my 2nd marathon…”

“And when I run my 2nd marathon…”

The best approach is ride out a busy period is to take (what little spare) time you have one day to plan ahead.  Think about the exercise and healthy activities you most enjoy.  If you like to listen to music or podcasts while you exercise, start stocking up on new material so you can look forward to enjoying that later.  If you reward yourself with a special meal after a long workout, buy that next time you are at the shops ready for when you’re back on form.  Above all, look ahead to when you will be less busy and schedule in your exercise, including exciting new activities – perhaps a new walk, route for your run or trying a sport you’ve always been interested in.  That will help you both feel better about missing exercise now, and also be more likely to get back on track later on.