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How to make time for exercise

05 June 2020

Physical |

Posted on: 05 June 2020

We all know we should do more exercise. But between work, childcare, socialising and life admin, there never seems to be enough time!

Making exercise a priority is an excellent way to improve your overall wellbeing. In the long-term, it can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. And in the short term, physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy.*

So here’s how you can carve out time to exercise and make it an enjoyable part of your daily routine. If you haven’t exercised for a while or have an underlying health condition, you may want to check with your GP first.

Start small

Everyone can find ten minutes a day – think about how much time we spend just staring at our phones or watching TV that we’re not actually enjoying. Instead, go for a jog around the block or find a quick YouTube workout. Ten minutes a day is better than nothing at all, and a good way to ease yourself back into things, particularly if it’s been a while since you exercised.

Find something you love

We make time for the things we enjoy, so make sure exercising is one of them. There are so many ways to get moving, you’re sure to find something that makes you feel good and want to keep doing it.

Play to your strengths. If you’re a sociable person, you might prefer to exercise with other people. Right now you could join a group workout at your local gym via Zoom, and move on to team sports or in-person fitness classes when social distancing guidelines are relaxed.

If you’d rather go it alone, try running in the park, or doing yoga or strength exercises in the privacy of your own living room.

Make it easy on yourself

Overcome the psychological barriers to exercise by making your routine as seamless as possible. For example:

  • In the winter, pop your workout clothes on the radiator so they are nice and warm when you put them on.
  • Create a chart and tick off exercise sessions once completed. It’s very satisfying to see your progress on paper.
  • Exercise with a member of your household so you can encourage each other. Also, it’s much harder to cancel a workout if you know you’re letting someone down. 

Get the kids involved

Getting active is a great way to spend quality time with your children, as well as making the whole family healthier.

Running around in the garden or the park, playing catch, riding bikes, dancing, or going for a walk are all fun activities for adults and children. Once these events are allowed to reopen, try out parkrun. It’s a group event designed to get families exercising together, taking place on weekends in local green spaces - and there’s a junior event for children aged 4 to 14.

Incidental exercise

If you’re really strapped for time, consider integrating extra movement into your daily life. For example:

  • Take the stairs not the lift at work
  • Get off the bus a few stops early or park the car further away
  • Exercise whilst catching up on your favourite TV shows
  • Incorporate a brisk walk during your lunch break
  • Do squats or lunges whilst brushing your teeth

Keeping active is so important for our physical and mental health. It might seem like you don’t have time to exercise, but by making a commitment to yourself to get healthier and following a few of the tips above, you might be surprised at how easy it is to fit in.

 

* https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/

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