Businesswoman with yoga mat

Finding Time to Exercise with a Busy Schedule

For some people, starting an exercise program is easier said than done. Between work, kids and other responsibilities, it can be difficult to maintain. But with a little planning and a dose of discipline, anything is possible.

The key to sticking to a fitness plan is finding the right motivation. What’s your reason for making this change? Once you understand the why, you’ll be more willing to commit to the how. “You may have grandchildren and you may say, ‘I want to be a healthy grandparent,’” explained Angela Moore, empowerment coach, NASM personal trainer and fitness presenter for the Detroit Health Empowerment Project and the American Heart Association.

Whatever your goal, it’s important to embrace the journey as well as the destination. “You need to find something that you enjoy doing,” added Marissa Jarrett, onsite well-being coordinator at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “You’ll be better able to stick to it, because if you choose something that you’re not comfortable with, you might not carry through.”

Once an activity becomes a habit you can try different things to make it more challenging. Get creative and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If you can’t make it to a gym, take a walk around your building, do lunges or stretches at your desk.

On the latest episode of the A Healthier Michigan Podcast, hosted by Chuck Gaidica, he, Moore and Jarrett discuss the many ways one can incorporate physical activity into a busy schedule.

“For me, partner workouts can feel very creative,” said Jarrett. “Turn it into a family function with your spouse or best friend. Somebody could do a wall-sit while the other person is doing triceps dips on their knees.” Making it a collaborative effort is another way to get more joy out of the journey.

Whatever you choose to do, be consistent. For those who need guidance, technology can help keep workouts on track. With an app, you can manage training schedules and food consumption throughout the day. You can also note certain patterns—good or bad—to see how they affect long-term results.

In order to succeed, you must make exercise a priority. “I do encourage you to schedule in your workouts just like you would do any appointment,” said Moore. They don’t have to be long, time-consuming sessions. “There’s definitely benefits to HIIT training [high-intensity interval training] and Tabata training where you’re doing 20 to 10 intervals for four minutes.”

Everyone can’t train an hour every day. So, set realistic goals that you can slowly change over time. Educate yourself, pace yourself but more importantly, stick with it.

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Photo credit: Wavebreakmedia

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